314 STRONGER THAN FATE
a wonderful sight had never been seen, and talked about it to the ends of their lives.
The next day the governor despatched the princess and her bridegroom to the king, with a troop of horsemen, splendidly dressed, and he sent a mounted messenger on before them, with a letter giving the account of the marriage to the king.
When the king got the governor's letter, he grew so red in the face that everyone thought lie was going to have apoplexy. They were all very anxious to know what had happened, but he rushed off and locked himself into a room, where he ramped and raved until he was tired. Then, after awhile, he began to think he had better make the best of it, especially as the old governor had been clever enough to send him back his letter, and. the king was pretty sure that this was in the princess's handwriting. He was fond of his daughter, and though she had behaved so badly, he did not wish to cut her head off, and he did not want people to know the truth because it would make him look foolish. In fact, the more he considered the matter, the more he felt that he would be wise to put a good face on it, and to let people suppose that he had really brought about the marriage of his own free will.
So, when the young couple arrived, the king received them with all state, and gave his son-in-law a province to govern. Nur Mahomed soon proved himself as able and honourable a governor as he was a brave soldier; and, when the old king died, he became king in his place, and reigned long and happily.
Nur Mahomed's old mother lived for a long time in her ' son's ' palace, and died in peace. The princess, his wife, although she had got her husband by a trick, found that she could not trick him, and so she never tried, but busied herself in teaching her children and scolding her maids. As for the old hermit, no trace of him was ever discovered ; but the cave is there, and the leaves lie thick in front of it unto this day.
[Told the writer by an Indian.]