358 DON GIOVANNI DE LA FORTUNA
room with gold;' and when the eight days were up it was so full you could not have put in another sovereign.
When the owner of the house came to take awray his money Don Giovanni led him into the room and said: ' There, just pocket what you want.' The gentleman stared with open mouth at the astonishing sight; but he had given his word to sell the house, so he took his money, as he was told, and went away with his wife to look for some place to live in. And Don Giovanni left the inn and dwelt in the beautiful rooms, where his rags and dirt looked sadly out of place. And every day these got worse and worse.
By-and-bye the fame of his riches reached the ears of the king, and, as he himself was always in need of money, he sent for Don Giovanni, as he wished to borrow a large sum. Don Giovanni readily agreed to lend him what he wanted, and sent next day a huge wagon laden with sacks of gold.
' Who can he be ? ' thought the king to himself. ' Why, he is much richer than I!'
The king took as much as he had need of; then ordered the rest to be returned to Don Giovanni, who refused to receive it, saying, ' Tell his majesty I am much hurt at his proposal. I shall certainly not take back that handful of gold, and, if he declines to accept it, keep it yourself.'
The servant departed and delivered the message, and the king wToudered more than ever how anyone could be so rich. At last he spoke to the queen : ' Dear wife, this man has done me a great service, and has, besides, behaved like a gentleman in not allowing me to send back the money. I wish to give him the hand of our eldest daughter.'
The queen was quite pleased at this idea, and again a messenger was sent to Don Giovanni, offering him the hand of the eldest princess.
' His majesty is too good,' he replied. ' I can only humbly accept the honour.'