12 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
ture of the merchant and the genius. The second old man had no sooner heard the story than he, too, decided to stay there to see what would happen. He sat down by the others, and was talking, when a third old man arrived. He asked why the merchant who was writh them looked so sad. They told him the story, and he also resolved to see what would pass between the genius and the merchant, so waited with the rest.
They soon saw in the distance a thick smoke, like a cloud of dust. This smoke came nearer and nearer, and then, all at once, it vanished, and they saw the genius, who, without speaking to them, approached the merchant, sword in hand, and, taking him by the arm, said, ' Get up, and let me kill you as you killed my son.'
The merchant and the three old men began to weep and groan.
Then the old man leading the hind threw himself at the monster's feet and said, ' O Prince of the Genii, I beg of you to stay your fury and to listen to me. I am going to tell you my story and that of the hind I have with me, and if you find it more marvellous than that of the merchant whom you are about to kill, I hope that you will do away with a third part of his punishment? '
The genius considered some time, and then he said, ' Very well, I agree to this.'