22 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
and said to the third old man, 'I will give up to you the third part of the merchant's punishment. He ought to thank all three of you for having interested yourselves in his favour. But for you, he would be here no longer.'
So saying, he disappeared, to the great joy of the company. The merchant did not fail to thank his friends, and then each went on his way. The merchant returned to his wife and children, and passed the rest of his days happily with them.
' But, sire,' added Scheharazade, k however beautiful are the stories I have just told you, they cannot compara with the story of the Fisherman.'