STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF HALI 211
courage and made friends very easily; still, not only was it the first time he had left the village where he had been brought up, but no one had ever spoken to him of Constantinople, and he did not so much as know the name of a single street or of a creature who lived in it.
Wondering what he was to do next, Neangir stood still for a moment to look about him, when suddenly a pleasant-looking man came up, and bowing politely, asked if the youth would do him the honour of staying in his house till he had made some plans for himself. Neangir, not seeing anything else he could do, accepted the stranger's offer and followed him home.
They entered a large room, where a girl of about twelve years old was laying three places at the table.
' Zelida,' said the stranger, ' was I not quite right when I told you that I should bring back a friend to sup with us?'
' My father,' replied the girl, ' you are always right in what you say, and what is better still, you never mislead others.' As she spoke, an old slave placed on the table a dish called pillau, made of rice and meat, which is a great favourite among people in the East, and setting down glasses of sherbet before each person, left the room quietly.
During the meal the host talked a great deal upon all sorts of subjects ; but Neangir did nothing but look at Zelida, as far as he could without being positively rude.
The girl blushed and grew uncomfortable, and at last turned to her father. ' The stranger's eyes never wander from me,' she said in a low and hesitating voice. ' If Hassan should hear of it, jealousy will make him mad.'
' No, no,' replied the father, ' you are certainly not for this young man. Did I not tell you before that I intend him for your sister Argentine. I will at once take measures to fix his heart upon her,' and he rose and opened a cupboard, from which he took some fruits and a