THE STORY OF ZOULVISIA 223
bidden him, and when he stepped forth from the cave, their eyes met.
' You have conquered me,' said Zoulvisia, ' and are worthy to be my husband, for you are the first man who has not died at the sound of my voice !' And letting down her golden hair, she drew up the king to the summit of the tower as with a rope. Then she led him into the hall of audience, and presented him to her household.
' Ask of me what you will, and I will grant it to you,' whispered Zoulvisia with a smile, as they sat together on a mossy bank by the stream. And the king prayed her to set free the old man to whom he owed his life, and to send him back to his own country.
' I have finished with hunting, and with riding about my lands,' said Zoulvisia, the day that they were married. ' The care of providing for us all belongs henceforth to you.' And turning to her attendants, she bade them bring the horse of fire before her.
' This is your master, 0 my steed of flame,' cried she ; ' and you will serve him as you have served me.' And kissing him between his eyes, she placed the bridle in the hand of her husband.
The horse looked for a moment at the young man, and then bent his head, while the king patted his neck and smoothed his tail, till they felt themselves old friends. After this he mounted to do Zoulvisia's bidding, but before he started she gave him a case of pearls containing one of her hairs, which he tucked into the breast of his coat.
He rode along for some time, without seeing any game to bring home for dinner. Suddenly a fine stag started up almost under his feet, and he at once gave chase. On they sped, but the stag twisted and turned so that the king had no chance of a shot till they reached a broad river, when the animal jumped in and swam across. The king fitted his cross-bow with a bolt, and