114 THE STORY OF BENSURDATU
on the wall, which had never been there before. He took it down to examine it, and nearly let it fall with surprise when a voice came from the purse saying: ' What commands have you?'
' Oh, take me out of this horrible place, and up into the world again ; ' and in a moment he was (standing by the river bank, with the purse tightly grasped in his hand.
' Now let me have the most beautiful ship that ever was built, all manned and ready for sea.' And there was the ship, with a flag floating from its mast on which were the words, ' King with the three crowns.' Then Bensur-datu climbed on board, and sailed away to the city where the three princesses dwelt; and when he reached the harbour he blew trumpets and beat drums, so that every one ran to the doors and windows. And the king heard too, and saw the beautiful vessel, and said to himself: ' That must indeed be a mighty monarch, for he has three crowns while I have only one.' So he hastened to greet the stranger, and invited him to his castle, for, thought he, ' this will be a fine husband for my youngest daughter.' Now, the youngest princess had never married, and had turned a deaf ear to all her wooers.
Such a long time had passed since Bensurdatu had left the palace, that the king never guessed for a moment that the splendidly clad stranger before him was the man whom he had so deeply mourned as dead. ' Noble lord,' said he, ' let us feast and make merry together, and then, if it seem good to you, do me the honour to take my youngest daughter to wife.'
And Bensurdatu was glad, and they all sat down to a great feast, and there were great rejoicings. But only the youngest daughter was sad, for her thoughts were with Bensurdatu. After they arose from the table the king said to her, ' Dear child, this mighty lord does you the honour to ask your hand in marriage.'
' Oh, father,' answered she, ' spare me, I pray you, for I desire to remain single.'