WALI DAD THE SIMPLE-HEARTED 319
things ready, he set out for Nekabad with this new and princely gift.
This time the prince, too, was embarrassed, and questioned the merchant closely. The merchant felt that his credit was at stake, and whilst inwardly determining that he would not carry the joke any further, could not help describing Wali Dad in such glowing terms that the old man would never have known himself had he heard them. The prince, like the king of Khaistan, determined that he would send in return a gift that would be truly royal, and which would perhaps prevent the unknown giver sending him anything more. So he made up a caravan of twenty splendid horses caparisoned in gold embroidered cloths, with fine morocco saddles and silver bridles and stirrups, also twenty camels of the best breed, which had the speed of race-horses, and could swing along at a trot all day without getting tired ; and, lastly, twenty elephants, with magnificent silver howdahs and coverings of silk embroidered with pearls. To take care of these animals the merchant hired a little army of men ; and the troop made a great show as they travelled along.
When Wali Dad from a distance saw the cloud of dust which the caravan made, and the glitter of its appointments, he said to himself: ' By Allah! here's a grand crowd coming ! Elephants, too! Grass will be selling well to-day ! ' And with that he hurried off to the jungle and cut grass as fast as he could. As soon as he got back he found the caravan had stopped at his door, and the merchant was waiting, a little anxiously, to tell him the news and to congratulate him upon his riches.
' Eiches !' cried Wali Dad, ' what has an old man like me with one foot in the grave to do with riches ? That beautiful young princess, now ! She'd be the one to enjoy all these fine things! Do you take for yourself two horses, two camels, and two elephants, with all their trappings, and present the rest to her.'
The merchant at first objected to these remarks, and