THE ENCHANTED HEAD 209
heard about the sultan's daughter. But on the thirty-ninth evening after her visit to the palace, the head suddenly spoke.
' Good mother,' he said, ' you must go to-night to the bridge, and when you are there cry " Ali! Ali ! Ali! " as loud as you can. A negro will appear before you, and you will tell him that he is to level the hill, and to make, in its place, the most beautiful garden that ever was seen.'
' I will go at once,' answered she.
It did not take her long to reach the bridge which led to the city, and she took up her position on the spot where she had first seen the head, and called loudly ' Ali! Ali! Ali.' In an instant a negro appeared before her, of such a huge size that the old woman was half frightened ; but his voice was mild and gentle as he said : ' What is it that you want ?'
' Your master bids you level the hill that stands in front of the sultan's palace and in its place to make the most beautiful garden in the world.'
' Tell my master he shall be obeyed,' replied Ali; ' it shall be done this moment.' And the old woman went home and gave Ali's message to the head.
Meanwhile the sultan was in his palace waiting till the fortieth day should dawn, and wondering that not one spadeful of earth should have been dug out of the hill.
' If that old woman has been playing me a trick,' thought he, ' I will hang her ! And I will put up a gallows to-morrow on the hill itself.'
But when to-morrow came there was no hill, and when the sultan opened his eyes he could not imagine why the room was so much lighter than usual, and what was the reason of the sweet smell of flowers that filled the air.
' Can there be a fire ?' he said to himself; ' the sun never came in at this window before. I must get up and see.' So he rose and looked out, and underneath him