WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 11
him in black raiment for forty days; and then, a few days later, his second son, Prince Qamas, extracted from him leave to go too ; and he, also, was put to death. One son only now remained, the brave, eloquent, happy-natured Prince Almas-ruh-bakhsh. One day, when his father sat brooding over his lost children, Almas came before him and said : ' 0 father mine ! the daughter of King Quimus has done my two brothers to death ; I wish to avenge them upon her.' These words brought his father to tears. ' O light of your father ! ' he cried, ' I have no one left but you, and now you ask me to let you go to your death.'
' Dear father!' pleaded the prince, ' until I have lowered the pride of that beauty, and have set her here before you, I cannot settle down or indeed sit down off my feet.'
In the end he, too, got leave to go; but he went without a following and alone. Like his brothers, he made the long journey to the city of Quimus the son of Tlmus; like them he saw the citadel, but he saw there the heads of Tahmasp and Qamas. He went about in the city, saw the tent and the drums, and then went out again to a village not far off. Here he found out a very old man who had a wife 120 years old, or rather more. Their lives were coming to their end, but they had never beheld face of child of their own. They were glad when the prince came to their house, and they dealt with him as with a son. He put all his belongings into their charge, and fastened his horse in their out-house. Then he asked them not to speak of him to anyone, and to keep his affairs secret. He exchanged his royal dress for another, and next morning, just as the sun looked forth from its eastern oratory, he went again into the city. He turned over in his mind without ceasing how he was to find out the meaning of the riddle, and to give them a right answer, and who could help him, and how to avenge his brothers. He wandered about the city, but heard nothing of service,