238 GRASP ALL, LOSE ALL
was nearly out of her mind with delight. Then, as she turned them over and over in her hands, she said : ' Ah ! if I had eight more such gems, what a necklace they would make ! Get me eight more of them or I shall die ! '
' Most unreasonable of women,' cried the rajah, ' where am I to get eight more such jewels as these ? I gave ten villages for them, and yet you are not satisfied !'
' What does it matter ?' said the rani; ' do you want me to die ? Surely you can get some more where these came from ? ' And then she fell to weeping and wailing until the rajah promised that in the morning he would make arrangements to get some more such rubies, and that if she would be patient she should have her desire.
In the morning the rajah sent for the wazir, and said that he must manage to get eight more rubies like those he had brought him the day before, ' and if you don't I shall hang you,' cried the rajah, for he was very cross. The poor wazir protested in vain that he knew not where to seek them; his master would not listen to a word he said.
' You must,' said he ; ' the rani shall not die for the want of a few rubies ! Get more where those came from.'
The wazir left the palace, much troubled in mind, and bade his slaves bring Lena before him. ' Get me eight more such rubies as those you brought yesterday,' commanded the wazir, directly the banker was shown into his presence. ' Eight more, and be quick, or I am a dead man.'
' But how can I ? ' wailed Lena ; ' rubies like those don't grow upon bushes !'
' Where did you get them from ?' asked the wazir.
' From Dena, the oil-seller,' said the banker.
' Well, send for him and ask him where he got them,' answered the wazir. ' I am not going to hang for twenty Denas!' And more slaves were sent to summon Dena.