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Fairy Tales From the Arabian

Fairy Tales From the Arabian


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Published by: zendila on Dec 30, 2009
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know the care I have taken, with your approbation, to conceal from him my happiness at home with you. How
he has been informed of it I cannot tell.'

Here the fairy Pari Banou interrupted Prince Ahmed, and said, 'But I know. Remember what I told you of the
woman who made you believe she was ill, on whom you took so much compassion. It is she who has
acquainted the sultan your father with what you took so much care to hide from him. I told you that she was
no more sick than you or I, for, after the two women whom I charged to take care of her had given her the
water sovereign against all fevers, which, however, she had no occasion for, she pretended that the water had
cured her, and was brought to take leave of me, that she might go sooner to give an account of the success of
her undertaking. She was in so much haste that she would have gone away without seeing my palace, if I had
not, by bidding my two women show it her, given her to understand that it was worth her seeing. But go on
and tell me what is the necessity your father has imposed on you which has made you feel troublesome to me,
which I desire you will be persuaded you can never be.'

'Madam,' pursued Prince Ahmed, 'you may have observed that hitherto I have never asked you any favour, for
what, after the possession of so kind a wife, can I desire more? I know how great your power is, but I have
taken care not to make trial of it. Consider then, I beg you, that it is not me, but the sultan my father, who,
indiscreetly, as I think, asks of you a pavilion large enough to shelter him, his court, and his army, from the
violence of the weather, when he takes the field, and yet small enough for a man to carry in his hand. Once
more remember it is not I, but the sultan my father who asks this favour.'

'Prince,' replied the fairy, smiling, 'I am sorry that so small a matter should disturb you, and make you so
uneasy. I see plainly two things have contributed towards it: one is, the law you have imposed upon yourself,
to be content with loving me and being beloved by me, and to deny yourself the liberty of asking me the least
favour that might try my power. The other, I do not doubt, whatever you may say, was that you thought what
your father asked of me was out of my power. As to the first, I commend you for it, and shall love you the
better, if possible; and for the second, I must tell you that what the sultan your father asks of me is a trifle; and
upon occasion, I can do much more difficult things. Therefore be easy, and persuaded that, far from feeling
worried, I shall always take great pleasure in whatever you can desire me to do for your sake.' Then the fairy
sent for her treasurer, to whom she said 'Nourgihan' (which was her name), 'bring me the largest pavilion in
my treasury.' Nourgihan returned presently with a pavilion, which could not only be held but concealed in the
palm of the hand when it was closed, and presented it to her mistress, who gave it to Prince Ahmed to look at.

When Prince Ahmed saw the pavilion, which the fairy called the largest in her treasury, he fancied she was
joking, and his surprise appeared in his face. Pari Banou burst out laughing. 'What! Prince,' cried she, 'do you
think I jest with you? You will see presently that I am in earnest. Nourgihan' said she to her treasurer, taking
the tent out of Prince Ahmed's hands, 'go and set it up, that the prince may judge whether the sultan his father
will think it large enough.'

The treasurer immediately went out from the palace, and carried it to such a distance that when she had set it
up one end reached to the palace. The prince, so far from thinking it small, found it large enough to shelter
two armies as numerous as that of the sultan his father; and then said to Pari Banou, 'I ask my princess a
thousand pardons for my incredulity: after what I have seen, I believe there is nothing impossible to you.'

'You see,' said the fairy, 'that the pavilion is larger than your father may have occasion for; but you are to
observe that it becomes larger or smaller, according to the army it is to cover, without being touched.'

The treasurer took down the tent again, reduced it to its first size, and brought it and put it into the prince's
hands. He took it, and next day mounted his horse and went with the usual attendants to the sultan his father.

The sultan, who was persuaded that such a tent as he asked for was beyond all possibility, was in great
surprise at the prince's diligence. He took the tent and admired its smallness. But when he had set it up in the

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