When the Amadan heard this, he wondered; and he said he would like very much to help them kill the giants. They said they would be very glad to have such a fine fellow's help; and so it was agreed that the Amadan should go with them to the fight next day.
Then the three princes washed themselves and took their supper, and they and the Amadan went to bed.
In the morning all four of them set off, and travelled to the Glen of the Echoes, where they met the three giants.
"Now," says the Amadan, "if you three will engage the two smaller giants, Slat Marr and Slat Beag, I'll engage Slat Mor myself and kill him."
They agreed to this.
Now the smallest of the giants was far bigger and more terrible than anything ever the Amadan had seen or heard of in his life before, so you can fancy what Slat Mor must have been like.
But the Amadan was little concerned at this. He went to meet Slat Mor, and the two of them fell to the fight, and a great, great fight they had. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight; and in the end the Amadan ran Slat Mor through with his sword and laid him down dead.
Then he turned to help the three princes, and very soon he laid the other two giants down dead for them also.
Then the three princes said they would all go home. The Amadan told them to go, but warned them not to light up the castle this night, and said he would sit by the giants' corpses and watch if they came to life again.
The three princes begged of him not to do this, for the three giants would come to life, and then he, having no help, would be killed.
The Amadan was angry with them, and ordered them off instantly. Then he sat down by the giants' corpses to watch. But he was so tired from his great day's fighting that by and by he fell asleep.
About twelve o'clock at night, when the Amadan was sleeping soundly, up comes a cailliach [old hag] and four badachs [unwieldy big fellows], and the cailliach carried with her a feather and a bottle of iocshlainte [ointment of health], with which she began to rub the giants' wounds.
Two of the giants were already alive when the Amadan awoke, and the third was just opening his eyes. Up sprang the Amadan, and at him leaped they all—Slat Mor, Slat Marr, Slat Beag, the cailliach, and the four badachs.
If the Amadan had had a hard fight during the day, this one was surely ten times harder. But a brave and a bold fellow he was, and not to be daunted by numbers of showers of blows. They fought for long and long. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight; and one after the other of them the Amadan ran his sword through, until he had every man of them stretched on the ground, dying or dead.
And when the old cailliach was dying, she called the Amadan to her and put him under geasa [an obligation that he could not shirk] to lose the power of his feet, of his strength, of his sight, and of his memory, if he did not go to meet and fight the Black Bull of the Brown Wood.
When the old hag died outright, the Amadan rubbed some of the iocshlainte to his wounds with the feather, and at once he was as hale and as fresh as when the fight began. Then he took the feather and the bottle of iocshlainte, buckled on his sword, and started away before him to fulfil his geasa.
He travelled for the length of that lee-long day, and when night was falling, he came to a little hut on the edge of a wood; and the hut had no shelter inside or out but one feather over it, and there was a rough, red woman standing in the door.
"You're welcome!" says she, "Amadan of the Dough, the king of Ireland's son. What have you been doing and where are you going?"
"Last night," says the Amadan, "I fought a great fight, and killed Slat Mor, Slat Marr, Slat Beag, the Cailliach of the Rocks, and four badachs. Now I'm under geasa to meet and to fight the Black Bull of the Brown Wood. Can you tell me where to find him?"
"I can that," says she, "but it's now night. Come in and eat and sleep."
So she spread for the Amadan a fine supper, and made a soft bed, and he ate heartily and slept heartily that night.
In the morning she called him early, and she directed him on his way to meet the Black Bull of the Brown Wood. "But, my poor Amadan," she said, "no one has ever yet met that bull and come back alive."
She told him that when he reached the place of meeting, the bull would come tearing down the hill like a hurricane.
"Here's a cloak," says she, "to throw upon the rock that is standing there. You hide yourself behind the rock, and when the bull comes tearing down, he will dash at the cloak, and blind himself with the crash against the rock. Then you jump on the bull's back and fight for life. If, after the fight, you are living, come back and see me; and if you are dead, I'll go and see you."
The Amadan took the cloak, thanked her and set off, and travelled on and on until he came to the place of meeting.
When the Amadan came there, he saw the Bull of the Brown Wood come tearing down the hill like a hurricane, and he threw the cloak on the rock and hid behind it, and with the fury of his dash against the cloak the bull blinded himself, and the roar of his fury split the rock.
The Amadan lost no time jumping on his back, and with his sword began hacking and slashing him; but he was no easy bull to conquer, and a great fight the Amadan had. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight; at length, after a long time, the Amadan ran his sword right through the bull's heart, and the bull fell down dead. But before he died he put the Amadan under geasa to meet and to fight the White Wether of the Hill of the Waterfalls.
Then the Amadan rubbed his own wounds with the iocshlainte, and he was as fresh and hale as when he went into the fight. Then he set out and travelled back again to the little hut that had no shelter without or within, only one feather over it, and the rough, red woman was standing in the door: and she welcomed the Amadan and asked him the news.
He told her all about the fight, and that the Black Bull of the Woods had put him under geasa to meet and to fight the White Wether of the Hill of the Waterfalls.
"I'm sorry for you, my poor Amadan," says she, "for no one ever met before that White Wether and came back alive. But come in and eat and rest, anyhow, for you must be both hungry and sleepy."
So she spread him a hearty meal and made him a soft bed, and the Amadan ate and slept heartily; and in the morning she directed him to where he would meet the White Wether of the Hill of the Waterfalls. And she told him that no steel was tougher than the hide of the White Wether, that a sword was never yet made that could go through it, and that there was only one place—a little white spot just over the wether's heart—where he could be killed or sword could cut through. And she told the Amadan that his only chance was to hit this spot.
The Amadan thanked her, and set out. He travelled away and away before him until he came to the Hill of the Waterfalls, and as soon as he reached it he saw the White Wether coming tearing toward him in a furious rage, and the earth he was throwing up with his horns was shutting out the sun.
And when the wether came up and asked the Amadan what great feats he had done that made him impudent enough to dare to come there, the Amadan said: "With this sword I have killed Slat Mor, Slatt Marr, Slatt Beag, the Cailliach of the Rocks and her four badachs, and likewise the Black Bull of the Brown Wood."
"Then," said the White Wether, "you'll never kill any other." And at the Amadan he sprang.
The Amadan struck at him with his sword, and the sword glanced off as it might off steel. Both of them fell to the fight with all their hearts, and such a fight never was before or since. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight. But at length and at last, after a long and terrible fight, the Amadan, seeing the little spot above the heart that the red woman had told him of, struck for it and hit it, and drove his sword through the White Wether's heart, and he fell down. And when he was dying, he called the Amadan and put him under a geasa to meet and fight the Beggarman of the King of Sweden.
The Amadan took out his bottle of iocshlainte and rubbed himself with the iocshlainte, and he was as fresh and hale as when he began the fight. Then he set out again, and when night was falling, he reached the hut that had no shelter within or without, only one feather over it, and the rough, red woman was standing in the door.
Right glad she was to see the Amadan coming back alive, and she welcomed him heartily and asked him the news.
He told her of the wonderful fight he had had, and that he was now under geasa to meet and fight the Beggarman of the King of Sweden.
She made him come in and eat and sleep, for he was tired and hungry. And heartily the Amadan ate and heartily he slept; and in the morning she called him early, and directed him on his way to meet the Beggarman of the King of Sweden.
She told him that when he reached a certain hill, the beggarman would come down from the sky in a cloud; and that he would see the whole world between the beggarman's legs and nothing above his head. "If ever he finds himself beaten," she said, "he goes up into the sky in a mist and stays there to refresh himself. You may let him go up once; but if you let him go up the second time, he will surely kill you when he comes down. Remember that. If you are alive when the fight is over, come to see me. If you are dead, I will go to see you."
The Amadan thanked her, parted with her, and travelled away and away before him until he reached the hill which she had told him of. And when he came there, he saw a great cloud that shot out of the sky, descending on the hill, and when it came down on the hill and melted away, there it left the Beggarman of the King of Sweden standing, and between his legs the Amadan saw the whole world and nothing over his head.
And with a roar and a run the beggarman made for the Amadan, and the roar of him rattled the stars in the sky. He asked the Amadan who he was, and what he had done to have the impudence to come there and meet him.
The Amadan said: "They call me the Amadan of the Dough, and I have killed Slat Mor, Slat Marr, Slat Beag, the Cailliach of the Rocks and her four badachs, the Black Bull of the Brown Wood, and the White Wether of the Hill of the Waterfalls, and before night I'll have killed the Beggarman of the King of Sweden."
"That you never will, you miserable object," says the beggarman. "You're going to die now, and I'll give you your choice to die either by a hard squeeze of wrestling, or a stroke of the sword."
"Well," says the Amadan, "if I have to die, I'd sooner die by a stroke of the sword."
"All right," says the beggarman, and drew his sword.
But the Amadan drew his sword at the same time, and both went at it. And if his fights before had been hard, this one was harder and greater and more terrible than the others put together. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight. And at length the fight was putting so hard upon the beggarman, and he was getting so weak, that he whistled, and the mist came around him, and he went up into the sky before the Amadan knew. He remained there until he refreshed himself, and then came down again, and at it again he went for the Amadan, and fought harder and harder than before, and again it was putting too hard upon him, and he whistled as before for the mist to come down and take him up.
But the Amadan remembered what the red woman had warned him; he gave one leap into the air, and coming down, drove his sword through the beggarman's heart, and the beggarman fell dead. But before he died he put geasa on the Amadan to meet and fight the Silver Cat of the Seven Glens.
The Amadan rubbed his wounds with the iocshlainte, and he was as fresh and hale as when he began the fight; and then he set out, and when night was falling, he reached the hut that had no shelter within or without, only one feather over it, and the rough, red woman was standing in the door.
Right glad she was to see the Amadan coming back alive, and she welcomed him right heartily, and asked him the news.
He told her that he had killed the beggarman, and said he was now under geasa to meet and fight the Silver Cat of the Seven Glens.
"Well," she said, "I'm sorry for you, for no one ever before went to meet the Silver Cat and came back alive. But," she says, "you're both tired and hungry; come in and rest and sleep."
So in the Amadan went, and had a hearty supper and a soft bed; and in the morning she called him up early, and she gave him directions where to meet the cat and how to find it, and she told him there was only one vital spot on that cat, and it was a black speck on the bottom of the cat's stomach, and unless he could happen to run his sword right through this, the cat would surely kill him. She said:
"My poor Amadan, I'm very much afraid you'll not come back alive. I cannot go to help you myself, or I would; but there is a well in my garden, and by watching that well I will know how the fight goes with you. While there is honey on top of the well, I will know you are getting the better of the cat; but if the blood comes on top, then the cat is getting the better of you; and if the blood stays there, I will know, my poor Amadan, that you are dead."
The Amadan bade her good-bye, and set out to travel to where the Seven Glens met at the sea. Here there was a precipice, and under the precipice a cave. In this cave the Silver Cat lived, and once a day she came out to sun herself on the rocks.
The Amadan let himself down over the precipice by a rope, and he waited until the cat came out to sun herself.
When the cat came out at twelve o'clock and saw the Amadan, she let a roar out of her that drove the waters back of the sea and piled them up a quarter of a mile high, and she asked him who he was and how he had the impudence to come there to meet her.
The Amadan said: "They call me the Amadan of the Dough, and I have killed Slat Mor, Slat Man, Slat Beag, the Cailliach of the Rocks and her four badachs, the Black Bull of the Brown Woods, the White Wether of the Hill of the Waterfalls, and the Beggarman of the King of Sweden, and before night I will have killed the Silver Cat of the Seven Glens."
"That you never will," says she, "for a dead man you will be yourself." And at him she sprang.
But the Amadan raised his sword and struck at her, and both of them fell to the fight, and a great, great fight they had. They made the hard ground into soft, and the soft into spring wells; they made the rocks into pebbles, and the pebbles into gravel, and the gravel fell over the country like hailstones. All the birds of the air from the lower end of the world to the upper end of the world, and all the wild beasts and tame from the four ends of the earth, came flocking to see the fight; and if the fights that the Amadan had had on the other days were great and terrible, this one was far greater and far more terrible than all the others put together, and the poor Amadan sorely feared that before night fell he would be a dead man.
The red woman was watching at the well in her garden, and she was sorely distressed, for though at one time the honey was uppermost, at another time it was all blood, and again the blood and the honey would be mixed; so she felt bad for the poor Amadan.
At length the blood and the honey got mixed again, and it remained that way until night; so she cried, for she believed the Amadan himself was dead, as well as the Silver Cat.
And so he was. For when the fight had gone on for long and long, the cat, with a great long nail which she had in the end of her tail, tore him open from his mouth to his toes; and as she tore the Amadan open and he was about to fall, she opened her mouth so wide that the Amadan saw down to the very bottom of her stomach, and there he saw the black speck that the red woman had told him of. And just before he dropped he drove his sword through this spot, and the Silver Cat, too, fell over dead.
It was not long now till the red woman arrived at the place and found both the Amadan and the cat lying side by side, dead. At this the poor woman was frantic with sorrow, but suddenly she saw by the Amadan's side the bottle of iocshlainte and the feather. She took them up and rubbed the Amadan with the iocshlainte, and he jumped to his feet, alive and well, and fresh as when he began the fight.
He smothered her with kisses and drowned her with tears. He took the red woman with him, and set out on his journey back, and travelled and travelled on and on till he came to the Castle of Fire.
Here he met the three young princes, who were now living happily with no giants to molest them. They had one sister, the most beautiful young maiden that the Amadan had ever beheld. They gave her to the Amadan in marriage, and gave her half of all they owned for fortune.
The marriage lasted nine days and nine nights. There were nine hundred fiddlers, nine hundred fluters, and nine hundred pipers, and the last day and night of the wedding were better than the first.
The Rakshas's Palace
Once upon a time there lived a Rajah who was left a widower with two little daughters. Not very long after his first wife died he married again, and his second wife did not care for her stepchildren, and was often unkind to them; and the Rajah, their father, never troubled himself to look after them, but allowed his wife to treat them as she liked. This made the poor girls very miserable, and one day one of them said to the other, "Don't let us remain any longer here; come away into the jungle, for nobody here cares whether we go or stay." So they both walked off into the jungle, and lived for many days on the jungle fruits. At last, after they had wandered on for a long while, they came to a fine palace which belonged to a Rakshas, but both the Rakshas and his wife were out when they got there. Then one of the Princesses said to the other, "This fine palace, in the midst of the jungle, can belong to no one but a Rakshas, but the owner has evidently gone out; let us go in and see if we can find anything to eat." So they went into the Rakshas's house, and finding some rice, boiled, and ate it. Then they swept the room and arranged all the furniture in the house tidily. But hardly had they finished doing so when the Rakshas and his wife returned home. Then the two Princesses were so frightened that they ran up to the top of the house and hid themselves on the flat roof, from whence they could look down on one side into the inner courtyard of the house, and from the other could see the open country. The house-top was a favourite resort of the Rakshas and his wife. Here they would sit upon the hot summer evenings; here they winnowed the grain and hung out the clothes to dry; and the two Princesses found a sufficient shelter behind some sheaves of corn that were waiting to be threshed. When the Rakshas came into the house, he looked round and said to his wife, "Somebody has been arranging the house; everything in it is so clean and tidy. Wife, did you do this?" "No," she said; "I don't know who can have done all this." "Someone also has been sweeping the courtyard," continued the Rakshas. "Wife, did you sweep the courtyard?" "No," she answered; "I did not do it. I don't know who did." Then the Rakshas walked round and round several times with his nose up in the air, saying, "Someone is here now. I smell flesh and blood! Where can they be?" "Stuff and nonsense!" cried his wife; "you smell blood indeed! Why, you have just been killing and eating a hundred thousand people. I should wonder if you didn't still smell flesh and blood!" They went on quarrelling thus until the Rakshas said, "Well, never mind; I don't know how it is, but I'm very thirsty; let's come and drink some water." So both the Rakshas and his wife went to a well which was close to the house, and began letting down jars into it, and drawing up the water and drinking it. And the Princesses, who were on the top of the house, saw them. Now the youngest of the two Princesses was a very wise girl, and when she saw the Rakshas and his wife by the well, she said to her sister, "I will do something now that will be good for us both"; and, running down quickly from the top of the house, she crept close behind the Rakshas and his wife as they stood on tip-toe more than half over the side of the well, and, catching hold of one of the Rakshas's heels and one of his wife's, gave each a little push, and down they both tumbled into the well and were drowned—the Rakshas and the Rakshas's wife! The Princess then returned to her sister and said, "I have killed the Rakshas." "What! both?" cried her sister. "Yes, both," she said. "Won't they come back?" said her sister. "No, never," answered she.
The Rakshas being thus killed, the two Princesses took possession of the house, and lived there very happily for a long time. In it they found heaps and heaps of rich clothes and jewels, and gold and silver, which the Rakshas had taken from people he had murdered; and all round the house were folds for the flocks and sheds for the herds of cattle which the Rakshas owned. Every morning the youngest Princess used to drive out the flocks and herds to pasturage, and return home with them every night, while the eldest stayed at home, cooked the dinner and kept the house; and the youngest Princess, who was the cleverest, would often say to her sister, on going away for the day, "Take care, if you see any stranger (be it man, woman or child) come by the house, to hide, if possible, that nobody may know of our living here; and if anyone should call out and ask for a drink of water, or any poor beggar pray for food, before you give it to him be sure you put on ragged clothes and cover your face with charcoal, and make yourself look as ugly as possible, lest, seeing how fair you are, he should steal you away, and we never meet again." "Very well," the other Princess would answer, "I will do as you advise."
But a long time passed, and no one ever came by that way. At last one day, after the youngest Princess had gone out, a young Prince, the son of a neighbouring Rajah, who had been hunting with his attendants for many days in the jungles, came near the place, for he and his people were tired with hunting, and had been seeking all through the jungle for a stream of water, but could find none. When the Prince saw the fine palace standing by itself, he was very much astonished, and said, "It is a strange thing that any one should have built such a house as this in the depths of the forest. Let us go in; the owners will doubtless give us a drink of water." "No, no, do not go," cried his attendants; "this is most likely the house of a Rakshas." "We can but see," answered the Prince. "I should scarcely think anything very terrible lived here, for there is not a sound stirring nor a living creature to be seen." So he began tapping at the door, which was bolted, and crying, "Will whoever owns this house give me and my people some water to drink, for the sake of kind charity?" But nobody answered, for the Princess, who heard him, was busy up in her room, blacking her face with charcoal and covering her rich dress with rags. Then the Prince got impatient and shook the door angrily, saying, "Let me in, whoever you are! If you don't, I'll force the door open." At this the poor little Princess got dreadfully frightened; and having blacked her face and made herself look as ugly as possible, she ran downstairs with a pitcher of water, and unbolting the door, gave the Prince the pitcher to drink from; but she did not speak, for she was afraid. Now, the Prince was a very clever man, and as he raised the pitcher to his mouth to drink the water, he thought to himself, "This is a very strange-looking creature who has brought me this jug of water. She would be pretty, but that her face seems to want washing, and her dress also is very untidy. What can that black stuff be on her face and hands? It looks very unnatural." And so thinking to himself, instead of drinking the water, he threw it in the Princess's face! The Princess started back with a little cry, while the water, trickling down, washed off the charcoal, and showed her delicate features and beautiful, fair complexion. The Prince caught hold of her hand, and said, "Now, tell me true, who are you? where do you come from? Who are your father and mother? and why are you here alone by yourself in the jungle? Answer me, or I'll cut your head off." And he made as if he would draw his sword. The Princess was so terrified she could hardly speak, but as best she could she told how she was the daughter of a Rajah, and had run away into the jungle because of her cruel stepmother, and, finding the house, had lived there ever since; and having finished her story, she began to cry. Then the Prince said to her, "Pretty lady, forgive me for my roughness; do not fear. I will take you home with me, and you shall be my wife." But the more he spoke to her the more frightened she got, so frightened that she did not understand what he said, and could do nothing but cry. Now she had said nothing to the Prince about her sister, nor even told him that she had one, for she thought, "This man says he will kill me; if he hears that I have a sister, he will kill her, too." So the Prince, who was really kind-hearted, and would never have thought of separating the two little sisters who had been together so long, knew nothing at all of the matter, and only seeing she was too much alarmed even to understand gentle words, said to his servants, "Place this lady in one of the palkees, and let us set off home." And they did so. When the Princess found herself shut up in the palkee, and being carried she knew not where, she thought how terrible it would be for her sister to return home and find her gone, and determined, if possible, to leave some sign to show her which way she had been taken. Round her neck were many strings of pearls. She untied them, and tearing her saree into little bits, tied one pearl in each piece of the saree, that it might be heavy enough to fall straight to the ground; and so she went on, dropping one pearl and then another and another and another, all the way she went along, until they reached the palace where the Rajah and Ranee, the Prince's father and mother lived. She threw the last remaining pearl down just as she reached the palace gate. The old Rajah and Ranee were delighted to see the beautiful Princess their son had brought home; and when they heard her tale they said, "Ah, poor thing! what a sad story! but now she has come to live with us, we will do all we can to make her happy." And they married her to their son with great pomp and ceremony, and gave her rich dresses and jewels, and were very kind to her. But the Princess remained sad and unhappy, for she was always thinking about her sister, and yet she could not summon courage to beg the Prince or his father to send and fetch her to the palace.
Meantime, the younger Princess, who had been out with her flocks and herds when the Prince took her sister away, had returned home. When she came back she found the door wide open and no one standing there. She thought it very odd, for her sister always came every night to the door to meet her on her return. She went upstairs; her sister was not there; the whole house was empty and deserted. There she must stay all alone, for the evening had closed in, and it was impossible to go outside and seek her with any hope of success. So all the night long she waited, crying, "Someone has been here, and they have stolen her away; they have stolen my darling away! Oh, sister! sister!" Next morning, very early, going out to continue the search, she found one of the pearls belonging to her sister's necklace tied up in a small piece of saree; a little farther on lay another, and yet another, all along the road the Prince had gone. Then the Princess understood that her sister had left this clue to guide her on her way, and she at once set off to find her again. Very, very far she went—a six months' journey through the jungle, for she could not travel fast, the many days' walking tired her so much—and sometimes it took her two or three days to find the next piece of saree with the pearl. At last she came near a large town, to which it was evident her sister had been taken. Now, this young Princess was very beautiful indeed—as beautiful as she was wise—and when she got near the town she thought to herself, "If people see me, they may steal me away, as they did my sister, and then I shall never find her again. I will therefore disguise myself." As she was thus thinking she saw by the side of the road the corpse of a poor old beggar woman, who had evidently died from want and poverty. The body was shrivelled up, and nothing of it remained but the skin and bones. The Princess took the skin and washed it, and drew it on over her own lovely face and neck, as one draws a glove on one's hand. Then she took a long stick and began hobbling along, leaning on it, toward the town. The old woman's skin was all crumpled and withered, and people who passed by only thought, "What an ugly old woman!" and never dreamed of the false skin and the beautiful girl inside. So on she went, picking up the pearls—one here, one there—until she found the last pearl just in front of the palace gate. Then she felt certain her sister must be somewhere near, but where she did not know. She longed to go into the palace and ask for her, but no guards would have let such a wretched-looking old woman enter, and she did not dare offer them any of the pearls she had with her, lest they should think she was a thief. So she determined merely to remain as close to the palace as possible, and wait till fortune favoured her with the means of learning something further about her sister. Just opposite the palace was a small house belonging to a farmer, and the Princess went up to it and stood by the door. The farmer's wife saw her and said, "Poor old woman, who are you? What do you want? Why are you here? Have you no friends?" "Alas, no!" answered the Princess. "I am a poor old woman, and have neither father nor mother, son nor daughter, sister nor brother, to take care of me; all are gone, and I can only beg my bread from door to door."
"Do not grieve, good mother," answered the farmer's wife, kindly. "You may sleep in the shelter of our porch, and I will give you some food." So the Princess stayed there for that night and for many more; and every day the good farmer's wife gave her food. But all this time she could learn nothing of her sister.
Now there was a large tank near the palace, on which grew some fine lotus plants, covered with rich crimson lotuses—the royal flower—and of these the Rajah was very fond indeed, and prized them very much. To this tank (because it was the nearest to the farmer's house) the Princess used to go every morning, very early, almost before it was light, at about three o'clock, and take off the old woman's skin and wash it, and hang it out to dry, and wash her face and hands, and bathe her feet in the cool water, and comb her beautiful hair. Then she would gather a lotus flower (such as she had been accustomed to wear in her hair from a child) and put it on, so as to feel for a few minutes like herself again! Thus she would amuse herself. Afterward, as soon as the wind had dried the old woman's skin, she put it on again, threw away the lotus flower, and hobbled back to the farmer's door before the sun was up.
After a time the Rajah discovered that someone had plucked some of his favourite lotus flowers. People were set to watch, and all the wise men in the kingdom put their heads together to try to discover the thief, but without avail. At last, the excitement about this matter being very great, the Rajah's second son, a brave and noble young prince (brother to him who had found the eldest Princess in the forest) said, "I will certainly discover this thief." It chanced that several fine trees grew around the tank. Into one of these the young Prince climbed one evening (having made a sort of light thatched roof across two of the boughs, to keep off the heavy dews), and there he watched all the night through, but with no more success than his predecessors. There lay the lotus plants, still in the moonlight, without so much as a thieving wind coming to break off one of the flowers. The Prince began to get very sleepy, and thought the delinquent, whoever he might be, could not intend to return, when, in the very early morning, before it was light, who should come down to the tank but an old woman he had often seen near the palace gate? "Aha!" thought the Prince, "this, then, is the thief; but what can this queer old woman want with lotus flowers?" Imagine his astonishment when the old woman sat down on the steps of the tank and began pulling the skin off her face and arms, and from underneath the shrivelled yellow skin came the loveliest face he had ever beheld! So fair, so fresh, so young, so gloriously beautiful, that, appearing thus suddenly, it dazzled the Prince's eyes like a flash of golden lightning. "Ah," thought he, "can this be a woman or a spirit? a devil or an angel in disguise?"
The Princess twisted up her glossy black hair, and, plucking a red lotus, placed it in it, and dabbled her feet in the water, and amused herself by putting round her neck a string of pearls that had been her sister's necklace. Then, as the sun was rising, she threw away the lotus, and covering her face and arms again with the withered skin, went hastily away. When the Prince got home, the first thing he said to his parents was, "Father! mother! I should like to marry that old woman who stands all day at the farmer's gate, just opposite!" "What!" they cried, "the boy is mad! Marry that skinny old thing! You cannot—you are a King's son. Are there not enough Queens and Princesses in the world, that you should wish to marry a wretched old beggar-woman?" But he answered, "Above all things I should like to marry that old woman. You know that I have ever been a dutiful and obedient son. In this matter, I pray you, grant me my desire." Then, seeing he was really in earnest about the matter, and that nothing they could say would alter his mind, they listened to his urgent entreaties—not, however, without much grief and vexation—and sent out the guards, to fetch the old woman (who was really the Princess in disguise) to the palace, where she was to be married to the Prince as privately and with as little ceremony as possible, for the family was ashamed of the match.
As soon as the wedding was over, the Prince said to his wife, "Gentle wife, tell me how much longer you intend to wear that old skin? You had better take it off; do be so kind." The Princess wondered how he knew of her disguise, or whether it was only a guess of his; and she thought, "If I take this ugly skin off, my husband will think me pretty, and shut me up in the palace and never let me go away, so that I shall not be able to find my sister again. No, I had better not take it off." So she answered, "I don't know what you mean. I am as all these years have made me; nobody can change his skin." Then the Prince pretended to be very angry, and said, "Take off that hideous disguise this instant, or I'll kill you." But she only bowed her head, saying, "Kill me then, but nobody can change his skin." And all this she mumbled as if she were a very old woman indeed, and had lost all her teeth and could not speak plain. At this the Prince laughed very much to himself, and thought, "I'll wait and see how long this freak lasts." But the Princess continued to keep on the old woman's skin; only every morning, at about three o'clock, before it was light, she would get up and wash it and put it on again. Then, some time afterward, the Prince, having found this out, got up softly one morning early, and followed her to the next room, where she had washed the skin and placed it on the floor to dry, and stealing it, he ran away with it and threw it on the fire. So the Princess, having no old woman's skin to put on, was obliged to appear in her own likeness. As she walked forth, very sad at missing her disguise, her husband ran to meet her, smiling and saying, "How do you do, my dear? Where is your skin now? Can't you take it off, dear?" Soon the whole palace had heard the joyful news of the beautiful young wife that the Prince had won; and all the people, when they saw her, cried, "Why, she is exactly like the beautiful Princess our young Rajah married, the jungle lady." The old Rajah and Ranee were prouder than all of their daughter-in-law, and took her to introduce her to their eldest son's wife Then no sooner did the Princess enter her sister-in-law's room then she saw that in her she had found her lost sister, and they ran into each other's arms. Great then, was the joy of all, but the happiest of all these happy people were the two Princesses.
Billy Beg and the Bull
Once upon a time when pigs were swine, there was a King and Queen, and they had one son, Billy, and the Queen gave Billy a bull that he was very fond of, and it was just as fond of him. After some time the Queen died, and she put it as her last request on the King that he would never part Billy and the bull, and the King promised that come what might, come what may, he would not. After the Queen died the King married again, and the new Queen didn't take to Billy Beg, and no more did she like the bull, seeing himself and Billy so thick. But she couldn't get the King on no account to part Billy and the Bull, so she consulted with a hen-wife what they could do as regards separating Billy and the bull. "What will you give me," says the hen-wife, "and I'll very soon part them?" "Whatever you ask," says the Queen. "Well and good then," says the hen-wife; "you are to take to your bed, making pretend that you are bad with a complaint, and I'll do the rest of it." And, well and good, to her bed she took, and none of the doctors could do anything for her, or make out what was her complaint. So the Queen asked for the hen-wife to be sent for. And sent for she was, and when she came in and examined the Queen, she said there was one thing, and only one, could cure her. The King asked what was that, and the hen-wife said it was three mouthfuls of the blood of Billy Beg's bull. But the King wouldn't on no account hear of this, and the next day the Queen was worse, and the third day she was worse still, and told the King she was dying, and he'd have her death on his head. So, sooner nor this, the King had to consent to Billy Beg's bull being killed. When Billy heard this he got very down in the heart entirely, and he went doitherin' about, and the bull saw him, and asked him what was wrong with him that he was so mournful; so Billy told the bull what was wrong with him, and the bull told him to never mind, but keep up his heart, the Queen would never taste a drop of his blood. The next day, then, the bull was to be killed, and the Queen got up and went out to have the delight of seeing his death. When the bull was led up to be killed, says he to Billy, "Jump up on my back till we see what kind of a horseman you are." Up Billy jumped on his back, and with that the bull leapt nine mile high, nine mile deep, and nine mile broad, and came down with Billy sticking between his horns. Hundreds were looking on dazed at the sight, and through them the bull rushed, and over the top of the Queen, killing her dead, and away he galloped where you wouldn't know day by night, or night by day, over high hills, low hills, sheep-walks, and bullock-traces, the Cove of Cork, and old Tom Fox with his bugle horn. When at last they stopped, "Now then," says the bull to Billy, "you and I must undergo great scenery, Billy. Put your hand," says the bull, "in my left ear, and you'll get a napkin, that, when you spread it out, will be covered with eating and drinking of all sorts, fit for the King himself." Billy did this, and then he spread out the napkin, and ate and drank to his heart's content, and he rolled up the napkin and put it back in the bull's ear again. "Then," says the bull, "now put your hand into my right ear and you'll find a bit of a stick; if you wind it over your head three times, it will be turned into a sword and give you the strength of a thousand men besides your own, and when you have no more need of it as a sword, it will change back into a stick again." Billy did all this. Then says the bull, "At twelve o'clock the morrow I'll have to meet and fight a great bull." Billy then got up again on the bull's back, and the bull started off and away where you wouldn't know day by night, or night by day, over low hills, high hills, sheep-walks, and bullock-traces, the Cove of Cork, and old Tom Fox with his bugle horn. There he met the other bull, and both of them fought, and the like of their fight was never seen before or since. They knocked the soft ground into hard, and the hard into soft; the soft into spring wells, the spring wells into rocks, and the rocks into high hills. They fought long, and Billy Beg's bull killed the other, and drank his blood. Then Billy took the napkin out of his ear again and spread it out and ate a hearty good dinner. Then says the bull to Billy, says he, "At twelve o'clock to-morrow, I'm to meet the bull's brother that I killed the day, and we'll have a hard fight." Billy got on the bull's back again, and the bull started off and away where you wouldn't know day by night, or night by day, over high hills, low hills, sheep-walks and bulloch-traces, the Cove of Cork, and old Tom Fox with his bugle horn. There he met the bull's brother that he killed the day before, and they set to, and they fought, and the like of the fight was never seen before or since. They knocked the soft ground into hard, the hard into soft, the soft into spring wells, the spring wells into rocks, and the rocks into high hills. They fought long, and at last Billy's bull killed the other and drank his blood. And then Billy took out the napkin out of the bull's ear again and spread it out and ate another hearty dinner. Then says the bull to Billy, says he, "The morrow at twelve o'clock I'm to fight the brother to the two bulls I killed—he's a mighty great bull entirely, the strongest of them all; he's called the Black Bull of the Forest, and he'll be too able for me. When I'm dead!" says the bull, "you, Billy, will take with you the napkin, and you'll never be hungry; and the stick, and you'll be able to overcome everything that comes in your way; and take out your knife and cut a strip of the hide off my back and another strip off my belly, and make a belt of them, and as long as you wear them you cannot be killed." Billy was very sorry to hear this, but he got up on the bull's back again, and they started off and away where you wouldn't know day by night or night by day, over high hills, low hills, sheep-walks, and bulloch-traces, the Cove of Cork, and Old Tom Fox with his bugle horn. And sure enough at twelve o'clock the next day they met the great Black Bull of the Forest and both of the bulls to it, and commenced to fight, and the like of the fight was never seen before or since; they knocked the soft ground into hard ground, and the hard ground into soft; and the soft into spring wells, the spring wells into rocks, and the rocks into high hills. And they fought long, but at length the Black Bull of the Forest killed Billy Beg's bull and drank his blood. Billy Beg was so vexed at this that for two days he sat over the bull neither eating nor drinking, but crying salt tears all the time. Then he got up, and he spread out the napkin, and ate a hearty dinner, for he was very hungry with his long fast; and after that he cut a strip of the hide off the bull's back and another off the belly, and made a belt for himself, and taking it and the bit of stick, and the napkin, he set out to push his fortune, and he travelled for three days and three nights till at last he came to a great gentleman's place, Billy asked the gentleman if he could give him employment, and the gentleman said he wanted just such a boy as him for herding cattle. Billy asked what cattle would he have to herd, and what wages would he get. The gentleman said he had three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses that he fed in an orchard, but that no boy who went with them ever came back alive, for there were three giants, brothers, that came to milk the cows and the goats every day, and killed the boy that was herding; so if Billy liked to try, they wouldn't fix the wages till they'd see if he would come back alive.
"Agreed, then," said Billy. So the next morning he got up and drove out the three goats, the three cows, the three horses, and the three asses to the orchard and commenced to feed them. About the middle of the day Billy heard three terrible roars that shook the apples off the bushes, shook the horns on the cows, and made the hair stand up on Billy's head, and in comes a frightful big giant with three heads, and begun to threaten Bill. "You're too big," says the giant, "for one bite, and too small for two. What will I do with you?" "I'll fight you," says Billy, says he, stepping out to him and swinging the bit of stick three times over his head, when it changed into a sword and gave him the strength of a thousand men besides his own. The giant laughed at the size of him, and says he, "Well, how will I kill you? Will it be by a swing by the back, a cut of the sword, or a square round of boxing?" "With a swing by the back," says Billy, "if you can." So they both laid holds, and Billy lifted the giant clean off the ground, and fetching him down again sunk him in the earth up to his arm-pits. "Oh, have mercy!" says the giant. But Billy, taking his sword, killed the giant, and cut out his tongues. It was evening by this time, so Billy drove home the three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses, and all the vessels in the house wasn't able to hold all the milk the cows give that night.
"Well," says the gentleman, "this beats me, for I never saw any one coming back alive out of there before, nor the cows with a drop of milk. Did you see anything in the orchard?" says he. "Nothing worse nor myself," says Billy. "What about my wages, now?" says Billy. "Well," says the gentleman, "you'll hardly come alive out of the orchard the morrow. So we'll wait till after that." Next morning his master told Billy that something must have happened to one of the giants, for he used to hear cries of three every night, but last night he only heard two crying. "I don't know," said Billy, "anything about them." That morning after he got his breakfast Billy drove the three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses into the orchard again, and began to feed them. About twelve o'clock he heard three terrible roars that shook the apples off the bushes, the horns off the cows, and made the hair stand up on Billy's head, and in comes a frightful big giant, with six heads, and he told Billy he had killed his brother yesterday, but he would make him pay for it the day. "Ye're too big," says he, "for one bite, and too small for two, and what will I do with you?" "I'll fight you," says Billy, swinging his stick three times over his head, and turning it into a sword, and giving him the strength of a thousand men besides his own. The giant laughed at him, and says he, "How will I kill you—with a swing by the back, a cut of the sword, or a square round of boxing?" "With a swing by the back," says Billy, "if you can." So the both of them laid holds, and Billy lifted the giant clean off the ground, and fetching him down again, sunk him in it up to the arm-pits. "Oh, spare my life!" says the giant. But Billy taking up his sword, killed him and cut out his tongues. It was evening by this time, and Billy drove home his three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses, and what milk the cows gave that night overflowed all the vessels in the house, and, running out, turned a rusty mill that hadn't been turned before for thirty years. If the master was surprised seeing Billy coming back the night before, he was ten times more surprised now.
"Did you see anything in the orchard the day?" says the gentleman. "Nothing worse nor myself," says Billy. "What about my wages now?" says Billy. "Well, never mind about your wages," says the gentleman, "till the morrow, for I think you'll hardly come back alive again," says he. Well and good, Billy went to his bed, and the gentleman went to his bed, and when the gentleman rose in the morning, says he to Billy "I don't know what's wrong with two of the giants; I only heard one crying last night." "I don't know," says Billy, "they must be sick or something." Well, when Billy got his breakfast that day, again he set out to the orchard, driving before him the three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses, and sure enough about the middle of the day he hears three terrible roars again, and in comes another giant, this one with twelve heads on him, and if the other two were frightful, surely this one was ten times more so. "You villain, you," says he to Billy, "you killed my two brothers, and I'll have my revenge on you now. Prepare till I kill you," says he; "you're too big for one bite, and too small for two; what will I do with you?" "I'll fight you," says Billy, shaping out and winding the bit of stick three times over his head. The giant laughed heartily at the size of him, and says he, "What way do you prefer being killed? Is it with a swing by the back, a cut of the sword, or a square round of boxing?" "A swing by the back," says Billy. So both of them again laid holds, and my brave Billy lifts the giant clean off the ground, and fetching him down again, sunk him down to his arm-pits in it. "Oh, have mercy! Spare my life!" says the giant. But Billy took his sword, and, killing him, cut out his tongues. That evening he drove home his three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses, and the milk of the cows had to be turned into a valley where it made a lough three miles long, three miles broad, and three miles deep, and that lough has been filled with salmon and white trout ever since. The gentleman wondered now more than ever to see Billy back the third day alive. "Did you see nothing in the orchard the day, Billy?" says he. "No, nothing worse nor myself," says Billy. "Well, that beats me," says the gentleman. "What about my wages now?" says Billy. "Well, you're a good, mindful boy, that I couldn't easy do without," says the gentleman, "and I'll give you any wages you ask for the future." The next morning, says the gentleman to Billy, "I heard none of the giants crying last night, however it comes." "I don't know," says Billy, "they must be sick or something." "Now, Billy," says the gentleman, "you must look after the cattle the day again, while I go to see the fight." "What fight?" says Billy. "Why," says the gentleman, "it's the king's daughter is going to be devoured by a fiery dragon, if the greatest fighter in the land, that they have been feeding specially for the last three months, isn't able to kill the dragon first. And if he's able to kill the dragon the king is to give him the daughter in marriage." "That will be fine!" says Billy. Billy drove out his three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses to the orchard that day again, and the like of all that passed that day to see the fight with the man and the fiery dragon, Billy never witnessed before. They went in coaches and carriages, on horses and jackasses, riding and walking, crawling and creeping. "My tight little fellow," says a man that was passing to Billy, "why don't you come to see the great fight?" "What would take the likes of me there?" says Billy. But when Billy found them all gone he saddled and bridled the best black horse his master had, and put on the best suit of clothes he could get in his master's house, and rode off to the fight after the rest. When Billy went there he saw the king's daughter, with the whole court about her, on a platform before the castle, and he thought he never saw anything half as beautiful, and the great warrior that was to fight the dragon was walking up and down on the lawn before her, with three men carrying his sword, and every one in the whole country gathered there looking at him. But when the fiery dragon came up with twelve heads on him, and every mouth of him spitting fire, and let twelve roars out of him, the warrior ran away and hid himself up to the neck in a well of water, and all they could do they couldn't get him to come and face the dragon. Then the king's daughter asked if there was no one there to save her from the dragon, and get her in marriage. But no one stirred. When Billy saw this, he tied the belt of the bull's hide round him, swung his stick over his head, and went in, and after a terrible fight, entirely killed the dragon. Everyone then gathered about to find who the stranger was. Billy jumped on his horse and darted away sooner than let them know; but just as he was getting away the king's daughter pulled the shoe off his foot. When the dragon was killed the warrior that had hid in the well of water came out, and cutting off the heads of the dragon he brought them to the king, and said that it was he who killed the dragon, in disguise; and he claimed the king's daughter. But she tried the shoe on him and found it didn't fit him; so she said it wasn't him, and that she would marry no one only the man the shoe fitted. When Billy got home he changed his clothes again, and had the horse in the stable, and the cattle all in before his master came. When the master came, he began telling Billy about the wonderful day they had entirely, and about the warrior hiding in the well of water, and about the grand stranger that came down out of the sky in a cloud on a black horse, and killed the fiery dragon, and then vanished in a cloud again. "And now," says he, "Billy, wasn't that wonderful?" "It was, indeed," says Billy, "very wonderful entirely." After that it was given out over the country that all the people were to come to the king's castle on a certain day, till the king's daughter would try the shoe on them, and whoever it fitted she was to marry them. When the day arrived Billy was in the orchard with the three goats, three cows, three horses, and three asses, as usual, and the like of all the crowds that passed that day going to the king's castle to get the shoe tried on, he never saw before. They went in coaches and carriages, on horses and jackasses, riding and walking, and crawling and creeping. They all asked Billy was not he going to the king's castle, but Billy said, "Arrah, what would be bringin' the likes of me there?" At last when all the others had gone there passed an old man with a very scarecrow suit of rags on him, and Billy stopped him and asked him what boot would he take and swap clothes with him. "Just take care of yourself, now," says the old man, "and don't be playing off your jokes on my clothes, or maybe I'd make you feel the weight of this stick." But Billy soon let him see it was in earnest he was, and both of them swapped suits, Billy giving the old man boot. Then off to the castle started Billy, with the suit of rags on his back and an old stick in his hand, and when he come there he found all in great commotion, trying on the shoe, and some of them cutting down their foot, trying to get it to fit. But it was all of no use, the shoe could be got to fit none of them at all, and the king's daughter was going to give up in despair when the wee, ragged-looking boy, which was Billy, elbowed his way through them, and says he, "Let me try it on; maybe it would fit me." But the people when they saw him, all began to laugh at the sight of him, and "Go along out of that, you example, you," says they, shoving and pushing him back. But the king's daughter saw him, and called on them by all manner of means to let him come up and try on the shoe. So Billy went up, and all the people looked on, breaking their hearts laughing at the conceit of it. But what would you have of it, but to the dumfounding of them all, the shoe fitted Billy as nice as if it was made on his foot for a last. So the king's daughter claimed Billy as her husband. He then confessed that it was he that killed the fiery dragon; and when the king had him dressed up in a silk and satin suit, with plenty of gold and silver ornaments, everyone gave in that his like they never saw afore. He was then married to the king's daughter, and the wedding lasted nine days, nine hours, nine minutes, nine half minutes, and nine quarter minutes, and they lived happy and well from that day to this. I got brogues of brochan and breeches of glass, a bit of pie for telling a lie, and then I came slithering home.
[Footnote 8: Porridge.]
The Princes Fire-flash and Fire-fade
His Highness Fire-flash was a Prince who was fond of fishing; and so great was his luck, that big fishes, and little fishes, and all kinds of fishes came to his line. His younger brother, Prince Fire-fade, was fond of hunting, and all his luck was on the hills, and in the woods, where he caught birds and beasts of every kind.
One day Prince Fire-fade said to his elder brother, Prince Fire-flash: "Let us change. You go and hunt instead of me, and I will try my luck at fishing, if you will lend me your line and hook." Prince Fire-flash did not care much to change, and at first said "No"; but his brother kept on teasing him about it, until at last he said, "Very well, then; let us change."
Then Prince Fire-fade tried his luck at fishing, but not a single fish did he catch; and, what was worse, he lost his brother's fish-hook in the sea.
Prince Fire-flash asked him for the hook, saying: "Hunting is one thing, and fishing is another. Let us both go back to our own ways."
Then said Prince Fire-fade: "I did not catch a single fish with your hook, and at last I lost it in the sea."
But Prince Fire-flash said: "I must and shall have my fish-hook." So the younger brother broke his long sword, that was girded on him, and, of the pieces, made five hundred fish-hooks, and begged Prince Fire-flash to take them, but he would not. Then Prince Fire-fade made a thousand fish-hooks and said: "Please take them instead of the one which I lost." But the elder brother said: "No, I must have my own hook, and I will not take any other."
Then Prince Fire-fade was very sorry, and sat down by the sea-shore, crying bitterly.
By and by the Wise Old Man of the Sea came to him and asked: "Why are you crying so bitterly, Prince Fire-fade?" Fire-fade told him all the story of the lost fish-hook, and how that his brother was angry, still saying that he must have that very same hook and no other. Then the Wise Old Man of the Sea built a stout little boat, and made Prince Fire-fade sit in it. Having pushed it a little from the land, he said: "Now go on for some time in the boat; it will be very pleasant, for the sea is calm. Soon you will come to a palace built like fishes' scales; this is the palace of the Sea-king. When you reach the gate, you will see a fine cassia-tree growing above the well by the side of the gate. If you will sit on the top of that tree, the Sea-king's daughter will see you, and tell you what to do."
So Prince Fire-fade did as he was told, and everything came to pass just as the Wise Old Man of the Sea had told him. As soon as he was come to the Sea-king's palace, he made haste, and climbed up into the cassia-tree, and sat there. Then came the maidens of the Princess Pearl, the Sea-king's daughter, carrying golden water-pots. They were just going to draw water, when they saw a flood of light upon the well. They looked up, and there in the cassia-tree was a beautiful young man. Prince Fire-fade saw the maidens, and asked for some water. The maidens drew some, and put it in a golden cup, and gave him to drink. Without tasting the water, the Prince took the jewel that hung at his neck, put it between his lips, and let it drop into the golden cup. It stuck to the cup, so that the maidens could not take it off; so they brought the cup, with the jewel on it, to the Princess Pearl.
When she saw the jewel, the Princess asked her maidens: "Is there anyone inside the gate?" So the maidens answered: "There is someone sitting on the top of the cassia-tree, above our well. It is a beautiful young man—more beautiful even than our King. He asked for water, and we gave him some; but, without drinking it, he dropped this jewel from his lips into the cup, and we have brought it to you." Then Princess Pearl, thinking this very strange, went out to look. She was delighted at the sight, but not giving the Prince time to take more than one little peep at her, she ran to tell her father, saying: "Father, there is a beautiful person at our gate."
Then the Sea-king himself went out to look. When he saw the young man on the top of the tree, he knew that it must be Prince Fire-fade. He made him come down, and led him into the palace, where he seated him upon a throne made of sea-asses' skins, and silk rugs, eight layers of each. Then a great feast was spread, and every one was so kind to Prince Fire-fade, that the end of it was, he married Princess Pearl, and lived in that land for three years.
Now, one night, when the three years had almost passed, Prince Fire-fade thought of his home, and what had happened there, and heaved one deep sigh.
Princess Pearl was grieved, and told her father, saying: "We have been so happy these three years, and he never sighed before, but, last night, he heaved one deep sigh. What can the meaning of it be?" So the Sea-king asked the Prince to tell him what ailed him, and also what had been the reason of his coming to that land. Then Prince Fire-fade told the Sea-king all the story of the lost fish-hook, and how his elder brother had behaved.
The Sea-king at once called together all the fishes of the sea, great and small, and asked: "Has any fish taken this fish-hook?" So all the fishes said: "The tai has been complaining of something sticking in his throat, and hurting him when he eats, so perhaps he has taken the hook."
[Footnote 9: A kind of fish.]
So they made the tai open his mouth, and looked in his throat, and there, sure enough, was the fish-hook. Then the hook was washed and given to Prince Fire-fade. The Sea-king also gave him two jewels. One was called the tide-flowing jewel, and the other was called the tide-ebbing jewel. And he said then to the Prince: "Go home now to your own land, and take back the fish-hook to your brother. In this way you shall plague him. If he plant rice-fields in the upland, make you your rice-fields in the valley; and if he make rice-fields in the valley, do you make your rice-fields in the upland. I will rule the water so that it may do good to you, but harm to him. If Prince Fire-flash should be angry with you for this, and try to kill you, then put out the tide-flowing jewel, and the tide will come up to drown him. But if he is sorry, and asks pardon, then put out the tide-ebbing jewel, and the tide will go back, and let him live."
Then the Sea-king called all the crocodiles, and said: "His Highness Prince Fire-fade is going to the upper world; which of you will take him there quickly, and bring me back word?" And one crocodile a fathom long, answered: "I will take him to the upper world, and come back in a day."
"Do so, then," said the Sea-king, "and be sure that you do not frighten him as you are crossing the middle of the sea." He then seated the Prince upon the crocodile's head, and saw him off.
The crocodile brought him safe home, in one day, as he had promised. When the crocodile was going to start back again, Prince Fire-fade untied the dirk from his own belt, and setting it on the creature's neck, sent him away.
Then Prince Fire-fade gave the fish-hook to his elder brother; and, in all things, did as the Sea-king had told him to do. So from that time, Prince Fire-flash became poor, and came with great fury to kill his brother. But, just in time, Prince Fire-fade put forth the tide-flowing jewel to drown him. When he found himself in such danger, Prince Fire-flash said he was sorry. So his brother put forth the tide-ebbing jewel to save him.
When he had been plagued in this way for a long time, he bowed his head, saying: "From this time forth, I submit to you, my younger brother. I will be your guard by day and by night, and in all things serve you." His struggles in the water, when he thought he was drowning, are shown at the Emperor's Court even to this very day.
A certain Rajah had two wives, of whom he preferred the second to the first; the first Ranee had a son, but because he was not the child of the second Ranee, his father took a great dislike to him, and treated him so harshly that the poor boy was very unhappy.
One day, therefore, he said to his mother: "Mother, my father does not care for me, and my presence is only a vexation to him. I should be happier anywhere than here; let me therefore go and seek my fortune in other lands."
So the Ranee asked her husband if he would allow their son to travel. He said, "The boy is free to go, but I don't see how he is to live in any other part of the world, for he is too stupid to earn his living, and I will give him no money to squander on senseless pleasures." Then the Ranee told her son that he had his father's permission to travel, and said to him, "You are going out into the world now to try your luck; take with you the food and clothes I have provided for your journey." And she gave him a bundle of clothes and several small loaves, and in each loaf she placed a gold mohur, that on opening it, he might find money as well as food inside; and he started on his journey.
When the young Rajah had travelled a long way, and left his father's kingdom far behind, he one day came upon the outskirts of a great city, where, instead of taking the position due to his rank, and sending to inform the Rajah of his arrival, he went to a poor Carpenter's house, and begged of him a lodging for the night. The Carpenter was busy making wooden clogs in the porch of his house, but he looked up and nodded, saying, "Young man, you are welcome to any assistance a stranger may need and we can give. If you are in want of food, you will find my wife and daughter in the house; they will be happy to cook for you." The Rajah went inside and said to the Carpenter's daughter, "I am a stranger and have travelled a long way; I am both tired and hungry; cook me some dinner as fast as you can, and I will pay you for your trouble." She answered, "I would willingly cook you some dinner at once, but I have no wood to light the fire, and the jungle is some way off." "It matters not," said the Rajah; "this will do to light the fire, and I'll make the loss good to your father"; and taking a pair of new clogs which the Carpenter had just finished making, he broke them up and lighted the fire with them.
Next morning, he went into the jungle, cut wood, and, having made a pair of new clogs—better than those with which he had lighted the fire the evening before—placed them with the rest of the goods for sale in the Carpenter's shop. Shortly afterward, one of the servants of the Rajah of that country came to buy a pair of clogs for his master, and seeing these new ones, said to the Carpenter, "Why, man, these clogs are better than all the rest put together. I will take none other to the Rajah. I wish you would always make such clogs as these." And throwing down ten gold mohurs on the floor of the hut, he took up the clogs and went away.
The Carpenter was much surprised at the whole business. In the first place, he usually received only two or three rupees for each pair of clogs; and in the second, he knew that these which the Rajah's servant had judged worth ten gold mohurs had not been made by him; and how they had come there he could not think, for he felt certain they were not with the rest of the clogs the night before. He thought and thought, but the more he thought about the matter the more puzzled he got, and he went to talk about it to his wife and daughter. Then his daughter said, "Oh, those must have been the clogs the stranger made!" And she told her father how he had lighted the fire the night before with two of the clogs which were for sale, and had afterward fetched wood from the jungle and made another pair to replace them.
The Carpenter, at this news, was more astonished than ever, and he thought to himself, "Since this stranger seems a quiet, peaceable sort of man, and can make clogs so well, it is a great pity he should leave this place; he would make a good husband for my daughter"; and, catching hold of the young Rajah, he propounded his scheme to him. (But all this time he had no idea that his guest was a Rajah.)
Now the Carpenter's daughter was a very pretty girl—as pretty as any Ranee you ever saw; she was also good-tempered, clever, and could cook extremely well. So when the Carpenter asked the Rajah to be his son-in-law, he looked at the father, the mother, and the girl, and thinking to himself that many a better man had a worse fate, he said, "Yes, I will marry your daughter, and stay here and make clogs." So the Rajah married the Carpenter's daughter.
This Rajah was very clever at making all sorts of things in wood. When he had made all the clogs he wished to sell next day, he would amuse himself in making toys; and in this way he made a thousand wooden parrots. They were as like real parrots as possible. They had each two wings, two legs, two eyes, and a sharp beak. And when the Rajah had finished them all, he painted and varnished them and put them, one afternoon, outside the house to dry.
Night came on, and with it came Parbuttee and Mahdeo, flying round the world to see the different races of men. Among the many places they visited was the city where the Carpenter lived; and in the garden in front of the house they saw the thousand wooden parrots which the Rajah had made and painted and varnished, all placed out to dry. Then Parbuttee turned to Mahdeo, and said, "These parrots are very well made—they need nothing but life. Why should not we give them life?" Mahdeo answered, "What would be the use of that? It would be a strange freak, indeed!" "Oh," said Parbuttee, "I only meant you to do it as an amusement. It would be so funny to see the wooden parrots flying about! But do not do it if you don't like." "You would like it, then?" answered Mahdeo. "Very well, I will do it." And he endowed the thousand parrots with life.
Parbuttee and Mahdeo then flew away.
Next morning the Rajah got up early to see if the varnish he had put on the wooden parrots was dry; but no sooner did he open the door than—marvel of marvels!—the thousand wooden parrots all came walking into the house, flapping their wings and chatting to each other.
Hearing the noise, the Carpenter and the Carpenter's wife and daughter came running out to see what was the matter, and were not less astonished than the Rajah himself at the miracle which had taken place. Then the Carpenter's wife turned to her son-in-law, and said, "It is all very well that you should have made these wooden parrots; but I don't know where we are to find food for them! Great, strong parrots like these will eat not less than a pound of rice apiece every day. Your father-in-law and I cannot afford to procure as much as that for them in this poor house. If you wish to keep them, you must live elsewhere, for we cannot provide for you all."
"Very well," said the Rajah; "you shall not have cause to accuse me of ruining you, for from henceforth I will have a house of my own." So he and his wife went to live in a house of their own, and he took the thousand parrots with him, and his mother-in-law gave her daughter some corn and rice and money to begin housekeeping with. Moreover, he found that the parrots, instead of being an expense, were the means of increasing his fortune; for they flew away every morning early to get food, and spent the whole day out in the fields; and every evening, when they returned home, each parrot brought in his beak a stalk of corn or rice, or whatever it had found good to eat. Their master therefore was regularly supplied with more food than enough; and what with selling what he did not require, and working at his trade, he soon became quite a rich carpenter.
After he had been living in this way very happily for some time, one night, when he fell asleep, the Rajah dreamed a wonderful dream, and this was the dream:
He thought that very, very far away beyond the Red Sea was a beautiful kingdom surrounded by seven other seas; and that it belonged to a Rajah and Ranee who had one lovely daughter, named Panch-Phul Ranee (the Five Flower Queen), after whom the whole kingdom was called Panch-Phul Ranee's country; and that this Princess lived in the centre of her father's kingdom, in a little house round which were seven wide ditches, and seven great hedges made of spears; and that she was called Panch-Phul Ranee because she was so light and delicate that she weighed no more than five white lotus flowers! Moreover, he dreamed that this Princess had vowed to marry no one who would not cross the seven seas, and jump the seven ditches and seven hedges made of spears.
After dreaming this the young Rajah awoke, and feeling much puzzled, got up, and sitting with his head in his hands, tried to think the matter over and discover if he had ever heard anything like his dream before; but he could make nothing of it.
While he was thus thinking, his wife awoke and asked him what was the matter. He told her, and she said, "That is a strange dream. If I were you, I'd ask the old parrot about it; he is a wise bird, and perhaps he knows." This parrot of which she spoke was the most wise of all the thousand wooden parrots. The Rajah took his wife's advice, and when all the birds came home that evening, he called the old parrot and told him his dream, saying, "Can this be true?" To which the parrot replied, "It is all true. The Panch-Phul Ranee's country lies beyond the Red Sea, and is surrounded by seven seas, and she dwells in a house built in the centre of her father's kingdom. Round her house are seven ditches, and seven hedges made of spears, and she has vowed not to marry any man who cannot jump these seven ditches and seven hedges; and because she is very beautiful many great and noble men have tried to do this, but in vain.
"The Rajah and Ranee, her father and mother, are very fond of her and proud of her. Every day she goes to the palace to see them, and they weigh her in a pair of scales. They put her in one scale and five lotus flowers in the other, and she's so delicate and fragile she weighs no heavier than the five little flowers, so they call her the Panch-Phul Ranee. Her father and mother are very proud of this."
"I should like to go to that country and see the Panch-Phul Ranee," said the Rajah; "but I don't know how I could cross the seven seas." "I will show you how to manage that," replied the old parrot. "I and another parrot will fly close together, I crossing my left over his right wing; so that we will move along as if we were one bird (using only our outside wings to fly with), and on the chair made of our interlaced wings you shall sit, and we will carry you safely across the seven seas. On the way we will every evening alight in some high tree and rest, and every morning we can go on again." "That sounds a good plan; I have a great desire to try it," said the Rajah. "Wife, what should you think of my going to the Panch-Phul Ranee's country, and seeing if I can jump the seven ditches, and seven hedges made of spears. Will you let me try?"
"Yes," she answered. "If you like to go and marry her, go; only take care that you do not kill yourself; and mind you come back some day." And she prepared food for him to take with him, and took off her gold and silver bangles, which she placed in a bundle of warm things, that he might be in need neither of money nor clothes on the journey. He then charged the nine hundred and ninety-eight parrots he left behind him to bring her plenty of corn and rice daily (that she might never need food while he was away), and took her to the house of her father, in whose care she was to remain during his absence; and he wished her good-bye, saying, "Do not fear but that I will come back to you, even if I do win the Panch-Phul Ranee, for you will always be my first wife, though you are the Carpenter's daughter."
The old parrot and another parrot then spread their wings, on which the Rajah seated himself as on a chair, and rising up in the air, they flew away with him out of sight.
Far, far, far they flew, as fast as parrots can fly, over hills, over forests, over rivers, over valleys, on, on, on, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, only staying to rest every night when it got too dark to see where they were going. At last they reached the seven seas which surrounded the Panch-Phul Ranee's country. When once they began crossing the seas they could not rest (for there was neither rock nor island on which to alight), so they were obliged to fly straight across them, night and day, until they gained the shore.
By reason of this the parrots were too exhausted on their arrival to go as far as the city where the Rajah, Panch-Phul Ranee's father, lived, but they flew down to rest on a beautiful banyan tree, which grew not far from the sea, close to a small village. The Rajah determined to go into the village and get food and shelter there. He told the parrots to stay in the banyan tree till his return; then, leaving his bundle of clothes and most of his money in their charge, he set off on foot toward the nearest house.
After a little while he reached a Malee's cottage, and giving a gold mohur to the Malee's wife, got her to provide him with food and shelter for the night.
Next morning he rose early, and said to his hostess, "I am a stranger here, and know nothing of the place. What is the name of your country?" "This," she said, "is Panch-Phul Ranee's country."
"And what is the last news in your town?" he asked, "Very bad news indeed," she replied. "You must know our Rajah has one only daughter—a most beautiful Princess—and her name is Panch-Phul Ranee, for she is so light and delicate that she weighs no heavier than five lotus flowers. After her this whole country is called Panch-Phul Ranee's country. She lives in a small bungalow in the centre of the city you see yonder; but, unluckily for us, she has vowed to marry no man who cannot jump on foot over the seven hedges made of spears, and across the seven great ditches that surround her house. This cannot be done, Babamah! I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of Rajahs have tried to do it and died in the attempt! Yet the Princess will not break her vow. Daily, worse and worse tidings come from the city of fresh people having been killed in trying to jump the seven hedges and seven ditches, and I see no end to the misfortunes that will arise from it. Not only are so many brave men lost to the world, but, since the Princess will marry no one who does not succeed in this, she stands a chance of not marrying at all; and if that be so, when the Rajah dies there will be no one to protect her and claim the right to succeed to the throne. All the nobles will probably fight for the Raj, and the whole kingdom be turned topsy-turvy."
"Mahi," said the Rajah, "if that is all there is to do, I will try and win your Princess, for I can jump right well."
"Baba," answered the Malee's wife, "do not think of such a thing; are you mad? I tell you, hundreds of thousands of men have said these words before, and been killed for their rashness. What power do you think you possess, to succeed where all before you have failed? Give up all thought of this, for it is utter folly."
"I will not do it," answered the Rajah, "before going to consult some of my friends."
So he left the Malee's cottage, and returned to the banyan tree to talk over the matter with the parrots; for he thought they would be able to carry him on their wings across the seven ditches and seven hedges made of spears. When he reached the old tree the parrot said to him, "It is two days since you left us; what news have you brought from the village?" The Rajah answered, "The Panch-Phul Ranee still lives in the house surrounded by the seven ditches, and seven hedges made of spears, and has vowed to marry no man who cannot jump over them; but cannot you parrots, who brought me all the way over the seven seas, carry me on your wings across these great barriers?"
"You stupid man!" answered the old parrot, "of course we could; but what would be the good of doing so? If we carried you across, it would not be at all the same thing as your jumping across, and the Princess would no more consent to marry you than she would now; for she has vowed to marry no one who has not jumped across on foot. If you want to do the thing, why not do it yourself, instead of talking nonsense. Have you forgotten how, when you were a little boy, you were taught to jump by conjurors and tumblers (for the parrot knew all the Rajah's history)? Now is the time to put their lessons in practice. If you can jump the seven ditches, and seven hedges made of spears, you will have done a good work, and be able to marry the Panch-Phul Ranee; but if not, this is a thing in which we cannot help you."
"You reason justly," replied the Rajah. "I will try to put in practice the lessons I learnt when a boy; meantime, do you stay here till my return."
So saying, he went away to the city, which he reached by nightfall. Next morning early he went to where the Princess's bungalow stood, to try to jump the fourteen great barriers. He was strong and agile, and he jumped the seven great ditches, and six of the seven hedges made of spears; but in running to jump the seventh hedge he hurt his foot, and, stumbling, fell upon the spears and died—run through and through with the cruel iron spikes.
When Panch-Phul Ranee's father and mother got up that morning and looked out, as their custom was, toward their daughter's bungalow, they saw something transfixed upon the seventh hedge of spears, but what it was they could not make out, for it dazzled their eyes. So the Rajah called his Wuzeer and said to him, "For some days I have seen no one attempt to jump the seven hedges and seven ditches round Panch-Phul Ranee's bungalow; but what is that which I now see upon the seventh hedge of spears?" The Wuzeer answered, "That is a Rajah's son, who has failed, like all who have gone before him." "But how is it," asked the Rajah, "that he thus dazzles our eyes?"
"It is," replied the Wuzeer, "because he is so beautiful. Of all that have died for the sake of Panch-Phul Ranee, this youth is, beyond doubt, the handsomest." "Alas!" cried the Rajah, "how many and how many brave men has my daughter killed? I will have no more die for her. Let us send her and the dead man together away into the jungle."
Then he ordered the servants to fetch the young Rajah's body. There he lay, still and beautiful, with a glory shining round him as the moonlight shines round the clear bright moon, but without a spark of life.
When the Rajah saw him, he said, "Oh, pity, pity, that so brave and handsome a boy should have come dying after this girl! Yet he is but one of the thousands of thousands who have died thus to no purpose. Pull up the spears and cast them into the seven ditches, for they shall remain no longer."
Then he commanded two palanquins to be prepared and men in readiness to carry them, and said, "Let the girl be married to the young Rajah, and let both be taken far away into the jungle, that we may never see them more. Then there will be quiet in the land again."
The Ranee, Panch-Phul Ranee's mother, cried bitterly at this, for she was very fond of her daughter, and she begged her husband not to send her away so cruelly—the living with the dead; but the Rajah was inexorable. "That poor boy died," he said; "let my daughter die, too! I'll have no more men killed here."
So the two palanquins were prepared. Then he placed his daughter in the one, and her dead husband in the other, and said to the palkee-bearers, "Take these palkees and go out into the jungle until you have reached a place so desolate that not so much as a sparrow is to be seen, and there leave them both."
And so they did. Deep down in the jungle, where no bright sun could pierce the darkness, nor human voice be heard, far from any habitation of man or means of supporting life, on the edge of a dank, stagnant morass that was shunned by all but noisome reptiles and wandering beasts of prey, they set them down and left them, the dead husband and the living wife, alone to meet the horrors of the coming night—alone, without a chance of rescue.
Panch-Phul Ranee heard the bearers' retreating footsteps, and their voices getting fainter and fainter in the distance, and felt that she had nothing to hope for but death.
Night seemed coming on apace, for though the sun had not set, the jungle was dark so that but little light pierced the gloom; and she thought she would take a last look at the husband her vow had killed, and, sitting beside him, wait till starvation should make her as he was, or some wild animal put a more speedy end to her sufferings.
She left her palkee and went toward his. There he lay with closed eyes and close-shut lips; black curling hair, which escaped from under his turban, concealed a ghastly wound on his temple. There was no look of pain on the face, and the long, sweeping eyelashes gave it such a tender, softened expression she could hardly believe that he was dead. He was, in truth, very beautiful; and, watching him, she said to herself, "Alas, what a noble being is here lost to the world! what an earth's joy is extinguished! Was it for this I was cold, and proud, and stern—to break the cup of my own happiness and to be the death of such as you? Must you now never know that you won your wife? Must you never hear her ask your pardon for the past, nor know her cruel punishment? Ah, if you had but lived, how dearly I would have loved you! Oh, my husband! my husband!" And sinking down on the ground, she buried her face in her hands and cried bitterly.
While she was sitting thus, night closed over the jungle, and brought with it wild beasts that had left their dens and lairs in search of prey—to roam about, as the heat of the day was over. Tigers, lions, elephants, and bison, all came by turns, crushing through the underwood which surrounded the place where the palkees were, but they did no harm to Panch-Phul Ranee, for she was so fair that not even the cruel beasts of the forests would injure her. At last, about four o'clock in the morning, all the wild animals had gone except two little jackals, who had been very busy watching the rest and picking the bones left by the tigers. Tired with running about, they lay down to rest close to the palkees. Then one little jackal said to the other, who was her husband, "Do tell me a little story." "Dear me!" exclaimed he, "what people you women are for stories! Well, look just in front of you; do you see those two?" "Yes," she answered; "what of them?" "That woman you see sitting on the ground," he said, "is the Panch-Phul Ranee." "And what son of a Rajah is the man in the palkee?" asked she. "That," he replied, "is a very sorrowful son. His father was so unkind to him that he left his own home, and went to live in another country very far from this; and there he dreamed about the Panch-Phul Ranee, and came to our land in order to marry her, but he was killed in jumping the seventh hedge of spears, and all he gained was to die for her sake."
"That is very sad," said the first little jackal; "but could he never by any chance come to life again?" "Yes," answered the other; "maybe he could, if only someone knew how to apply the proper remedies." "What are the proper remedies, and how could he be cured?" asked the lady jackal. (Now, all this conversation had been heard by Panch-Phul Ranee, and when this question was asked she listened very eagerly and attentively for the answer.)
"Do you see this tree?" replied her husband. "Well, if some of its leaves were crushed, and a little of the juice put into the Rajah's two ears and upon his upper lip, and some upon his temples, also, and some upon the spear-wounds in his side, he would come to life again and be as well as ever."
At this moment day dawned, and the two little jackals ran away. Panch-Phul Ranee did not forget their words. She, a Princess born, who had never put her foot to the ground before (so delicately and tenderly had she been reared), walked over the rough clods of earth and the sharp stones till she reached the place where the tree grew of which the jackals had spoken. She gathered a number of its leaves, and, with hands and feet that had never before done coarse or common work, beat and crushed them down. They were so stiff, and strong that it took her a long time. At last, after tearing them, and stamping on them, and pounding them between two stones, and biting the hardest parts, she thought they were sufficiently crushed; and rolling them up in a corner of her saree, she squeezed the juice through it on to her husband's temples, and put a little on his upper lip and into his ears, and some also on the spear-wound in his side. And when she had done this, he awoke as if he had been only sleeping, and sat up, wondering where he was. Before him stood Panch-Phul Ranee shining like a glorious star, and all around them was the dark jungle.
It would be hard to say which of them was the more astonished—the Rajah or the Princess. She was surprised that the remedy should have taken such speedy effect, and could hardly believe her eyes when she saw her husband get up. And if he looked beautiful when dead, much more handsome did he seem to her now, so full of life and animation and power—the picture of health and strength. And he, in his turn, was lost in amazement at the exquisite loveliness of the lady who stood before him. He did not know who she could be, for he had never seen her like, except in a dream. Could she be really the world-renowned Panch-Phul Ranee, or was he dreaming still? He feared to move lest he should break the spell. But as he sat there wondering, she spoke, saying, "You marvel at what has taken place. You do not know me—I am Panch-Phul Ranee, your wife."
Then he said, "Ah, Princess, is it indeed you? You have been very hard to me." "I know, I know," she answered; "I caused your death, but I brought you to life again. Let the past be forgotten; come home with me, and my father and mother will welcome you as a son."
He replied, "No, I must return first to my own home a while. Do you rather return there now with me, for it is a long time since I left it, and afterward we will come again to your father's kingdom."
To this Panch-Phul Ranee agreed. It took them, however, a long time to find their way out of the jungle. At last they succeeded in doing so, for none of the wild animals in it attempted to injure them, so beautiful and royal did they both look.
When they reached the banyan tree, where the Rajah had left the two parrots, the old parrot called out to him, "So you have come back at last! We thought you never would, you were such a long time away! There you went, leaving us here all the time, and after all doing no good, but only getting yourself killed. Why didn't you do as we advised you, and jump up nicely?"
"Well, I'm sure," said the Rajah, "yours is a hard case; but I beg your pardon for keeping you waiting so long, and now I hope you'll take me and my wife home."
"Yes, we will do that," answered the parrots; "but you had better get some dinner first, for it's a long journey over the seven seas."
So the Rajah went to the village close by and bought food for himself and the Panch-Phul Ranee. When he returned with it, he said to her, "I fear the long journey before us for you; had you not better let me make it alone, and return here for you when it is over?" But she answered, "No! what could I, a poor weak woman, do here alone? and I will not return to my father's house till you can come, too. Take me with you, however far you go; only promise me you will never leave me." So he promised her, and they both, mounting the parrots, were carried up in the air across the seven seas, across the Red Sea, on, on, on, a whole year's journey, until they reached his father's kingdom, and alighted to rest at the foot of the palace garden. The Rajah, however, did not know where he was, for all had much changed since he left it some years before.