THE STORY OF ZOULVISIA 217
youngest became king, and he also proclaimed a hunt in the mountain, a loud lament was raised in the city.
' "Who will reign over us when you are dead ? For dead you surely will be,' cried they. ' Stay with us, and we will make you happy.' And for a while he listened to their prayers, and the land grew rich and prosperous under his rule. But in a few years the restless fit again took possession of him, and this time he would hear nothing. Hunt in that forest he would, and calling his friends and attendants round him, he set out one morning across the desert.
They were riding through a rocky valley, when a deer sprang up in front of them and bounded away. The king instantly gave chase, followed by his attendants ; but the animal ran so swiftly that they never could get up to it, and at length it vanished in the depths of the forest.
Then the young man drew rein for the first time, and looked about him. He had left his companions far behind, and, glancing back, he beheld them entering some tents, dotted here and there amongst the trees. For himself, the fresh coolness of the woods was more attractive to him than any food, however delicious, and for hours he strolled about as his fancy led him.
By-and-by, however, it began to grow dark, and he thought that the moment had arrived for them to start for the palace. So, leaving the forest with a sigh, he made his way down to the tents, but what was his horror to find his men lying about, some dead, some dying. These were past speech, but speech was needless. It was as clear as day that the wine they had drunk contained deadly poison.
' I am too late to help you, my poor friends,' he said, gazing at them sadly ; ' but at least I can avenge you! Those that have set the snare will certainly return to see to its working. I will hide myself somewhere, and discover who they are !'