34 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS
look into the nest first for to kill an innocent person would condemn us at the Day of Eesurrection.' They flew nearer, and presently the young birds woke and cried, ' Mother, what have you brought for us ?' and they told the whole story of the fight, and of how they were alive only by the favour of the young man under the tree, and of his cutting up the dragon and of their eating it. The mother-bird then remarked, ' Truly, father ! you were about to do a strange thing, and a terrible sin has been averted from you.' Then the Simurgh flew off to a distance with the great stone and dropped it. It sank down to the very middle of the earth.
Coming back, the Simurgh saw that a little sunshine fell upon the prince through the leaves, and it spread its wings and shaded him till he woke. When he got up he salaamed to it, who returned his greeting with joy and gratitude, and caressed him and said: ' O youth, tell me true ! who are you, and where are you going ? And how did you cross that pitiless desert where never yet foot of man had trod ? ' The prince told his story from beginning to end, and finished by saying : ' Now it is my heart's wish that you should help me to get to Waq of the Caucasus. Perhaps, by your favour, I shall accomplish my task and avenge my brothers.' In reply the Simurgh first blessed the deliverer of his children, and then went on : ' What you have done no child of man has ever done before ; you assuredly have a claim on all my help, for every year up till now that dragon has come here and has destroyed my nestlings, and I have never been able to find who was the murderer and to avenge myself. By God's grace you have removed my children's powerful foe. I regard you as a child of my own. Stay with me; I will give you everything you desire, and I will establish a city here for you, and will furnish it with every requisite; I will give you the land of the Caucasus, and will make its princes subject to you. Give up the journey to Waq, it is full of risk, and the jins there will certainly kill you.' But