THE YOUNG KING OF THE BLACK ISLES 51
colours which are in it are the different races who lived in the town ; the four hills are the four islands which give the name to my kingdom. All this the enchantress told me to add to my troubles. And this is not all. Every day she comes and beats me with a whip of buffalo hide.
When the young king had finished his sad story he burst once more into tears, and the Sultan was much moved.
' Tell me,' he cried, ' where is this wicked woman, and where is the miserable object of her affection, whom she just manages to keep alive?'
' Where she lives I do not know,' answered the unhappy prince, ' but she goes every day at sunrise to see if the slave can yet speak to her, after she has beaten me.'
' Unfortunate king,' said the Sultan, ' I will do what I can to avenge you.'
So he consulted with the young king over the best way to bring this about, and they agreed their plan should be put in effect the next day. The Sultan then rested, and the young king gave himself up to happy hopes of release. The next day the Sultan arose, and then went to the palace in the garden where the black slave was. He drew his sword and destroyed the little life that remained in him, and then threw the body down a well. He then lay down on the couch where the slave had been, and waited for the enchantress.
She went first to the young king, whom she beat with a hundred blows.
Then she came to the room where she thought her wounded slave was, but where the Sultan really lay.
She came near his couch aud said, ' Are you better to-day, my dear slave? Speak but one word to me.'
' How can I be better,' answered the Sultan, imitating the language of the Ethiopians, ' when I can never sleep for the cries and groans of your husband ? '