40 WHAT THE ROSE DID TO THE CYPRESS
anointers, and we will put an oil on you such that if you were a thousand years in the fire not a trace of burning would remain."
' In the end the two perls took me to the girl's house. I saw her sleeping daintily. She was most lovely, and I was so amazed at the perfection of her beauty that I stood with senses lost, and did not know if she were real or a dream. When at last I saw that she was a real girl, I returned thanks that I, the runner, had come to my goal, and that I, the seeker, had found my treasure.
' When the perl opened her eyes she asked in affright: " Who are you ? Have you come to steal ? How did you get here ? Be quick ! save yourself from this whirlpool of destruction, for the demons and perls who guard me will wake and seize you."
' But love's arrow had struck me deep, and the girl, too, looked kindly on me. I could not go away. For some months I remained hidden in her house. "We did not dare to let her mother know of our love. Sometimes the girl was very sad and fearful lest her mother should come to know. One day her father said to her : " Sweetheart, for some time I have noticed that your beauty is not what it was. How is this ? Has sickness touched you ? Tell me that I may seek a cure." Alas ! there was now no way of concealing the mingled delight and anguish of our love ; from secret it became known. I was put in prison and the world grew dark to my rose, bereft of her lover.
' The perl-king ordered me to be burnt, and said : " Why have you, a man, done this perfidious thing in my house ?" His demons and perls collected ambar-wood and made a pile, and would have set me on it, when I remembered the word of life which the two perls I had rescued had breathed into my ear, and I asked that my body might be rubbed with oil to release, me the sooner from torture. This was allowed, and those two contrived to be the anointers. I was put into the fire and it was