STORY OF THE JEALOUS SISTERS 407
difficulties of climbing the mountain; and pointed out that the chief means of success was never to look behind till you had the cage in your grasp.
' As far as I can see,' said the princess, ' the first thing is not to mind the tumult of the voices that follow you till you reach the cage, and then never to look behind. As to this, I think I have enough self-control to look straight before me ; but as it is quite possible that I might be frightened by the voices, as even the boldest men have been, I will stop up my ears with cotton, so that, let them make as much noise as they like, I shall hear nothing.'
' Madam,' cried the dervish, ( out of all the number who have asked me the way to the mountain, you are the first who has ever suggested such a means of escaping the danger! It is possible that you may succeed, but all the same, the risk is great.'
i Good dervish,' answered the princess, 'I feel in my heart that I shall succeed, and it only remains for me to ask you the way I am to go.'
Then the dervish said that it was useless to say more, and he gave her the ball, which she flung before her.
The first thing the princess did on arriving at the mountain was to stop her ears with cotton, and then, making up her mind which was the best way to go, she began her ascent. In spite of the cotton, some echoes of the voices reached her ears, but not so as to trouble her. Indeed, though they grew louder and more insulting the higher she climbed, the princess only laughed, and said to herself that she certainly would not let a few rough words stand between her and the goal. At last she perceived in the distance the cage and the bird, whose voice joined itself in tones of thunder to those of the rest: ' Return, return ! never dare to come near me.'
At the sight of the bird, the princess hastened her steps, and without vexing herself at the noise which by this time had grown deafening, she walked straight up to the cage, and seizing it, she said: ' Now, my bird. I have