Saturday, April 30, 2022

Z is for the Zircon and the Idol (Gemstone Folklore)

Welcome to the 2022 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Gemstone Folklore. Because I love stories about shiny things. Read the introduction to the project here.


Zircon is a gemstone also known as zirconium silicate. It comes in various colors, from colorless through blue all the way to brown. The yellow, orange, and red variants are called jacinth or hyacinth.

The King's Idol and His Daughter
14th century Arab legend from Spain

This is a story within a story. According to the 14th century manuscript, Dulcarnain (Alexander the Great?) comes across a great idol on an island, and asks to know the story of who created it. An old man tells him the tale of The King's Idol and His Daughter:

A great and powerful king has a thousand concubines, but only one child: a daughter. When she is born, astrologers all agree that she will give birth to a son who will become a great hero. The king constructs a fortress and locks his daughter - Omr - inside, giving her all she could wish for, except freedom. When she grows up, the girl looks out the window, falls in love with the vizier's son Xams, and finds a way to sleep with him. From their union, a child is born in secret. The princess puts a jacinth stone around his neck and a gold band on his ankle, puts him in a wooden coffin, and sets him out on the sea, praying to God to take care of the baby.
The baby is guided by the winds to an island inhabited by animals only. A gazelle finds a child and gives him milk. He grows up among the animals, observing their behavior, and when he grows up, he learns to make tools and hunt. He soon becomes the leader and judge of the animals.
Meanwhile, the kind is looking for his precious jacinth stone, and can't find it anywhere (he kills six thousand people who can't present it to him). When his vizier dies, Xams ascends to the position. The king sees a dream of Xams' son taking over his throne, and in a fury exiles the young man in a ship alone. The winds take the ship to the same island. Father and son meet and get to know each other. Eventually they are picked up by a ship and taken to the kingdom of the princess' father. The king recognizes the scene from his dream, including the precious jacinth around the boy's neck - and the princess claims the young man as her child. The sos ascends to the throne, and becomes a wise and powerful ruler.

Sources: Read the story (in Spanish) here. Read more about it here.

This is it, people! Another year of the A to Z Challenge completed!
Did you enjoy the ride? 
Which one was your favorite story?
See you on Monday for Reflections!


  1. Like Moses in the bullrushes!

  2. And congratulations on another interesting A to Z!

  3. Hi Zalka, Sue Bursztynski here! For some reason, it won’t let me log in. Anyway, just want to say how impressed I am that you have been able to find a gemstone to go with each folk tale!
    The king sounds like a cross between a king of Greek mythology and Leontes in Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale. Fascinating!

  4. I absolutely enjoyed this theme.

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: Z

  5. I enjoyed the folklore a lot :) Thanks for sharing this. Learnt something new today.

  6. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this series. You always share the best tales! But I'm also totally impressed how you found a tale to go with all the gemstones - I wondered how you'd do it when you announced your theme. Very well indeed is how you did it! :-) For many of your days, I pulled out the stone if I had it, and thought about it in a new way. Such a delight.

  7. Well, that king is a nutcase even by fairy tale standards! I enjoyed your theme and stories again this year. Thanks for sharing.
    Z is for Zany

  8. This was a great series! And we made it thru another year!

  9. What a great and grisly story to end with. I haven’t read all your gemstone stories but will remedy that now we have finished the A to Z. Well done and congratulations.

  10. What an interesting theme for your challenge. I enjoyed reading the story that went with the gem. Kudos!

  11. Great story. The baby raised by animals reminds me a little of Tarzan or Romulus & Remus.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed your Challenge:)