KUPTI AND IMANI
The servant saluted and left the king's presence. He walked about the market for some time crying: ' Has anyone patience to sell ? patience to sell ?' And some of the people mocked, and some (who had no patience) told him to go away and not be a fool; and some said: ' The fellow's mad ! As though one could buy or sell patience!'
At length it came to the ears of the king of Dur that there was a madman in the market trying to buy patience. And the king laughed and said :
' I should like to see that fellow, bring him here!'
And immediately his attendants went to seek the man, and brought him to the king, who asked:
' What is this you want ?'
And the man replied : ' Sire ! I am bidden to ask for patience.'
' Oh,' said the king,' you must have a strange master! What does he want with it ?'
' My master wants it as a present for his daughter Imani,' replied the servant.
' Well,' said the king, ' I know of some patience which the young lady might have if she cares for it; but it is not to be bought.'
Now the king's name was Subbar Khan, and Subbar means ' patience '; but the messenger did not know that, or understand that he was making a joke. However, he declared that the princess Imani was not only young and beautiful, but also the cleverest, most industrious, and kindest-hearted of princesses ; and he would have gone on explaining her virtues had not the king laughingly put up his hand and stopped him saying :
' Well, well, wait a minute, and I will see what can be done.'
With that he got up and went to his own apartments and took out a little casket. Into the casket he put a fan, and shutting it up carefully he brought it to the messenger and said: