SECOND OLD MAN AND TWO BLACK DOGS 21
' When I saw you on the sea-shore I took a great fancy to you, and wished to try your good nature, so I presented myself in the disguise you saw. Now I have rewarded you by saving your life. But I am very angry with your brothers, and I shall not rest till I have taken their lives.'
I thanked the fairy for all that she had done for me, but I begged her not to kill my brothers.
I appeased her wrath, and in a moment she transported me from the island where we were to the roof of my house, and she disappeared a moment afterwards. I went down, and opened the doors, and dug up the three thousand sequins which I had buried. I went to the place where my shop was, opened it, and received from my fellow-merchants congratulations on my return When I went home, I saw two black dogs who came to meet me with sorrowful faces. I was much astonished but the fairy who reappeared said to me,
' Do not be surprised to see these dogs; they are your two brothers. I have condemned them to remain for ten years in these shapes.' Then, having told me where I could hear news of her, she vanished.
The ten years are nearly passed, and I am on the road to find her. As in passing I met this merchant and the old man with the hind, I stayed with them.
This is my history, O prince of genii! Do not you think it a most marvellous one?
' Yes, indeed,' replied the genius, ' and I will give up to you the third of the merchant's punishment.'
Then the third old man made the genius the same request as the other two had done, and the genius promised him the last third of the merchant's punishment if his story surpassed both the others.
So he told his history to the genius, but I cannot tell you what it was, as I do not know.
But I do know that it was even more marvellous than either of the others, so that the genius was astonished,