42 THE STORY OF
more, and I should have been dead. So I will do her bidding, and seek out her native town and the man for whom the message was given.'
For a whole month he travelled, till at last he reached the town where Dschemil dwelt, and as luck would have it, there was the young man sitting before his door with his beard unshaven and his shaggy hair hanging over his eyes.
' Welcome, stranger,' said Dschemil, as the man stopped. ' Where have you come from? '
'I come from the west, and go towards the east,' he answered.
'Well, stop with us awhile, and rest and eat!' said Dschemil. And the man entered ; and food was set before him, and he sat dowrn with the father of the maiden and her brothers, and Dschemil. Only Dschemil himself was absent, squatting on the threshold.
' AVhy do you not eat too? ' asked the stranger. But one of the young men whispered hastily:
' Leave him alone. Take no notice ! It is only at night that he ever eats.'
So the stranger went on silently with his food. Suddenly one of Dschernil's brothers called out and said: ' Dschemil, bring us some water!' And the stranger remembered his message and said :
'Is there a man here named "Dschemil" ? I lost my way in the desert, and came to a castle, and a maiden looked out of the window and-----'
' Be quiet,' they cried, fearing that Dschemil might hear. But Dschemil had heard, and came forward and said:
'What did you see? Tell me truly, or I will cut off your head this instant! '
'My lord,' replied the stranger, 'as I was wandering, hot and tired, through the desert, I saw near me a great castle, and I said aloud, " I will rest a little in its shadow." And a maiden looked out of a window and