220 STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF HALI
on the ground near a thick hedge, and when I heard my captor snoring beside me I resolved to make my escape. So I pushed my way among the thorns as well as I could, and walked on steadily for about an hour.
' You cannot imagine, my lord, how awkward it is to walk with three legs, especially when your knees are as stiff as mine were. At length after much difficulty I reached a market-garden, and hid myself deep down among the cabbages, where I passed a quiet night.
' The next morning, at sunrise, I felt some one stooping over me and examining me closely. "What have you got there, Zinebi?" said the voice of a man a little way off.
' " The most beautiful pot in the whole world,"answered the woman beside me, "and who would have dreamed of rinding it among my cabbages ! "
' Mohammed lifted me from the ground and looked at me with admiration. That pleased me, for every one likes to be admired, even if he is only a pot! And I was taken into the house and filled with water, and put on the fire to boil.
' For three years I led a quiet and useful life, being scrubbed bright every day by Zinebi, then a young and beautiful woman.
' One morning Zinebi set me on the fire, with a fine fillet of beef inside me to cook, for dinner. Being afraid that some of the steam would escape through the lid, and that the taste of her stew would be spoilt, she looked about for something to put over the cover, but could see nothing handy but her husband's turban. She tied it firmly round the lid, and then left the room. For the first time during three years I began to feel the fire burning the soles of my feet, and moved away a little — doing this with a great deal more ease than I had felt when making my escape to Mohammed's garden. I Avas somehow aware, too, that I was growing taller; in fact in a few minutes J was a man again.