THE GOLDEN-HEADED FISH 181
diligently from sunrise to sunset, but though they caught large multitudes of fishes, not one of them had a golden head.
' It is quite useless now,' said the prince on the very last night. ' Even if we find it this evening, the hundred days will be over in an hour, and long before we could reach the Egyptian capital the doctor will be on his way home. Still, I will go out again, and cast the net once more myself.' And so he did, and at the very moment that the hundred days were up, he drew in the net with the Golden-headed Eish entangled in its meshes.
' Success has come, but, as happens often, it is too late,' murmured the young man, who had studied in the schools of philosophy; ' but, all the same, put the fish in that vessel full of water, and we will take it back to show my father that we have done what we could.' But when he drew near the fish it looked up at him with such piteous eyes that he could not make up his mind to condemn it to death. For he knew well that, though the doctors of his own country were ignorant of the secret of the ointment, they would do all in their power to extract something from the fish's blood. So he picked up the prize of so much labour, and threw it back into the sea, and then began his journey back to the palace. When at last he reached it he found the king in a high fever, caused by his disappointment, and he refused to believe the story told him by his son.
' Your head shall pay for it! Your head shall pay for it!' cried he ; and bade the courtiers instantly summon the executioner to the palace.
But of course somebody ran at once to the queen, and told her of the king's order, and she put common clothes on the prince, and filled his pockets with gold, and hurried him on board a ship which was sailing that night for a distant island.
' Your father will repent some day, and then he will