Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 3.djvu/51

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shut up from the world in her house, till it befel that the King's daughter was taken with a desire to divert herself in the garden. Now she had never been wont so to do save in company with her nurse; accordingly she sent for her and made friends with her and soothed her sorrow, saying, "I wish to go forth to the garden, that I may divert myself with the sight of its trees and Fruits, and broaden my breast with the scent of its flowers." Replied the old woman, "I hear and obey; but first I would go to my house, and soon I will be with thee." The Princess rejoined, "Go home, but be not long absent from me." So the old woman left her and, repairing to Taj al-Muluk, said to him, "Get thee ready and don thy richest dress and go to the garden and find out the Gardener and salute him and then hide thyself therein." "To hear is to obey" answered he; and she agreed with him upon a signal, after which she returned to the Lady Dunya. As soon as she was gone, the Wazir and Aziz rose and robed Taj al-Muluk in a splendid suit of royal raiment worth five thousand diners, and girt his middle with a girdle of gold set with gems and precious metals. Then they repaired to the garden and found seated at the gate the Keeper who, as soon as he saw the Prince, sprang to his feet and received him with all respect and reverence, and opening the gate, said, "Enter and take thy pleasure in looking at the garden." Now the Gardener knew not that the King's daughter was to visit the place that day; but when Taj al-Muluk had been a little while there, he heard a hubbub and ere he could think, out issued the eunuchs and damsels by the private wicket. The Gardener seeing this came up to the Prince, informed him of her approach and said to him, "O my lord, what is to be done? The Princess Dunya, the King's daughter, is here." Replied the Prince, "Fear not, no harm shall befal thee; for I will hide me somewhere about the garden." So the Keeper exhorted him to the utmost prudence and went away. Presently the Princess entered the garden with her damsels and with the old woman, who said to herself, "If these eunuchs stay with us, we shall not attain our end." So quoth she to the King's daughter, "O my lady, I have somewhat to tell thee which shall ease thy heart." Quoth the Princess, "Say what thou hast to say." "O my lady, rejoined the old woman, "thou hast no need of these eunuchs at a time like the present; nor wilt thou be able to divert thyself at thine ease, whilst they are with us; so send them away;" and the Lady Dunya replied, "Thou speakest sooth" Accordingly she dismissed them and presently began to walk