240 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
to cure the princess, and a crowd soon gathered round the prince. On perceiving his youth, good looks, and distinguished bearing, everyone felt pity for him.
' What are you thinking of, sir,' exclaimed some; ' why expose yourself to certain death ? Are not the heads you see exposed on the town wall sufficient warning ? For mercy's sake give up this mad idea and retire whilst you can.'
But the prince remained firm, and only repeated his cry with greater assurance, to the horror of the crowd.
' He is resolved to die !' they cried ; ' may heaven have pity on him ! '
Camaralzaman now called out for the third time, and at last the grand-vizir himself came out and fetched him in.
The prime minister led the prince to the king, who was much struck by the noble air of this new adventurer, and felt such pity for the fate so evidently in store for him, that he tried to persuade the young man to renounce his project.
But Camaralzaman politely yet firmly persisted in his intentions, and at length the king desired the eunuch who had the guard of the princess's apartments to conduct the astrologer to her presence.
The eunuch led the way through long passages, and Camaralzaman followed rapidly, in haste to reach the object of his desires. At last they came to a large hall which was the ante-room to the princess's chamber, and here Camaralzaman said to the eunuch:
' Now you shall choose. Shall I cure the princess in her own presence, or shall I do it from here without seeing her?'
The eunuch, who had expressed many contemptuous doubts as they came along of the new-comer's powers, was much surprised and said :
' If you really can cure, it is immaterial when you do it. Your fame will be equally great.'
' Very well,' replied the prince: ' then,impatient though