THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
down into a great plain, where there was a large lake lying between four hills.
When they reached the lake the genius said to the fisherman, ' Throw your nets and catch fish.'
The fisherman did as he was told, hoping for a good catch, as he saw plenty of fish. What was his astonishment at seeing that there were four quite different kinds, some white, some red, some blue, and some yellow. He caught four, one of each colour. As he had never seen any like them he admired them very much, and he was very pleased to think how much money he would get for them.
'Take these fish and carry them to the Sultan, who will give you more money for them than you have ever had in your life. You can come every day to fish in this lake, but be careful not to throw your nets more than once every day, otherwise some harm will happen to you. If you follow my advice carefully you will find it good.'
Saying these words, he struck his foot against the ground, which opened, and when he had disappeared it closed immediately.
The fisherman resolved to obey the genius exactly, so he did not cast his nets a second time, but walked into the town to sell his fish at the palace.
When the Sultan saw the fish he was much astonished. He looked at them one after the other, and when he had admired them long enough, ' Take these fish,' he said to his first vizir, ' and give them to the clever cook the Emperor of the Greeks sent me. I think they must be as good as they are beautiful.'
The vizir took them himself to the cook, saying, ' Here are four fish that have been brought to the Sultan. He wants you to cook them.'
Then he went back to the Sultan, who told him to give the fisherman four hundred gold pieces. The fisherman, who had never before possessed such a large sum