24 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS
asked : ' 0 Prince Almas-ruh-bakhsh, do you still wish so much to make this journey to Waq of Qaf ? What hope is there in it ? The road is dangerous even near here, and this is not yet the borderland of the Caucasus. Come, give it up ! It is a great risk, and to go is not wise. It would be a pity for a man like you to fall into the hands of jins and demons. Stay with me, and I will do whatever you wish.'
' O most delicious person ! ' he answered, ' you are very generous, and the choice of my life lies in truth in your hands ; but I beg one favour of you. If you love me, so do I too love you. If you really love me, do not forbid me to make this journey, but help me as far as you can. Then it may be that I shall succeed, and if I return with my purpose fulfilled I will marry you according to the law, and take you to my own country, and we will spend the rest of our lives together in pleasure and good companionship. Help me, if you can, and give me your counsel.'
' 0 very stuff of my life,' replied Jamlla, ' I will give you things that are not in kings' treasuries, and which will be of the greatest use to you. First, there are the bow and arrows of his Eeverence the Prophet Salih. Secondly, there is the Scorpion of Solomon (on whom be peace), which is a sword such as no king has; steel and stone are one to it; if you bring it down on a rock it will not be injured, and it will cleave whatever you strike. Thirdly, there is the dagger which the sage Timus himself made; this is most useful, and the man who wears it would not bend under seven camels' loads. What you have to do first is to get to the home of the Slmurgh,1 and to make friends with him. If he favours you, he will take you to Waq of Qaf; if not, you will never get there, for seven seas are on the way, and they are such seas that if all the kings of the earth, and all their vazlrs, and all their wise men