STORY OF THE JEALOUS SISTERS 391
have that into the bargain. You see, my dear sister, my taste is as good as yours.'
It was now the turn of the youngest sister, who was by far the most beautiful of the three, and had, besides, more sense than the other two. ' As for me,' she said, ' I should take a higher flight; and if we are to wish for husbands, nothing less than the Sultan himself will do for me.'
The Sultan was so much amused by the conversation he had overheard, that he made up his mind to gratify their wishes, and turning to the grand-vizir, he bade him note the house, and on the following morning to bring the ladies into his presence.
The grand-vizir fulfilled his commission, and hardly giving them time to change their dresses, desired the three sisters to follow him to the palace. Here they were presented one by one, and when they had bowed before the Sultan, the sovereign abruptly put the question to them:
' Tell me, do you remember what you wished for last night, when you were making merry? Fear nothing, but answer me the truth.'
These words, which were so unexpected, threw the sisters into great confusion, their eyes fell, and the blushes of the youngest did not fail to make an impression on the heart of the Sultan. All three remained silent, and he hastened to continue: ' Do not be afraid, I have not the slightest intention of giving you pain, and let me tell you at once, that I know the wishes formed by each one. You,' he said, turning to the youngest, ' who desired to have me for an husband, shall be satisfied this very day. And you,' he added, addressing himself to the other two, ' shall be married at the same moment to my baker and to my chief cook.'
When the Sultan had finished speaking the three sisters flung themselves at his feet, and the youngest faltered out, ' Oh, sire, since you know my foolish words,