March 4, 2000
Berra was surprised to be chosen as one of the sultan's concubines. "Come on, you must have seen it coming! You've been a favorite of the queen's since the first day you arrived!" her friends laughed, as they helped Berra pack her things to move to the more lavish quarters of the concubines. She was sad to leave behind her old room, and the girls with whom she had been living. They had become like her sisters.
"Oh don't be sad, Berra! You're so silly!" said her dear friend Kosem. "You will find new sisters amongst the other concubines and forget all about us!"
The sultan took an immediate liking to Berra. Unlike the other concubines, Berra remained shy and soft-spoken. The more they spent time together, the more drawn he was to her. By the end of the year, Berra was pregnant with her first child. Soon she gave birth to a baby boy which made the Sultan very happy.
The sultan loved their son very much, and it seemed obvious he would be the next in line to become sultan. For that reason, the sultan ordered extra guards to watch the boy and his mother. Whereas Berra grew up in a world with many close friends-attending classes, swimming and playing music together, sharing meals, laughing and singing, her son grew up alone.
"Why must it be like this, my love?" Berra asked the Sultan one night. "He should be with other boys his age. He is learning a great deal, but nothing as important as true friendship."
"I am sorry, but it must be this way, my dear," sighed the Sultan. "Life in the harem is wonderful for the girls, but it is a different reality for the little boys. If he were to play with my other sons, the children of the other concubines, someone may try to hurt him. Your son is the crown prince, he will be the next to rule after me."
"My poor son, I am sorry that you must stay caged up in this room... but one day this entire empire will be your playground. You will have many friends and visit many exotic places." Yes, the little boy was to become the most powerful ruler of the greatest empire on Earth.
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