DSCHEMIL AND DSCHEMILA 55
where his father and mother, his brothers and neighbours, greeted him joyfully.
' When did you come back ?' said they, ' and have you found Dschemila?'
' No, I searched the whole world after her, and could hear nothing of her.'
' Did you part company with the man who started with you ?'
' Yes; after three days he got so weak and useless he could not go on. It must be a month by now since he reached home again. I went on and visited every castle, and looked in every house. But there were no signs of her; and so I gave it up.'
And they answered him : ' We told you before that it was no good. An ogre or an ogress must have snapped her up, and how can you expect to find her?'
' I loved her too much to be still,' he said.
But his friends did not understand, and soon they spoke to him again about it.
' We will seek for a wife for you. There are plenty of girls prettier than Dschemila.'
I dare say; but I don't want them.'
' But what will you do with all the cushions and carpets, and beautiful things you bought for your house? '
' They can stay in the chests.'
' But the moths will eat them! For a few weeks, it is of no consequence, but after a year or two they will be quite useless.'
' And if they have to lie there ten years I will have Dschemiln, and her only, for my wife. For a month, or even two months, I will rest here quietly. Then I will go and seek her afresh.'
'Oh, you are quite mad! Is she the only maiden in the world? There are plenty of others better worth having than she is.'
' If there are I have not seen them! And why do