THE ENCHANTED HEAD 207
' The head, your master, desires you to open the trunk, and to give me the green purse which you will find in it.'
' I will be back in a moment, good mother,' said he. And three minutes later he placed a purse full of sequins in the old woman's hand.
No one can imagine the joy of the whole family at the sight of all this wealth. The tiny, tumble-down cottage was rebuilt, the girls had new dresses, and their mother ceased selling veils. It was such a new thing to them to have money to spend, that they were not as careful as they might have been, and by-and-by there was not a single coin left in the purse. When this happened their hearts sank within them, and their faces fell.
' Have you spent your fortune ? ' asked the head from its corner, when it saw how sad they looked. ' Well, then, go at midnight, good mother, to the bridge, and call out " Mahomet! " three times, as loud as you can. A negro will appear in answer, and you must tell him to open the trunk, and to give you the red purse which he will find there.'
The old woman did not need twice telling, but set off at once for the bridge.
' Mahomet! Mahomet! Mahomet!' cried she, with all her might; and in an instant a negro, still larger than the last, stood before her.
' What do you want ? ' asked he.
' The head, your master, bids you open the trunk, and to give me the red purse which you will find in it.'
' Very well, good mother, I will do so,' answered the negro, and, the moment after he had vanished, he reappeared with the purse in his hand.
This time the money seemed so endless that the old woman built herself a new house, and filled it with the most beautiful things that were to be found in the shops. Her daughters were always wrapped in veils that looked as if they were woven out of sunbeams, and their dresses shone with precious stones. The neighbours wondered