WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS 21
of the singers and played upon it with skill which witched away the sense of all who heard. But it was all in vain ; three days passed in such festivities, and on the fourth the prince said : ' O joy of my eyes ! I beg now that you will bid me farewell, for my way is long and the fire of your love darts flame into the harvest of my heart. By heaven's grace I may accomplish my purpose, and, if so, I will come back to you.'
Now she saw that she could not in any way change his resolve, she told her nurse to bring a certain casket which contained, she said, something exhilarating which would help the prince on his journey. The box was brought, and she divided off a portion of what was within and gave it to the prince to eat. Then, and while he was all unaware, she put forth her hand to a stick fashioned like a snake ; she said some words over it and struck him so sharply on the shoulder that he cried out; then he made a pirouette and found that he was a deer.
When he knew what had been done to him he thought, ' All the threads of affliction are gathered together ; I have lost my last chance !' He tried to escape, but the magician sent for her goldsmith, who, coming, overlaid the deer-horns with gold and jewels. The kerchief which that day she had had in her hand was then tied round its neck, and this freed it from her attentions.
The prince-deer now bounded into the garden and at once sought some way of escape. It found none, and it joined the other deer, which soon made it their leader. Now, although the prince had been transformed into the form of a deer, he kept his man's heart and mind. He said to himself, ' Thank heaven that the Lady Latlfa has changed me into this shape, for at least deer are beautiful.' He remained for some time living as a deer amongst the rest, but at length resolved that an end to such a life must be put in some way. He looked again for some place by which he could get out of the magic garden.