to your mistress, and throw yourself at her feet and weep, and perhaps she will help us.'
'Oh, you had much better go,' said the wife. 'I shall not know what to say.'
'Well, then, stay at home, if you like,' answered Abu Nowas, 'and I will ask to be admitted to the Sultan's presence, and will tell him, with sobs, that my wife is dead, and that I have no money for her burial. When he hears that perhaps he will give us something.'
'Yes, that is a good plan,' said the wife; and Abu Nowas set out.
The Sultan was sitting in the hall of justice when Abu Nowas entered, his eyes streaming with tears, for he had rubbed some pepper into them. They smarted dreadfully, and he could hardly see to walk straight, and everyone wondered what was the matter with him.
'Abu Nowas! What has happened?' cried the Sultan.
'Oh, noble Sultan, my wife is dead,' wept he.
'We must all die,' answered the Sultan; but this was not the reply for which Abu Nowas had hoped.
'True, O Sultan, but I have neither shroud to wrap her in, nor money to bury her with,' went on Abu Nowas, in no wise abashed by the way the Sultan had received his news.
'Well, give him a hundred pieces of gold,' said the Sultan, turning to the Grand Vizir. And when the money was counted out Abu Nowas bowed low, and left the hall, his tears still flowing, but with joy in his heart.
'Have you got anything?' cried his wife, who was waiting for him anxiously.
'Yes, a hundred gold pieces,' said he, throwing down the bag, 'but that will not last us any time. Now you must go to the Sultana, clothed in sackcloth and robes of mourning, and tell her that your husband, Abu Nowas, is dead, and you have no money for his burial. When she hears that, she will be sure to ask you what has become of the money