DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND 151
if this man began making a fuss again he would lose the confidence of these new and richer customers; so he controlled himself, and answered :
' Dear me, of course, yes ! I had forgotten all about it.' And he went off and brought the little box and put it into the merchant's trembling hands. Quickly the latter pulled out the key, which hung by a string round his neck, and opened the box ; and when he saw that his treasures were all there he rushed into the road, and, with the box under his arm, began dancing like a madman, with great shouts and screams of laughter. Just then a messenger came running up and, saluting the gentleman attending the palanquin, he said:
' The lady's husband has returned, and is prepared to travel with her, so that there is no necessity to deposit the jewels.' Whereat the gentleman quickly closed and re-locked the box, and handed it back to the waiting servant. Then from the palanquin came a yell of laughter, and out jumped—not a lady—but Kooshy Earn, who immediately ran and joined the merchant in the middle of the road and danced as madly as he. Beeka Mull stood and stared stupidly at them ; then, with a shrill cackle of laughter, he flung off his turban, bounced out into the road with the other two, and fell to dancing and snapping his fingers until he was out of breath.
' Lala-ji,' said the gentleman who had played the part of the relative attendant on the palanquin, ' why do you dance ? The merchant dances because he has recovered his fortune ; Kooshy Earn dances because he is a madman and has tricked you ; but why do you dance ?'
' I dance,' panted Beeka Earn, glaring at him with a bloodshot eye, ' I dance because I knew thirteen different ways of deceiving people by pretending confidence in them. I didn't know there were any more,, and now here's a fourteenth ! That's why I dance !'
[Punjabi story, Major Campbell, Feroshepore.]