332 THE SILENT PRINCESS
took the most trouble, and it was certainly he who deserved the lady.'
But the nightingale would not agree ; and they began to quarrel, till a third voice broke in :
' How can you talk such nonsense ?' cried the princess—and as she spoke a sound of tearing was heard. ' Why, you have never even thought of Jagdschi, who lay for three hours in the grave, with a stone held over his head! Of course it was he whom the lady chose for her husband!'
It was not many minutes before the news reached the sultan ; but even now he would not consent to the marriage till his daughter had spoken a third time. On hearing this, the young man took counsel with the nightingale how best to accomplish this, and the bird told him that as the princess, in her fury at having fallen into the snare laid for her, had ordered the pillar to be broken in pieces, he must be hidden in the folds of a curtain that hung by the door.
The following evening the prince entered the palace, and walked boldly up to the princess's apartments. As he entered the nightingale flew from under his arm and perched himself on top of the door, where he was entirely concealed by the folds of the dark curtain. The young man talked as usual to the princess without obtaining a single word in reply, and at length he left her lying under the heap of shining veils—now rent in many places—and crossed the room towards the door, from which came a voice that gladly answered him.
For a while the two talked together; then the nightingale asked if the prince was fond of stories, as he had lately heard one which interested and perplexed him greatly. In reply, the prince begged that he might hear it at once, and without further delay the nightingale began:
' Once upon a time, a carpenter, a tailor, and a student set out together to see the world. After wandering