WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 317
What was he to do with these costly things ? But, presently, after much thought, he begged the merchant to consider whether he did not know of some young prince to whom such treasures might be useful.
' Of course,' cried the merchant, greatly amused ; ' from Delhi to Baghdad, and from Constantinople to Lucknow, I know them all; and there lives none worthier than the gallant and wealthy young prince of Nekabad.'
' Very well, then, take the silks to him, with the blessing of an old man,' said Wali Dad, much relieved to be rid of them.
So, the next time that the merchant journeyed that way he carried the silks with him, and in due course arrived at Nekabad, and sought an audience of the prince. When he was shown into his presence he produced the beautiful gift of silks that Wali Dad had sent, and begge'd the young man to accept them as a humble tribute to his worth and greatness. The prince was much touched by the generosity of the giver, and ordered, as a return present, twelve of the finest breed of horses for which his country was famous to be delivered over to the merchant, to whom also, before he took his leave, he gave a munificent reward for his services.
As before, the merchant at last arrived at home; and next day, he set out for Wali Dad's house with the twelve horses. When the old man saw them coming in the distance he said to himself: ' Here's luck ! a troop of horses coming ! They are sure to want quantities of grass, and I shall sell all I have without having to drag it to market.' Thereupon he rushed off and cut grass as fast as he could. When he got back, with as much grass as he could possibly carry, he was greatly discomfited to find that the horses were all for himself. At first he could not think what to do with them, but, after a little, a brilliant idea struck him ! He gave two to the merchant, and begged him to take the rest to the princess of Khaistan,