180 MOHAMMED WITH THE MAGIC FINGER
But he replied: 'How can I eat till I know what has become of them ?'
Then she fetched, from the upper chamber, a box full of money, which she laid before him, saying, ' That is the price of your mother. She sold well.'
' What do you mean ? ' he gasped.
' Oh, your mother complained one day that her head was aching, so I got in two butchers and they agreed to take her. However, I have got her lungs and liver hidden, till you came back, in a safe place.'
' And my sister? '
' Well, while the people were chopping up your mother she ran away, and I heard no more of her.'
' Give me my mother's liver and lungs,' said the young man. And she gave them to him. Then he put them in his pocket, and went away, saying: ' I can stay no longer in this horrible town. I go to seek my sister.'
Now, one day, the little boy stretched out his finger and said to his mother, ' My uncle is coming!'
' Where is he ? ' she asked.
' He is still two days' journey off: looking for us ; but he will soon be here.' And in two days, as the boy had foretold, the uncle had found the hole in the earth, and arrived at the gate of the city. All his money was spent, and not knowing where his sister lived, he began to beg of all the people he saw.
' Here comes my uncle,' called out the little boy:
' Where ? ' asked his mother.
'Here at the house door;' and the woman ran out and embraced him, and wept over him. When they could both speak, he said: ' My sister, were you by when they killed my mother?'
' I was absent when they slew her,' replied she, ' and as I could do nothing, I ran away. But you, my brother, how did you get here ? '
' By chance,' he said, ' after I had wandered far; but I did not know I should find you!'