420 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
go once more and look at the Golden Water; and I am dying to see the Talking Bird.'
The Sultan could hardly tear himself away from the Golden Water, which puzzled him more and more. ' You say,' he observed to the princess, ' that this water does not come from any spring, neither is brought by pipes. All I understand is, that neither it nor the Singing Tree is a native of this country.'
' It is as you say, sire,' answered the princess, ' and if you examine the basin, you will see that it is all in one piece, and therefore the water could not have been brought through it. What is more astonishing is, that I only emptied a small flaskful into the basin, and it increased to the quantity you now see.'
' Well, I will look at it no more to-day,' said the Sultan. ' Take me to the Talking Bird.'
On approaching the house, the Sultan noticed a vast quantity of birds, whose voices filled the air, and he inquired why they were so much more numerous here than in any other part of the garden.
' Sire,' answered the princess, ' do you see that cage hanging in one of the windows of the saloon ? that is the Talking Bird, whose voice you can hear above them all, even above that of the nightingale. And the birds crowd to this spot, to add their songs to his.'
The Sultan stepped through the window, but the bird took no notice, continuing his song as before.
' My slave,' said the princess, 'this is the Sultan; make him a pretty speech.'
The bird stopped singing at once, and all the other birds stopped too.
' The Sultan is welcome,' he said. 'I wish him long life and all prosperity.'
'I thank you, good bird,' answered the Sultan, seating himself before the repast, which was spread at a table near the window, ' and I am enchanted to see in you the Sultan and King of the Birds.'