STORY OF THE JEALOUS SISTERS 399
length she raised her eyes, and replied that there was nothing wrong.
' But there must be something,' persisted Prince Bahman, ' for you to have changed so much during the short time we have been absent. Hide nothing from us, I beseech you, unless you wish us to believe that the confidence we have always had in one another is now to cease.'
' When I said that it was nothing,' said the princess, moved by his words, ' I meant that it was nothing that affected you, although I admit that it is certainly of some importance to me. Like myself, you have always thought this house that our father built for us was perfect in every respect, but only to-day I have learned that three things are still lacking to complete it. These are the Talking Bird, the Singing Tree, and the Golden Water.' After explaining the peculiar qualities of each, the princess continued: ' It was a Mussulman devotee who told me all this, and where they might all be found. Perhaps you will think that the house is beautiful enough as it is, and that we can do quite well without them; but in this I cannot agree with you, and I shall never be content until I have got them. So counsel me, I pray, whom to send on the undertaking.'
' My dear sister,' replied Prince Bahman, ' that you should care about the matter is quite enough, even if we took no interest in it ourselves. But we both feel with you, and I claim, as the elder, the right to make the first attempt, if you will tell me where I am to go, and what steps I am to take.'
Prince Perviz at first objected that, being the head of the family, his brother ought not to be allowed to expose himself to danger ; but Prince Bahman would hear nothing, and retired to make the needful preparations for his journey.
The next morning Prince Bahman got up very early, and after bidding farewell to his brother and sister, mounted