408 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
got you, and I shall take good care that you do not escape.' As she spoke she took the cotton from her ears, for it was needed no longer.
' Brave lady,' answered the bird, 'do not blame me for having joined my voice to those who did their best to preserve my freedom. Although confined in a cage, I was content with my lot, but if I must become a slave, I could not wish for a nobler mistress than one who has shown so much constancy, and from this moment I swear to serve you faitlifully. Some day you will put me to the proof, for I know who you are better than you do yourself. Meanwhile, tell me what I can do, and I will obey you.'
' Bird,' replied the princess, who was filled with a joy that seemed strange to herself when she thought that the bird had cost her the lives of both her brothers. ; bird, let me first thank you for your good will, and then let me ask you where the Golden Water is to be found.'
The bird described the place, which was not far distant, and the princess filled a small silver flask that she had brought with her for the purpose. She then returned to the cage, and said : ' Bird, there is still something else, where shall I find the Singing Tree ? '
' Behind you, in that wood,' replied the bird, and the princess wandered through the wood, till a sound of the sweetest voices told her she had found what she sought. But the tree was tall and strong, and it was hopeless to think of uprooting it.
'You need not do that,' said the bird, when she had returned to ask counsel. ' Break off a twig, and plant it in your garden, and it will take root, and grow into a magnificent tree.'
When the Princess Parizade held in her hands the three wonders promised her by the old woman, she said to the bird: ' All that is not enough. It was owing to you that my brothers became black stones. I cannot tell them from the mass of others, but you must know,