GRASP ALL, LOSE ALL 237
and seize the stones and all else that I have as well. But what a bargain I have got! Four rubies worth a king's ransom, for one hundred rupees ! Well, well, I must take heed not to betray my secret.' And he went on making plans. Presently he made up his mind what to do, and, putting on his cleanest clothes, he set off to the house of the chief wazir, whose name was Musli, and, after seeking a private audience, he brought out the four rubies and laid them before him.
The wazir's eyes sparkled as he beheld the splendid gems.
' Fine, indeed,' murmured he. ' I can't buy them at their real value ; but, if you like to take it, I will give you ten thousand rupees for the four.'
To this the banker consented gratefully; and, handing over the stones in exchange for the rupees, he hurried home, thanking his stars that he had driven such a reasonable bargain and obtained such an enormous profit.
After Lena had departed the wazir began casting about in his mind what to do with the gems; and very soon determined that the best thing to do was to present them to the rajah, whose name was Kahre. Without losing a moment, he went that very day to the palace, and sought a private interview with the rajah; and when he found himself alone with his royal master, he brought the four jewels and laid them before him.
' Oh, ho !' said the rajah, ' these are priceless gems, and you have done well to give them to me. In return I give you and your heirs the revenues of ten villages.'
Now the wazir was overjoyed at these words, but only made his deepest obeisance ; and, whilst the king put the rubies into his turban, hurried away beaming with happiness at the thought that for ten thousand rupees he had become lord of ten villages. The rajah was also equally pleased, and strolled off with his new purchases to the women's quarters and showed them to the queen, who