42 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS
outside the city I saw Gul dismount and go towards a house which some negroes have built there. Over against the door was a high seat, and on it lay a giant negro, before whom she salaamed. He got up and beat her till she was marked with weals, but she uttered no complaint. I was dumfounded, for once when I had struck her with a rose-stalk she had complained and fretted for three days! Then the negro said to her: " How now, ugly one and shaven head ! Why are you so late, and why are you not wearing wedding garments ? " She answered him : "That person did not go to sleep quickly, and he stayed at home all day, so that I was not able to adorn myself. I came as soon as I could." In a little while he called her to sit beside him ; but this was more than I could bear. I lost control of myself and rushed upon him. He clutched my collar and we grappled in a death struggle. Suddenly she came behind me, caught my feet and threw me. While he held me on the ground, she drew out my own knife and gave it to him. I should have been killed but for that faithful dog which seized his throat and pulled him down and pinned him to the ground. Then I got up and despatched the wretch. There were four other negroes at the place ; three I killed and the fourth got away, and has taken refuge beneath the throne of Mihr-afruz, daughter of King Quimus. I took Gul back to my palace, and from that time till now I have treated her as a dog is treated, and I have cared for my dog as though it were my wife. Now you know what the rose did to the cypress; and now you must keep compact with me.'
' I shall keep my word,' said the prince ; ' but may a little water be taken to the roof so that I may make my last ablution ?'
To this request the king consented. The prince mounted to the roof, and, getting into a corner, struck his fire-steel and burned one of the Slmurgh's feathers in the flame. Straightway it appeared, and by the majesty of its