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The Children's Book by  Horace E. Scudder
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THE STORY OF THE ENCHANTED HORSE

[222] THE Nooroze, or the new day, which is the first of the year and spring, is observed as a solemn festival throughout all Persia.

On one of these festival days, just as the Sultan of Shiraz was concluding his public audience, which had been conducted with unusual splendor, a Hindu appeared at the foot of the throne, with an artificial horse richly caparisoned, and so spiritedly modeled, that at first sight he was taken for a living animal.

The Hindu prostrated himself before the throne, and pointing to the horse, said to the sultan, "This horse is a great wonder; whenever I mount him, be it where it may, if I wish to transport myself through the air to the most distant part of the world, I can do it in a very short time. This is a wonder which nobody ever heard speak of, and which I offer to show your majesty if you command me."

The Emperor of Persia, who was fond of everything that was curious, and who, notwithstanding the many prodigies of art he had seen, had never beheld or heard of anything that came up to this, told the Hindu that he was ready to see him perform what he had promised.

The Hindu instantly put his foot into the stirrup, mounted his horse with admirable agility, and when he had fixed himself in the saddle, asked the emperor whither he pleased to command him.

"Do you see that mountain?" said the emperor, pointing to it; "ride your horse there, and bring me a branch of a palm-tree that grows at the bottom of the hill."

The Emperor of Persia had no sooner declared his will than the Hindu turned a peg, which was in the hollow of the horse's neck, just by the pommel of the saddle; and in an instant the horse rose off the ground and carried his rider into the air with the rapidity of lightning to a great height, to the admiration of the emperor and all the spectators. Within less than a quarter of an hour they saw him returning with the palm branch in his hand; but before he descended, he took two or three turns in the air over the spot, amid the acclamations of all the people, then alighted on the spot whence he had set off. He dismounted, and going up to the throne, prostrated himself, and laid the branch of the palm-tree at the feet of the emperor.

The emperor, who had viewed with no less admiration than astonishment this unheard-of sight which the Hindu had exhibited, conceived a great desire to have the horse, and said to the Hindu," I will purchase him of you, if he is to be sold."

"Sire," replied the Hindu, "there is only one condition on which I can part with my horse, and that is the gift of the hand of the princess your daughter as my wife; this is the only bargain I can make."

The courtiers about the Emperor of Persia could not forbear laughing aloud at this extravagant proposal of the Hindu; but the Prince Ferozeshah, the eldest son of the emperor and presumptive-heir to the crown, could not hear it without indignation. "Sire," he said, "I hope you will not hesitate to refuse so insolent a demand, or allow this insignificant juggler to flatter himself for a moment with the idea of being allied to one of the most powerful monarchs in the world. I beg of you to consider what you owe to yourself, to your own blood, and the high rank of your ancestors."

"Son," replied the Emperor of Persia, "I will not grant him what he asked—and perhaps he does not seriously make the proposal; and putting my daughter the princess out of the question, I may make another agreement with him. But before I bargain with him, I should be glad that you would examine the horse, try him yourself, and give me your opinion." On hearing this, the Hindu expressed much joy, and ran before the prince, to help him to mount, and showed him how to guide and manage the horse.

[223] The prince mounted without the Hindu's assisting him: and, as soon as he had got his feet in the stirrups, without staying for the artist's advice, he turned the peg he had seen him use, when instantly the horse darted into the air, quick as an arrow shot out of a bow by the most adroit archer; and in a few moments neither horse nor prince were to be seen. The Hindu, alarmed at what had happened, prostrated himself before the throne, and deprecated the anger of the sultan. The sultan replied to him, and asked, in a passion, why he did not call him the moment he ascended.

"Sire," answered the Hindu, "your majesty saw as well as I with what rapidity the horse flew away. The surprise I was then and still am in deprived me of the use of my speech; but if I could have spoken, he was got too far to hear me. If he had heard me, he knew not the secret to bring him back, which through his impatience he would not stay to learn. But, sire," added he, "there is room to hope that the prince, when he finds himself at a loss, will perceive another peg, and as soon as he turns that the horse will cease to rise, and descend to the ground, when he may turn him to what place he pleases by guiding him with the bridle."

Notwithstanding all these arguments of the Hindu, which carried great appearance of probability, the Emperor of Persia was much alarmed at the evident danger of his son. "I suppose," replied he, "it is very uncertain whether my son may perceive the other peg, and make a right use of it. May not the horse, instead of lighting on the ground, fall upon some rock, or tumble into the sea with him?"

"Sire," replied the Hindu, "I can deliver you from this apprehension, by assuring you that the horse crosses seas without ever falling into them, and always carries his rider wherever he may wish to go. And your majesty may assure yourself that if the prince does but find out the other peg I mentioned, the horse will carry him where he pleases. It is not to be supposed that he will stop anywhere but where he can find assistance, and make himself known."

"Your head shall answer for my son's life, if he does not return safe in three days' time, or I should hear that he is alive." He then ordered his officers to secure the Hindu, and keep him close prisoner; after which he retired to his palace, in affliction that the festival of Nooroze should have proved so inauspicious.

In the mean time the prince was carried through the air with prodigious velocity. In less than an hour's time he ascended so high that he could not distinguish anything on the earth, but mountains and plains seemed confounded together. It was then he began to think of returning, .and conceived he might do this by turning the same peg the contrary way, and pulling the bridle at the same time But when he found that the horse still continued to ascend, his alarm was great. He turned the peg several times in different ways, but all in vain. It was then he saw his fault, and apprehended the great danger he was in, from not having learnt the necessary precautions to guide the horse before he mounted. He examined the horse's head and neck with attention, and perceived behind the right ear another peg, smaller than the other. He turned that peg, and presently perceived that he descended in the same oblique manner as he had mounted, but not so swiftly.

Night had overshadowed that part of the earth over which the prince was when he found out and turned the small peg; and as the horse descended, he by degrees lost sight of the sun, till it grew quite dark; insomuch that, instead of choosing what place he would go to, he was forced to let the bridle lie upon the horse's neck, and wait patiently till he alighted, though not without the dread lest it should be in the desert, a river, or the sea.

At last the horse stopped upon some solid substance about midnight, and the prince dismounted very faint and hungry, having eaten nothing since the morning, when he came out of the palace with his father to assist at the festival. He found himself to be on the terrace of a magnificent palace, surrounded with a balustrade of white marble, breast-high; and groping about reached a stair- [224] case, which led down into an apartment, the door of which was half open.

The prince stopped at the door, and, listening, heard no other noise than the breathing of some people who were fast asleep. He advanced a little into the room, and by the light of a lamp saw that those persons were black mutes, with naked sabres laid by them; which was enough to inform him that this was the guard-chamber of some sultan or princess. Prince Feroze-shah advanced on tiptoe, without waking the attendants. He drew aside the curtain, went in, and saw a magnificent chamber containing many beds, one alone being on a raised dais, and the others on the floor. The princess slept in the first and her women in the others. He crept softly towards the dais without waking either the princess or her women, and beheld a beauty so extraordinary that he was charmed at the first sight. He fell on his knees, and twitching gently the princess's sleeve, kneeling beside her, palled it towards him. The princess opened her eyes, and seeing a handsome young man, was in great surprise, yet showed no sign of fear.

The prince availed himself of this favorable moment, bowed his head to the ground, and rising, said, "Beautiful princess, by the most extraordinary and wonderful adventure, you see at your feet a suppliant prince, son of the Emperor of Persia; pray afford him your assistance and protection."

The personage to whom Prince Feroze-shah so happily addressed himself was the Princess of Bengal, eldest daughter of the rajah of that kingdom, who had built this palace at a small distance from his capital, for the sake of the country air. She thus replied: "Prince, you are not in a barbarous country—take courage; hospitality, humanity, and politeness are to be met with in the kingdom of Bengal, as well as in that of Persia. I grant you the protection you ask—you may depend on what I say."

The Prince of Persia would have thanked the princess, but she would not give him leave to speak. "Notwithstanding, I desire," said she, "to know by what miracle you have come hither from the capital of Persia in so short a time, and by what enchantment you have evaded the vigilance of ray guards; yet as you must want some refreshment, I will postpone my curiosity, and give orders to my attendants to show you an apartment, that you may rest yourself after your fatigue, and be better able to answer my inquiries." The princess's attendants were much surprised to see the prince in the princess's chamber, but they at once prepared to obey her commands. They each took a wax candle, of which there were great numbers lighted up in the room; and after the prince had respectfully taken leave of the princess, went before and conducted him into a handsome hall; where, while some were preparing the bed, others went into the kitchen and prepared a supper; and when he had eaten as much as he chose, they removed the trays, and left him to taste the sweets of repose.

The next day the princess prepared to give the prince another interview, and in expectation of seeing him, she took more pains in dressing and adjusting herself at the glass than she had ever done before. She tired her women's patience, and made them do and undo the same thing several times. She adorned her head, neck, arms, and waist with the finest and largest diamonds she possessed. The habit she put on was one of the richest stuffs of the Indies, of a most beautiful color, and made only for kings, princes, and princesses. After she had consulted her glass, and asked her women, one after another, if anything was wanting to complete her attire, she sent to tell the Prince of Persia that she would make him a visit.

The Prince of Persia, who by the night's rest had recovered the fatigue he had undergone the day before, had just dressed himself when he received notice of the intention of the princess, and expressed himself to be fully sensible of the honor conferred on him. As soon as the princess understood that the Prince of Persia waited for her, she immediately went to pay him a visit. After mutual compliments, the prince related to her the [225] wonders of the magic horse, of his journey through the air, and of the means by which he had found the entrance into her chamber: and then having thanked her for her kind reception, expressed a wish to return and relieve the anxiety of the sultan his father. When the prince had finished, the princess replied, "I cannot approve, prince, of your going so soon; grant me at least the favor I ask of a little longer acquaintance; and since I ask of a little longer acquaintance; and since I have had the happiness to have you alight in the kingdom of Bengal, I desire you will stay long enough to enable you to give a batter account of what you may see here at the court of Persia." The Prince of Persia could not well refuse the princess this favor, after the kindness she had shown him and therefore politely complied with her request; and the princess's thoughts were directed to render his stay agreeable by all the amusements she could devise.

Nothing went forward for several days but concerts of music, accompanied with magnificent feasts and collations in the gardens, or hunting parties in the vicinity of the palace, which abounded with all sorts of game, -- stags, hinds, and fallow-deer, and other beasts peculiar to the kingdom of Bengal, which the princess could pursue without danger. After the chase, the prince and princess met in some beautiful spot, where a carpet was spread, and cushions laid for their accommodation. There resting themselves, they conversed on various subjects.

Two whole months the Prince of Persia abandoned himself entirely to the will of the Princess of Bengal, yielding to all the amusements she contrived for him, for she neglected nothing to divert him, as if she thought he had nothing else to do but to pass his whole life with here in this manner. But he now declared seriously he could not stay longer, and begged of her to give him leave to return to his father.

"And, princess," observed the Prince of Persia, "that you may not doubt the truth of my affection, I would presume, were I not afraid you would be offended at my request, to ask the favor of taking you along with me."

The princess returned no answer to this address of the Prince of Persia; but her silence, and eyes cast down, were sufficient to inform him that she had no reluctance to accompany him into Persia. The only difficulty she felt was, that the prince knew not well enough how to govern the horse, and she was apprehensive of being involved with him in the same difficulty as when he first made the experiment. But the prince soon removed her fear, by assuring her she might trust herself with him, for that after the experience he had acquired he defied the Hindu himself to manage him better. She thought, therefore, only of concerting measures to get off with him so secretly that nobody belonging to the palace should have the least suspicion of their design.

The next morning, a little before daybreak, when all the attendants were asleep, they went upon the terrace of the palace. The prince turned the horse towards Persia, and placed him where the princess could easily get up behind him, which she had no sooner done, and was well settled with her arms about his waist, for her better security, than he turned the peg, when the horse mounted into the air, and making his usual haste, under the guidance of the prince, in two hours' time the prince discovered the capital of Persia. The prince would not alight in the palace of his father, but directed his course towards a kiosk at a little distance from the capital. He led the princess into a handsome apartment, where he told her, that, to do her all the honor that was due to her, he would go and inform his father of their arrival, and return to her immediately. He ordered the attendants of the palace, whom he summoned, to provide the princess with whatever she had occasion for.

After the prince had taken his leave of the princess, he ordered a horse to be brought, which he mounted, and set out for the palace. As he passed through the streets he was received with acclamations by the people, who were overjoyed to see him again. The emperor his father was holding his divan when he appeared before him in the midst of his council. He received him with tears [226] of joy and tenderness, and asked him what was become of the Hindu's horse.

This question gave the prince an opportunity of describing the embarrassment and danger he was in when the horse ascended into the air, and how he had arrived at last at the Princess of Bengal's palace, the kind reception he had met with there, and that the motive which had induced him to stay so long with her was the mutual affection they entertained for each other; also, that after promising to marry her, he had persuaded her to accompany him into Persia. "But, sire," added the prince, "I felt assured that you would not refuse your consent, and have brought her with me on the enchanted horse to your summer-palace; and have left her there, till I could return and assure her that my promise was not in vain."

After these words, the prince prostrated himself before the emperor to obtain his consent, when his father raised him up, embraced him a second time, and said to him, "Son, I not only consent to your marriage with the Princess of Bengal, but will go myself and bring her to my palace, and celebrate your nuptials this day."

The emperor now ordered that the Hindu should be fetched out of prison and brought before him. When the Hindu was admitted to his presence, he said to him, "I secured thy person, that thy life might answer for that of the prince my son. Thanks be to God, he is returned again: go, take your horse, and never let me see your face more."

As the Hindu had learned of those who brought him out of prison that Prince Feroze-shah was returned with a princess, and was also informed of the place where he had alighted and left her, and that the emperor was making preparations to go and bring her to his palace, as soon as he got out of the presence, he bethought himself of being revenged upon the emperor and the prince. He mounted his horse, and without losing any time, went directly to the palace, and addressing himself to the captain of the guard, told him he came from the Prince of Persia for the Princess of Bengal, and to conduct her behind him through the air to the emperor, who waited in the great square of his palace to gratify the whole court and city of Shiraz with that wonderful sight.

The captain of the guard, who knew the Hindu, and that the emperor had imprisoned him, gave the more credit to what he said, because he saw that he was at liberty. He presented him to the Princess of Bengal, who no sooner understood that he came from the Prince of Persia than she consented to what the prince, as she thought, had desired of her.

The Hindu, overjoyed at his success and the ease with which he had accomplished his villainy, mounted his horse, took the princess behind him, with the assistance of the captain of -the guard, turned the peg, and instantly the horse mounted into the air.

At the same time the Emperor of Persia, attended by his court, was on the road to the palace where the Princess of Bengal had been left, and the Prince of Persia was advanced before, to prepare the princess to receive his father; when the Hindu, to brave them both, and revenge himself for the ill-treatment he had received, appeared over their heads with his prize.

When the Emperor of Persia saw the Hindu, he stopped. His surprise and affliction were the more sensible, because it was not in his power to punish so high an affront. He loaded him with a thousand imprecations, as did also all the courtiers, who were witnesses of so signal a piece of insolence and unparalleled artifice and treachery.

The Hindu, little moved with their imprecations, which just reached his ears, continued his way, while the emperor, extremely mortified at so great an insult, but more so that he could not punish the author, returned to his palace in rage and vexation.

But what was Prince Feroze-shah's grief at beholding the Hindu hurrying away with the Princess of Bengal, whom he loved so passionately! He returned to the summer-palace, where he had last seen the princess, melancholy and brokenhearted. When he arrived, the captain of the guard, who had learnt his fatal credulity in believ- [227] ing the artful Hindu, threw himself at his feet with tears in his eyes, accused himself of the crime which unintentionally he had committed, and condemned himself to die by his hand. "Rise," said the prince to him; "I do not impute the loss of my princess to thee, but to my own want of precaution. But not to lose time, fetch me a dervis's habit, and take care you do not give the least hint that it is for me."

Not far from this palace there stood a convent of dervises, the superior of which was the captain of the guard's particular friend. From him he readily obtained a complete dervis's habit, and carried it to Prince Feroze-shah. The prince immediately pulled off his own dress, put it on, and being so disguised, and provided with a box of jewels which he had brought as a present to the princess, left the palace, uncertain which way to go, but resolved not to return till he had found out his princess, and brought her back again, or perished in the attempt.

In the mean while, the Hindu, mounted on his enchanted horse, with the princess behind him, arrived early next morning at the capital of the kingdom of Cashmere. He did not enter the city, but alighted in a wood, and left the princess on a grassy spot, close to a rivulet of fresh water, while he went to seek for food. On his return, and after he and the princess had partaken of refreshment, he began to maltreat the princess, because she refused to become his wife. As the princess cried out for help, the Sultan of Cashmere and his court passed through the wood on their return from hunting, and hearing a woman's voice calling for help, went to her rescue.

The sultan, addressing himself to the Hindu, demanded who he was, and wherefore he ill treated the lady. The Hindu, with great impudence, replied that she was his wife, and what had any one to do with his quarrel with her?

The princess, who neither knew the rank nor quality of the person who came so seasonably to her relief, exclaimed, "My lord, whoever you are whom Heaven has sent to my assistance, have compassion on me. I am a princess. This Hindu is a wicked magician, who has forced me away from the Prince of Persia, to whom I was going to be married, and has brought me hither on the enchanted horse you behold there."

The Princess of Bengal had no occasion to say more. Her beauty, majestic air, and tears declared that she spoke the truth. Justly enraged at the insolence of the Hindu, the sultan ordered his guards to surround him, and strike off his head, which sentence was immediately executed.

The sultan then conducted the princess to his palace, where, he lodged her in the most magnificent apartment, next his own, and commanded a great number of women slaves to attend her.

The Princess of Bengal's joy was inexpressible at finding herself delivered from the Hindu, of whom she could not think without horror. She flattered herself that the Sultan of Cashmere would complete his generosity by sending her back to the Prince of Persia when she would have told him her story, and asked that favor of him; but she was much deceived in these hopes; for her deliverer had resolved to marry her himself the next day; and for that end had issued a proclamation, commanding the general rejoicing of the inhabitants of the capital. At the break of day the drums were beaten, the trumpets sounded, and sounds of joys echoed throughout the palace.

The Princess of Bengal was awakened by these tumultuous concerts, but attributed them to a very different cause from the true one. When the Sultan of Cashmere came to wait upon her, after he had inquired after her health, he acquainted her that all those rejoicings were to render her nuptials the more solemn, and at the same time desired her assent to the union. This declaration put her into such a state of agitation that she fainted away.

The women slaves who were present ran to her assistance, though it was a long time before they succeeded in bringing her to herself. But when she recovered, rather than break the promise she had made to Prince Feroze-shah, by consenting to marry the Sultan of Cashmere, who had proclaimed their nuptials before he had asked her [228] consent, she resolved to feign madness. She began to utter the most extravagant expressions before the sultan, and even rose off her seat as if to attack him, insomuch that he was greatly alarmed and afflicted that he had made such a proposal so unseasonably.

When he found that her frenzy rather increased than abated, he left her with her women, charging them never to leave her alone, but to take great care of her. He sent often that day to inquire how she did, but received no other answer than that she was rather worse than better.

The Princess of Bengal continued to talk wildly, and showed other marks of a disordered mind next day and the following, so that the sultan was induced to send for all the physicians belonging to his court, to consult them upon her disease, and to ask if they could cure her.

When the Sultan of Cashmere saw that his court physicians could not cure her, he called in the most celebrated and experienced of the city, who had no better success. He then sent for the most famous in the kingdom, who prescribed without effect. Afterwards he dispatched to the courts of neighboring sultans, with promises of munificent rewards to any who should devise a cure for her malady.

Various physicians arrived from all parts, and tried their skill; but none could boast of success.

During this interval, Feroze-shah, disguised in the habit of a dervis, traveled through many provinces and towns, involved in grief, and making diligent inquiry after his lost princess at every place he came to. At last, passing through a city of Hindostan, he heard the people talk much of a Princess of Bengal, who had become mad on the day of the intended celebration of her nuptials with the Sultan of Cashmere. At the name of the Princess of Bengal, and supposing that there could exist no other Princess of Bengal than her upon whose account he had undertaken his travels, he hastened towards the kingdom of Cashmere, and, upon his arrival at the capital, took up his lodging at a khan, where, the same day, he was informed of the story of the princess and the fate of the Hindu magician. The prince was convinced that he had at last found the beloved object he had sought so long.

Being informed of all these particulars, he provided himself with a physician's habit, and his beard having grown long during his travels, he passed the more easily for the character he assumed. He went boldly to the palace, and announced his wish to be allowed to undertake the cure of the princess to the chief of the officers.

Some time had elapsed since any physician had offered himself; and the Sultan of Cashmere with great grief had begun to lose all hope of ever seeing the princess restored to health, though he still wished to marry her. He at once ordered the officer to introduce the physician he had announced. The Prince of Persia being admitted to an audience, the sultan told him the Princess of Bengal could not bear the sight of a physician without falling into most violent transports, which increased her malady; and conducted him into a closet, from whence, through a lattice, he might see her without being observed. There Feroze-shah beheld his lovely princess sitting melancholily, with tears in her eyes, and singing an air in which she deplored her unhappy fate, which had deprived her, perhaps forever, of the object she loved so tenderly: and the sight made him more resolute in his hope of effecting, her cure. On his leaving the closet, he told the sultan that he had discovered the nature of the princess's complaint, and that she was not incurable; but added withal, that he must speak with her in private and alone, as, notwithstanding her violent agitation at the sight of physicians, he hoped she would hear and receive him favorably.

The sultan ordered the princess's chamber door to be opened, and Feroze-shah went in. As soon as the princess saw him (taking him by his habit to be a physician), she resorted to her old practice of meeting her physicians, with threats and indications of attacking them. He made directly towards her, and when he was nigh enough for her to hear him, and no one else, said to her, in [229] a low voice, "Princess, I am not a physician, but the Prince of Persia, and am come to procure you your liberty."

The princess, who knew the sound of the voice, and recognized his face, notwithstanding he had let his beard grow so long, grew calm at once, and felt a secret joy in seeing so unexpectedly the prince she loved. Feroze-shah told her as briefly as possible his own travels and adventures, and his determination to find her at all risks. He then desired the princess to inform him of all that happened to her, from the time she was taken away till that happy moment, telling her that it was of the greatest importance to know this, that he might take the most proper measures to deliver her from the tyranny of the Sultan of Cashmere. The princess informed him of all that had happened, and that she had feigned to be mad that she might so preserve herself for a prince to whom she had given her heart and faith and not marry the sultan, whom she neither loved nor could ever love.

The Prince of Persia then asked her if she knew what became of the horse, after the death of the Hindu magician. To which she answered that she knew not what orders the sultan had given; but supposed, after the account she had given him of it, he would take care of it as a curiosity. As Feroze-shah never doubted but that the sultan had the horse, he communicated to the princess his design of making use of it to convey them both into Persia; and after they had consulted together on the measures they should take, they agreed that the princess should next day receive the sultan. The Sultan of Cashmere was overjoyed when the Prince of Persia stated to him what effect his first visit had had towards the cure of the princess. On the following day, when the princess received him in such a manner as persuaded him her cure was far advanced, he regarded the prince as the greatest physician in the world, and exhorted the princess carefully to follow the directions of so skillful a physician, and then retired. The Prince of Persia, who attended the Sultan of Cashmere on his visit to the princess, inquired of him how the Princess of Bengal came into the dominions of Cashmere thus atone, since her own country -was far distant.

The sultan at once informed him of what the princess had related, when he had delivered her from the Hindu magician; adding, that he had ordered the enchanted horse to be kept safe in his treasury as a great curiosity, though he knew not the use of it.

"Sire," replied the pretended physician, "the information which your majesty has given your devoted slave affords me a means of curing the princess. As she was brought hither on this horse, and the horse is enchanted, she hath contracted something of the enchantment, which can be dissipated only by a certain incense which I am acquainted with. If your majesty would entertain yourself, your court, and the people of your capital, with the most surprising sight that ever was beheld, let the horse be brought to-morrow into the great square before the palace, and leave the rest to me. I promise to show you, and all that assembly, in a few moments' time, the Princess of Bengal completely restored in body and mind. But the better to effect what I propose, it will be requisite that the princess should be dressed as magnificently as possible, and adorned with the most valuable jewels in your treasury." The sultan would, have undertaken much more difficult things to have secured his marriage with the princess, which he expected soon to accomplish.

The next day the enchanted horse was, by his order, taken out of the treasury, and placed early in the great square before the palace. A report was spread through the town that there was something extraordinary to be seen, and crowds of people flocked hither from all parts, insomuch that the sultan's guards were placed to prevent disorder, and to keep space enough round the horse.

The Sultan of Cashmere, surrounded by all his nobles and ministers of state, was placed in a gallery erected on purpose. The Princess of Bengal, attended by a number of ladies whom the sultan had assigned her, went up to the enchanted [230] horse, and the women helped her to mount. When she was fixed in the saddle, and had the bridle in her hand, the pretended physician placed round the horse at a proper distance many vessels full of lighted charcoal, which he had ordered to be brought, and going round them with a solemn pace, cast in handfuls of incense, then, with downcast eyes, and his hands upon his breast, he ran three times about the horse, making as if he pronounced some mystical words. The moment the pots sent forth a dark cloud of smoke,—accompanied with a pleasant smell, which so surrounded the princess that neither she nor the horse could be discerned,—watching his opportunity, the prince jumped nimbly up behind her, and reaching his hand to the peg, turned it; and just as the horse rose with them into the air, he pronounced these words, which the sultan heard distinctly: "Sultan of Cashmere, when you would marry princesses who implore your protection, learn first to obtain their consent."

Thus the prince delivered the Princess of Bengal, and carried her the same day to the capital of Persia, where he alighted in the square of the palace, before the emperor his father's apartment, who deferred the solemnization of the marriage no longer than till he could make the preparations necessary to render the ceremony pompous and magnificent, and evince the interest he took in it.

After the days appointed for the rejoicings were over, the Emperor of Persia's first care was to name and appoint an ambassador to go to the Rajah of Bengal with an account of what had passed, and to demand his approbation and ratification of the alliance contracted by this marriage; which the Rajah of Bengal took as an honor, and granted with great pleasure and satisfaction.


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