364 THE STORY OF PRINCE AHMED
the magician advised differently : ' Make him give you all kinds of wonderful things, by the Fairy's help, till she tires of him and sends him away. As, for example, every time your Majesty goes into the field, you are obliged to be at a great expense, not only in pavilions and tents for your army, but likewise in mules and camels to carry their baggage. Now, might not you engage him to use his interest with the Fairy to procure you a tent which might be carried in a man's hand, and which should be so large as to shelter your whole army against bad weather ? '
When the magician had finished her speech, the Sultan asked his favourites if they had anything better to propose; and, finding them all silent, determined to follow the magician's advice, as the most reasonable and most agreeable to his mild government.
Next day the Sultan did as the magician had advised him, and asked for the pavilion.
Prince Ahmed never expected that the Sultan his father would have asked such a thing, which at first appeared so difficult, not to say impossible. Though he knew not absolutely how great the power of genies and fairies was, he doubted whether it extended so far as to compass such a tent as his father desired. At last he replied: ' Though it is with the greatest reluctance imaginable, I will not fail to ask the favour of my wife your Majesty desires, but will not promise you to obtain it; and if I should not have the honour to come again to pay you my respects that shall be the sign that I have not had success. But, beforehand, I desire you to forgive me, and consider that you yourself have reduced me to this extremity.'
' Son,' replied the Sultan of the Indies, ' I should be very sorry if what I ask of you should cause me the displeasure of never seeing you more. I find you don't know the power a husband has over a wife; and yours would show that her love to you was very indifferent if she, with the power she has of a fairy, should refuse you so trifling a request as this I desire you to ask of her for my sake.'
The Prince went back, and was very sad for fear of offending the Fairy. She kept pressing him to tell her what was the matter, and at last he said: ' Madam, you may have observed that hitherto I have been content with your love, and have never asked you any other favour. Consider then, I conjure you, that it is not I, but the Sultan my father, who indiscreetly, or at least I think so, begs of you a pavilion large enough to shelter him, his Court, and army from the violence of the weather, and which a man may