STORY OF THE JEALOUS SISTERS 417
can only admire ! Besides, if I were to use all the pearls I possess, they would not be half enough.'
' Mistress,' replied the bird, ' do what I tell you and nothing but good will come of it. And as to the pearls, if you go at dawn to-morrow and dig at the foot of the first tree in the park, on the right hand, you will find as many as you want.'
The princess had faith in the bird, who generally proved to be right, and taking the gardener with her early next morning followed out his directions carefully. After digging for some time they came upon a golden box fastened with little clasps.
These were easily undone, and the box was found to be full of pearls, not very large ones, but well-shaped and of a good colour. So leaving the gardener to fill up the hole he had made under the tree, the princess took up the box and returned to the house.
The two princes had seen her go out, and had wondered what could have made her rise so early. Full of curiosity they got up and dressed, and met their sister as she was returning with the box under her arm.
'What have you been doing?' they asked, 'and did the gardener come to tell you he had found a treasure ?'
' On the contrary,' replied the princess, l it is I who have found one,' and opening the box she showed her astonished brothers the pearls inside. Then, on the way back to the palace, she told them of her consultation with the bird, and the advice it had given her. All three tried to guess the meaning of the singular counsel, but they were forced at last to admit the explanation was beyond them, and they must be content blindly to obey.
The first thing the princess did on entering the palace was to send for the head cook and to order the repast for the Sultan. When she had finished she suddenly added, ' Besides the dishes I have mentioned there is one that you must prepare expressly for the Sultan, and that no one must touch but yourself. It consists of a stuffed