THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
Schahriar, who had been listening to Scheherazade with pleasure, said to himself, ' I will wait till to-morrow ; I can always have her killed when I have heard the end of her story.'
All this time the grand-vizir was in a terrible state of anxiety. But he was much delighted when he saw the Sultan enter the council-chamber without giving the terrible command that he was expecting.
The next morning, before the day broke, Dinavzade said to her sister, ' Dear sister, if you are awake I pray you to go on with your story.'
The Sultan did not wait for Scheherazade to ask his leave. ' Finish,' said he, ' the story of the genius and the merchant. I am curious to hear the end.'
So Scheherazade went on with the story. This happened every morning. The Sultana told a story, and the Sultan let her live to finish it.
When the merchant saw that the genius was determined to cut off his head, he said: ' One word more, I entreat you. Grant me a little delay; just a short time to go home to bid my wife and children farewell, and to make my will. When I have done this I will come back here, and you shall kill me.'
'But,' said the genius, ' if I grant you the delay you ask, I am afraid you will not come back.'
'I give you my word of honour,' answered the merchant, ' that I will come back without fail.'
'How long do you require?' asked the genius.
'I ask you for a year's grace,' replied the merchant. ' I promise you that to-morrow twelvemonth, I shall be waiting under these trees to give myself up to you.'
On this the genius left him near the fountain and disappeared.
The merchant, having recovered from his fright, mounted his horse, and went on his road.
When he arrived home his wife and children received him with the greatest joy. But instead of embracing