104 THE THANKSGIVING OF THE WAZIR
As the door opened to receive him, the wazir muttered something into his great white beard which the soldiers could not hear.
' What said the rascal ?' shouted the angry king.
He says, ' he thanks your majesty,' replied one of the gaolers. And at his words, the king stared at the closing door, in anger and amazement.
' He must be mad,' he cried, ' for he is grateful, not only for the misfortunes of others, but for his own; surely something has turned his head !'
Now the king was very fond of his old wazir, and although the court physician came and bound up his injured finger with cool and healing ointment, and soothed the pain, he could not soothe the soreness of the king's heart, nor could any of all his ministers and courtiers, who found his majesty very cross all the day long.
Early next morning the king ordered his horse and declared that he would go hunting. Instantly all was bustle and preparation in stable and hall, and by the time he was ready a score of ministers and huntsmen stood ready to mount and accompany him ; but to their astonishment the king would have none of them. Indeed, he glared at them so fiercely that they were glad to leave him. So away and away he wandered, over field and through forest, so moody and thoughtful that many a fat buck and gaudy pheasant escaped without notice, and so careless was he whither he was going that he strayed without perceiving it over into the rajah's territory, and only discovered the fact when, suddenly, men stepped from all sides out of a thicket, and there was nothing left but surrender. Then the poor badshah was seized and bound and taken to the rajah's prison, thinking most of the time of his wazir, who was suffering a similar fate, and wishing that, like the wazir, he could feel that there was something to give thanks for.