52 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
' What joy to hear you speak!' answered the queen. ' Do you wish him to regain his proper shape?'
' Yes,' said the Sultan; ' hasten to set him at liberty, so that I may no longer hear his cries.'
The queen at once went out and took a cup of water, and said over it some words that made it boil as if it were on the fire. Then she threw it over the prince, who at once regained his own form. He was filled with joy, but the enchantress said, ' Hasten away from this place and never come back, lest I kill you.'
So he hid himself to see the end of the Sultan's plan.
The enchantress went back to the Palace of Tears and said, ' Now I have done what you wished.'
' What you have done,' said the Sultan, ' is not enough to cure me. Every day at midnight all the people whom you have changed into fish lift their heads out of the lake and cry for vengeance. Go quickly, and give them their proper shape.'
The enchantress hurried away and said some words over the lake.
The fish then became men, women, and children, and the houses and shops were once more filled. The Sultan's, suite, who had encamped by the lake, were not a little astonished to see themselves in the middle of a large and beautiful town.
As soon as she had disenchanted it the queen went back to the palace.
' Are you quite well now?' she said.
' Come near,' said the Sultan. ' Nearer still.'
She obeyed. Then he sprang up, and with one blow of his sword he cut her in two.
Then he went and found the prince.
' Rejoice,' he said, ' your cruel enemy is dead.'
The prince thanked him again and again.
' And now,' said the Sultan. 'I will go back to my capital, which I am glad to find is so near yours.'
' So near mine!' said the King of the Black Isles.