THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
am not afraid to think of it. If I fail, my death will be a glorious one, and if I succeed I shall have done a great service to my country.'
' It is of no use,' said the grand-vizir, ' I shall never consent. If the Sultan was to order me to plunge a dagger in your heart, I should have to obey. What a task for a father! Ah, if you do not fear death, fear at any rate the anguish you would cause me.'
' Once again, my father,' said Scheherazade, i will you grant me what I ask ?'
' AVhat, are you still so obstinate ?' exclaimed the grand-vizir. i Why are you so resolved upon your own ruin ?'
But the maiden absolutely refused to attend to her father's words, and at length, in despair, the grand-vizir was obliged to give way, and went sadly to the palace to tell the Sultan that the following evening he would "bring him Scheherazade.
The Sultan received this news with the greatest astonishment.
' How have you made up your mind,' he asked, ' to sacrifice your own daughter to me?'
' Sire,' answered the grand-vizir, ' it is her own wish. Even the sad fate that awaits her could not hold her back.'
; Let there be no mistake, vizir,' said the Sultan. ' Remember you will have to take her life yourself. If you refuse, I swear that your head shall pay forfeit.'
' Sire,' returned the vizir. « Whatever the cost, I will obey you. Though a father, I am also your subject.' So the Sultan told the grand-vizir he might bring his daughter as soon as he liked.
The vizir took back this news to Scheherazade, who received it as if it had been the most pleasant thing in the world. She thanked her father warmly for yielding to her wishes, and, seeing him still bowed down with grief, told him that she hoped he would never repent having allowed her to marry the Sultan. Then she went