208 THE ENCHANTED HEAD
where all this sudden wealth had sprung from, but nobody knew about the head.
' Good mother,' said the head, one day, ' this morning you are to go to the city and ask the sultan to give me his daughter for my bride.'
' Do what ?' asked the old woman in amazement. ' How can I tell the sultan that a head without a body wishes to become his son-in-law ? They will think that I am mad, and I shall be hooted from the palace and stoned by the children.'
' Do as I bid you,' replied the head ; ' it is my will.'
The old woman was afraid to say anything more, and, putting on her richest clothes, started for the palace. The sultan granted her an audience at once, and, in a trembling voice, she made her request.
' Are you mad, old woman ? ' said the sultan, staring at her.
' The wooer is powerful, 0 Sultan, and nothing is impossible to him.'
' Is that true ? '
' It is, 0 Sultan ; I swear it,' answered she.
' Then let him show his power by doing three things, and I will give him my daughter.'
' Command, 0 gracious prince,' said she.
' Do you see that hill in front of the palace ? ' asked the sultan.
' I see it,' answered she.
' Well, in forty days the man who has sent you must make that hill vanish, and plant a beautiful garden in its place. That is the first thing. Now go, and tell him what I say.'
So the old woman returned and told the head the sultan's first condition.
' It is well,' he replied; and said no more about it.
For thirty-nine days the head remained in its favourite corner. The old woman thought that the task set before him was beyond his powers, and that no more would be