36 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS
introduce you to him.' ' That would be excellent,' cried the prince. A meeting was arranged between Farrukh-fal and Almas, and then the amir took him to the king's presence and introduced him as a stranger and traveller who had come from afar to sit in the shadow of King Sinaubar.
Now the Simurgh had given the prince a diamond weighing thirty misqals, and he offered this to the king, who at once recognised its value, and asked where it had been obtained. ' I, your slave, once had riches and state and power; there are many such stones in my country. On my way here I was plundered at the Castle of Clashing Swords, and I saved this one thing only, hidden in my bathing-cloth.' In return for the diamond, King Sinaubar showered gifts of much greater value, for he remembered that it was the last possession of the prince. He showed the utmost kindness and hospitality, and gave his vazir orders to instal the prince in the royal guest-house. He took much pleasure in his visitor's society; they were together every day and spent the time most pleasantly. Several times the king said : ' Ask me for something, that I may give it you.' One day he so pressed to know what would pleasure the prince, that the latter said: ' I have only one wish, and that I will name to you in private.' The king at once commanded every one to withdraw, and then Prince Almas said : ' The desire of my life is to know what the rose did to the cypress, and what meaning there is in the words.' The king was astounded. ' In God's name ! if anyone else had said that to me I should have cut off his head instantly.' The prince heard this in silence, and presently so beguiled the king with pleasant talk that to kill him was impossible.
Time flew by, the king again and again begged the prince to ask some gift of him, and always received this same reply : ' I wish for your Majesty's welfare, what more can I desire ? ' One night there was a banquet, and cupbearers carried round gold and silver cups of sparkling