WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 17
Dil-arfam, ' I do not know what the rose did to the cypress; but so much I know that the person who told Mihr-afruz about it is a negro whom she hides under her throne. He fled here from Waq of the Caucasus—it is there you must make inquiry ; there is no other way of getting at the truth.' On hearing these words, the prince said to his heart, ' 0 my heart! your task will yet wear away much of your life.'
He fell into long and far thought, and Dil-aram looked at him and said : ' 0 my life and my soul! do not be sad. If you would like this woman killed, I will put poison into her cup so that she will never lift her head from her drugged sleep again.'
' O Dil-aram ! such a vengeance is not manly. I shall not rest till I have gone to Waq of the Caucasus and have cleared up the matter.' Then they repeated the agreement about their marriage, and bade one another goodbye.
The prince now went back to the village, and told the old man that he wras setting out on a long journey, and begged him not to be anxious, and to keep safe the goods which had been entrusted to him.
The prince had not the least knowledge of the way to Waq of the Caucasus, and was cast down by the sense of his helplessness. He was walking along by his horse's side when there appeared before him an old man of serene countenance, dressed in green and carrying a staff, who resembled Khizr.1 The prince thanked heaven, laid the hands of reverence on his breast and salaamed. The old man returned the greeting graciously, and asked : ' How fare you? Whither are you bound? You look like a traveller.'
' O revered saint! I am in this difficulty: I do not know the way to Waq of the Caucasus.' The old man of good counsel looked at the young prince and said: ' Turn back from this dangerous undertaking. Do not go ;