AND THE FAIRY PARIBANOU 307
The Fairy Paribanou was at that time very hard at work, and, as she had several clews of thread by her, she took up one, and, presenting it to Prince Ahmed, said : ' First take this clew of thread. I'll tell you presently the use of it. In the second place, you must have two horses : one you must ride yourself, and the other you must lead, which must be loaded with a sheep cut into four quarters, that must be killed to-day. In the third place, you must be provided with a bottle, which I will give you, to bring the water in. Set out early to-morrow morning, and when you have passed the iron gate throw the clew of thread before you, which will roll till it comes to the gates of the castle. Follow it, and when it stops, as the gates will be open, you will see the four lions; the two that are awake will, by their roaring, wake the other two, but don't be frightened, but throw each of them a quarter of mutton, and then clap spurs to your horse and ride to the fountain; fill your bottle without alighting, and then return with the same expedition. The lions will be so busy eating they will let you pass by them.'
Prince Ahmed set out the next morning at the time appointed by the Fairy, and followed her directions punctually. "When he arrived at the gates of the castle he distributed the quarters of mutton among the four lions, and, passing through the midst of them bravely, got to the fountain, filled his bottle, and returned back as safe and sound as he went. When he had gone a little distance from the castle gates he turned him about, and, perceiving two of the lions coming after him, he drew his sabre and prepared himself for defence. But as he went forwards he saw one of them turned out of the road at some distance, and showed by his head and tail that he did not come to do him any harm, but only to go before him, and that the other stayed behind to follow; he put his sword up again in its scabbard. Guarded in this manner, he arrived at the capital of the Indies, but the lions never left him till they had conducted him to the gates of the Sultan's palace ; after which they returned the same w*ay they came, though not without frightening all that saw them, for all they went in a very gentle manner and showed no fierceness.
A great many officers came to attend the Prince while he dismounted his horse, and afterwards conducted him into the Sultan's apartment, who was at that time surrounded with his favourites. He approached towards the throne, laid the bottle at the Sultan's feet, and kissed the rich tapestry which covered his footstool, and then said: ' I have brought you, sir, the healthful water which your