STORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER 83
adventure, and as soon as possible retired to my room to lament in secret over my folly. While I was thus indulging my grief my host entered, and said, ' There is an old man downstairs who has brought your hatchet and slippers, which he picked up on the road, and now restores to you, as he found out from one of your comrades where you lived. You had better come down and speak to him yourself.' At this speech I changed colour, and my legs trembled under me. The tailor noticed my confusion, and was just going to inquire the reason when the floor of the room opened, and the old man appeared, carrying with him my hatchet and shoes.
'I am a genius,' he said, ' the son of the daughter of Eblis, prince of the genii. Is not this hatchet yours, and these shoes ?' Without waiting for an answer— which, indeed, I could hardly have given him, so great was my fright — he seized hold of me, and darted up into the air with the quickness of lightning, and then, with equal swiftness, dropped down towards the earth. When he touched the ground, he rapped it with his foot; it opened, and we found ourselves in the enchanted palace, in the presence of the beautiful princess of the Ebony Isle. But how different she looked from what she was when I had last seen her, for she was lying stretched on the ground covered with blood, and weeping bitterly. ' Traitress !' cried the genius, ' is not this man your lover?'
She lifted up her eyes slowly, and looked sadly at me. ' I never saw him before,' she answered slowly. 'I do not know who he is.'
' What! ' exclaimed the genius, ' you owe all your sufferings to him, and yet you dare to say he is a stranger to you!'
' But if he really is a stranger to me,' she replied, ' why should I tell a lie and cause his death?'
' Very well,' said the genius, drawing his sword, ' take this, and cut off his head.'
' Alas,' answered the princess, ' I am too weak even