244 STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF HAL I
' My lord shall be obeyed,' said the page, ' but when I return, it shall be in such good company that you will welcome me gladly.' So saying, he wrent out.
When they were alone, Neangir turned to the fair strangers and implored their help. ' My brothers and myself,' he cried, ' are filled with love for three peerless maidens, two of whom are under a cruel spell. If their fate happened to be in your hands, wrould you not do all in your power to restore them to happiness and liberty?'
But the young man's appeal only stirred the two ladies to anger. ' What,' exclaimed one, l are the sorrows of lovers to us? Fate has deprived us of our lovers, and if it depends on us the whole world shall suffer as much as we do! '
This unexpected reply was heard with amazement by all present, and the Bassa entreated the speaker to tell them her story. Having obtained permission of her sister, she began: