Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/219

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189
King Midas and his Ass's Ears.

to play before him. He even tried the pipes himself, and the same result followed. Then the king sent for the fairies, and begged them to remove the ass's ears from the head of the prince. They required that the whole court should be assembled, and, when this was done, in their presence they ordered the prince to take off his cap, when lo! to the delight of the king and queen, it appeared that the boy's deformity had disappeared. From that moment the pipes of the shepherds ceased to repeat "The prince has the ears of an ass."[1]

In one version from Morocco we are told of a beautiful girl captured by a Jew. He hands her over to the Sultan, and in return is appointed Vizier. Her only brother comes to see her; she recognises him, and hides him through fear of her husband. But he is discovered and received by the Sultan into his favour. He was able to play so finely on his reed flute that no one who heard him could abstain from weeping. The Sultan set him to herd his camels, but, as in the tales of Arion and Orpheus,[2] when he played the beasts could no longer feed, and were obliged to listen to his playing. Hence they fell off in flesh, and the Sultan reproved the youth, who promised to lead them into better pasture. One day the Sultan ordered the youth to cut his hair, and he discovered that his master had horns on his head. Next morning, when he led forth the camels to graze, he sat by a well and played on his flute. By chance it dropped into the well, and then it produced the sound "The Sultan has horns." The Sultan learnt that the youth had discovered his secret, and he threatened him with death if he disclosed it. By and by the flute took root in the well, grew higher and higher, and ever sang the same words,—"The Sultan has horns." One day the Sultan and his Vizier went to inspect the camels, and found them

  1. Coelho, Contos Populares Portuguezes, 117.
  2. For other parallels to this tale, like that of the Pied Piper, see Somadeva, Kathā-sarit-sāgara, trans. C. H. Tawney, vol. i., 338.