THE STORY OF A GAZELLE 133
ing up to him, gave him greeting. The sultan answered politely, and inquired where it had left its master, whom it had promised to bring back.
' Alas! ' replied the gazelle, ' he is lying in the forest, for on our way here we were met by robbers, who, after beating and robbing him, took away all his clothes. And he is now hiding under a bush, lest a passing stranger might see him.'
The sultan, on hearing what had happened to his future son-in-law, turned his horse and rode to the palace, and bade a groom to harness the best horse in the stable and order a woman slave to bring a bag of clothes, such as a man might want, out of the chest; and he chose out a tunic and a turban and a sash for the waist, and fetched himself a gold-hilted sword, and a dagger and a pair of sandals, and a stick of sweet-smelling wood.
' Now,' said he to the gazelle, ' take these things with the soldiers to- the sultan, that he may be able to come.'
And the gazelle answered : ' Can I take those soldiers to go and put my master to shame as he lies there naked? I am enough by myself, my lord.'
' How will you be enough,' asked the sultan, 'to manage this horse and all these clothes ? '
' Oh, that is easily done,' replied the gazelle. ' Fasten the horse to my neck and tie the clothes to the back of the horse, and be sure they are fixed firmly, as I shall go faster than he does.'
Everything was carried out as the gazelle had ordered, and when all was ready it said to the sultan : ' Farewell, my lord, I am going.'
'Farewell, gazelle,' answered the sultan; ' when shall we see you again ? '
'To-morrow about five,' replied the gazelle, and, giving a tug to the horse's rein, they set off .at a gallop.
The sultan watched them till they were out of sight: