146 THE STORY OF A GAZELLE
When the news spread abroad, there was much weeping among the people, and Sultan Darai arose in wrath, and cried, ' You weep for that gazelle as if you wept for me! And, after all, what is it but a gazelle, that I bought for an eighth ?'
But his wife answered, ' Master, we looked upon that gazelle as we looked upon you. It was the gazelle who came to ask me of my father, it was the gazelle who brought me from my father, and I was given in charge to the gazelle by my father.'
And when the people heard her they lifted up their voices and spoke:
' We never saw you, we saw the gazelle. It was the gazelle who met with trouble here, it was the gazelle who met with rest here. So, then, when such an one departs from this world we weep for ourselves, we do not weep for the gazelle.'
And they said furthermore :
' The gazelle did you much good, and if anyone says he could have done more for you he is a liar! Therefore, to us who have done you no good, what treatment will you give? The gazelle has died from bitterness of soul, and you ordered your slaves to throw it into the well. Ah! leave us alone that we may weep.'
But Sultan Darai would not heed their words, and the dead gazelle was thrown into the well.
When the mistress heard of it, she sent three slaves, mounted on donkeys, with a letter to her father the sultan, and when the sultan had read the letter he bowed his head and wept, like a man who had lost his mother. And he commanded horses to be saddled, and called the governor and the judges and all the rich men, and said:
' Come now with me; let us go and bury it.'
Night and day they travelled, till the sultan came to the well where the gazelle had been thrown. And it was a large well, built round a rock, with room for many people ;