154 THE GARDEN OF PARADISE
That was the East Wind, who came dressed like a Chinaman.
6 Oh ! do you come from that region ? ' said his mother. I thought you had been in the Garden of Paradise.'
11 don't fly there till to-morrow,' said the East Wind. ' It will be a hundred years to-morrow since I was there. I come from China now,where I danced around the porcelain tower till all the bells jingled again ! In the streets the officials were being thrashed : the bamboos were broken upon their shoulders, yet they were high people, from the first to the ninth grade. They cried, " Many thanks, my paternal benefactor ! " but it didn't come from their hearts. And I rang the bells and sang, " Tsing, tsang, tsu ! " •
4 You are foolish,' said the old dame. ' It is a good thing that you are going into the Garden of Paradise to-morrow : that always helps on your education. Drink bravely out of the spring of Wisdom, and bring home a little bottle-full for me.'
' That I will do,' said the East Wind. ' But why have you clapped my brother South in the bag ? Out with him ! He shall tell me about the Phoenix bird, for about that bird the Princess in the Garden of Paradise always wants to hear, when I pay my visit every hundredth year. Open the sack, then you shall be my sweetest of mothers, and I will give you two pocketfuls of tea, green and fresh as I plucked it at the place where it grew ! '
1 Well, for the sake of the tea, and because you are my darling boy, I will open the sack.'
She did so, and the South Wind crept out; but he looked quite downcast, because the strange Prince had seen his disgrace.
' There you have a palm leaf for the Princess,' said the South Wind. ' This palm leaf was given me by the Phoenix bird, the only one now in the world. With his beak he has scratched upon it a description of all the hundred years he has lived. Now she may read it all herself. I saw how the Phoenix bird set fire to her nest, and sat upon it, and was burned to death like a Hindoo's widow. How the dry branches crackled ! What a smoke and a perfume there was ! At last everything burst into flame, and the