Here was a people whom, after their works, thou shalt see wept over for their lost dominion;
"As soon as I had finished, 'I confess,' said he, 'that the things you tell me are very extraordinary, yet you must for my sake undertake this voyage which I propose to you. You will only have to go to the isle of Serendib, and deliver the commission which I give you, for you know it would not comport with my dignity to be indebted to the king of that island.' Perceiving that the caliph insisted upon my compliance, I submitted, and told him that I was willing to obey. He was very well pleased, and ordered me one thousand sequins for the expenses of my journey.
The dervish repeated to the princess what he had said to the Princes Bahman and Perviz, exaggerating the difficulties of climbing up to the top of the mountain, where she was to make herself mistress of the Bird, which would inform her of the Singing Tree and Golden Water. He magnified the din of the terrible threatening voices which she would hear on all sides of her, and the great number of black stones alone sufficient to strike terror. He entreated her to reflect that those stones were so many brave gentlemen, so metamorphosed for having omitted to observe the principal condition of success in the perilous undertaking, which was not to look behind them before they had got possession of the cage.
In the meantime the thief rejoined his troop in the forest, and recounted to them his success. All the robbers listened to him with the utmost satisfaction; when the captain, after commending his diligence, addressing himself to them all, said: "Comrades, we have no time to lose: let us set off well armed; but that we may not excite any suspicion, let only one or two go into the town together, and join at our rendezvous, which shall be the great square. In the meantime, our comrade who brought us the good news, and I, will go and find out the house, that we may consult what had best be done."
"I know all, my son," said the sultan again, after having long held him in his arms. "I know what return your brothers have made you for delivering them out of the hands of the black; but you shall be revenged to-morrow. Let us now go to the palace where your mother, who has shed so many tears on your account, expects to rejoice with us on the defeat of our enemies. What a joy will it be to her to be informed that my victory is your work!" "Sir," said Codadad, "give me leave to ask how you could know the adventure of the castle? Have any of my brothers, repenting, owned it to you?" "No," answered the sultan; "the princess of Deryabar has given us an account of everything, for she is in my palace, and came thither to demand justice against your brothers." Codadad was transported with joy, to learn that the princess his wife was at the court. "Let us go, sir," cried he to his father in rapture, "let us go to my mother, who waits for us. I am impatient to dry her tears, as well as those of the princess of Deryabar."
When I heard this, I was filled with wonder, and said within myself: "I am King Agib, the son of King Khasib, and it was I who threw down the horseman; but, by Allah, I will neither kill him nor do him any injury." Then said I to the youth: "Far from thee be both destruction and harm, if it be the will of God: thou hast nothing to fear: I will remain with thee to serve thee, and will go forth with thee to thy father, and beg of him to send me back to my country, for the which he will obtain a reward." The youth rejoiced at my words, and I sat and conversed with him until night, when I spread his bed for him, and covered him, and slept near to his side. And in the morning I brought him water, and he washed his face, and said to me: "May God requite thee for me with every blessing. If I escape from King Agib, I will make my father reward thee with abundant favours." "Never," I replied, "may the day arrive that would bring thee misfortune!" I then placed before him some refreshments, and after we had eaten together, we passed the day conversing with the utmost cheerfulness.
She then alighted, stopped her ears with cotton, and after she had well examined the path leading to the summit began with a moderate pace and walked up with intrepidity. She heard the voices and perceived the great service the cotton was to her. The higher she went, the louder and more numerous the voices seemed, but they were not capable of making any impression upon her. She heard a great many affronting speeches and raillery very disagreeable to a woman, which she only laughed at. "I mind not," said she to herself, "all that can be said, were it worse; I only laugh at them and shall pursue my way." At last, she climbed so high that she could perceive the cage and the Bird which endeavoured, in company with the voices, to frighten her, crying in a thundering tone, notwithstanding the smallness of its size: "Retire, fool, and approach no nearer."
"Having thought of a project for this purpose, I communicated it to my comrades, who approved it. 'Brethren,' said I, 'you know there is much timber floating upon the coast; if you will be advised by me, let us make several rafts capable of bearing us. In the meantime, we will carry out the design I proposed to you for our deliverance from the giant, and if it succeed, we may remain here patiently awaiting the arrival of some ship; but if it happen to miscarry, we will take to our rafts and put to sea.' My advice was approved, and we made rafts capable of carrying three persons on each.
"You long without doubt to know," said he, "how, after having been shipwrecked five times, and escaped so many dangers, I could resolve again to tempt fortune, and expose myself to new hardships. I am, myself, astonished at my conduct when I reflect upon it, and must certainly have been actuated by my destiny. But be that as it may, after a year's rest I prepared for a sixth voyage, notwithstanding the entreaties of my kindred, who did all in their power to dissuade me.
"The captain, having considered me attentively, recognised me. 'God be praised,' said he, embracing me, 'I rejoice that fortune has rectified my fault. There are your goods, which I always took care to preserve.' I took them from him, and made him the acknowledgments to which he was entitled.