A short story by: Vincent “The Quirky Sommelier”

The first person to drink wine was a Woman!

This is the legendary story of Samar.

Once upon a time, in a place far away and in an era where time was not yet a measure, the famous and egoist Prince Abdul al-Hazred was living on an oasis in the most outrageous and elegant palace. It is said to be located somewhere near the legendary city of Uruk.

The Prince, in is megalomania, was always more worried about his precious garden than anything else. He managed to grow grass all over the oasis, his gigantesque garden was full of beauties, full of expressive gold, silver and marble statues, full  of the most sought after spices,  full of magical animals coming from the other side of the world, full of flowers and trees, from Baobab to fruit trees.

From his entire garden, only one thing mattered for the Prince, the plant producing the grape. The Prince’s passion for the grape was recognised by all and it has become the symbol of the Autumnal, the biggest party of the year.

In his Palace, one entire specific room was full of jars contending the precious fresh fruit, the cellar.

The prince had always mentioned that when a white juice was starting to run inside the jar, the jar must be removed. It was common knowledge that the juice was toxic and should not be drunk under any circumstances.

This was making fresh grapes even more precious; the time in which the fruit would stay fresh was very short, this might have been the reason why the grape was the symbol of the Autumnal fest.

The Autumnal was the last festivity in honour of the last warm rays of the Sun God.

The time of the party had arrived, and Lilith, the first concubine from the harem and the Prince were ready to open the Festivities.

Lilith was an exotic woman from some far away territory. She was young, sexy, and smart; some say a devil in disguise. She became the only thought in Abdul’s mind in recent times. The Prince was dreaming of her in any state, awake or asleep. He was about to introduce her for the first time to his entire guests. She did become the favourite only in the last year, taking Abdul’s heart over Samar.

Samar, was the Prince’s Favourite for the last 10 years The Prince loved her for her beauty, her wit, her elegance, and she was always the chosen one because of her strong mind, always ready for any challenge.

Since the arrival of Lilith, Samar lost the prime position. She has been devastated, all her friends told her it was a phase and for the big ceremony she will always be the one, however, this did not happen, for this Autumnal Lilith was the chosen one.

Everybody from Uruk was joining in with the festivities, there was merely not a single once of grass uncovered by tents and tables. Musicians were playing none stop; people were dancing until they ran out of breath.

There was food from many places of the world, meat, fish, fruit and all washed down by the local brew made from a wheat mix with honey.

All foods were accessible for everyone from all classes. All food, except the grape. The grapes were only allowed at the Prince’s table, in his tent. Sharing the grape with the Prince was only for the very few.

During these festivities, which, apparently lasted 15 days, Samar did not have access to the Prince’s tent for the first time in 10 years. Only Lilith was allowed with the Prince, listening to and entertaining the selected guests.

Samar, on the seventh night had enough of her situation and decided to finish once and for all with the pleasure of living. She planned to go in the room of jars and drink as much of the toxic forbidden juice as possible. It was with no trouble for her to reach the room in the palace, her disappearance was unnoticed.

Meanwhile, everybody continued to have fun dancing, eating, drinking, listening to music or story telling whilst enjoying the last rays of Sun.

Samar was a woman of strong character, she grabbed the first jar with some juice inside, dip her bowl in, and drank the juice. She repeated this action until suddenly, everything in her head became mixed up. The music from the party seems louder, she feel excited, she wanted to dance, she was fantasising about past moments shared with the Prince, and at the same time she was angry at Lilith, she could have kill her.

The most amazing of all is that everything was happening whilst she was almost half conscious. She knew it was the end; all those mixed thoughts could have only lead to death. She stumbled and fell to the floor before dropping into a coma.

It was only until around midday, the next day that one of the servants found her in the room lying down. He did not dare to touch her, the Prince was called upon who understood what had happened. He called upon his court, seemingly proud of himself and repeated not to drink the juice that would end his life.

But within the very moment that the Prince stood over her with his court, Samar woke up. She looked slightly destroyed, she moaned that her head was in terrible pain, she could barely speak but she was definitely alive. The Prince was stunned and upset, and on the spot decided to ban Samar from his Kingdom.

Nevertheless, Samar reacted by explaining  “ Abdul, my Prince, the fruit is great, but the juice is better, it can transform your perception, everything becomes more vivid, the music louder, my inhibition disappear, you feel like dancing, wanting more pleasure, please Abdul, let us have more, instead of throwing away the jar, let us have the juice.”

Abdul, who was still in love with Samar, answered: “so be it”.

Samar added, “Please my Prince, let the people, who want to try it have some for  themselves during this Autumnal, I did not die, nobody will die”. The Prince agreed as long the best grapes where kept for his tent.

During the morning the juice was collected and served to whoever wanted to try it during the day, it was becoming a dare. Although they were slightly nervous, everybody dared to taste the forbidden juice. Not long after the pouring start, everybody was already enjoying their second or third glass.

The party became ardent, disordered, fervent and limit wicked, although it was definitely memorable. Everybody was going to the Prince and thanking him for his party, and that himself should have dared to try the juice, and, indeed he did.

For this reason, Prince Abdul al-Hazred, had become, for the first time respected by his subjects, some say during the Autumnal he was even more powerful than the king of Uruk.

Abdul decided that the grape fruit will be collected for its juice as well, and kept in jar for the year long in the cellar. The juice even became part of the Prince’s daily menu.

Samar, the first to drink the wine juice, bringing back love of its people to the Prince, became Princess of the Oasis ruling with kindness while mastering the cellar.

Vincent, the “Quirky Sommelier”. 

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