The Fish-Peri (cont.)
Now the Padishah demanded a bridge of crystal. Again the youth went home and wept. When the maiden heard the cause of his new grief she said: "Go to the Arab as before and ask him for a bolster. When you get it, cast it in the sea before the palace." The youth did as he was counselled, and looking round, he saw a beautiful bridge of crystal. He went directly to the Padishah and told him that the task was fulfilled.
As a third test, the Padishah now demanded that the youth should prepare such a feast that everyone in the land might eat thereof and yet something should remain over. The young fisherman went home, and while he was absorbed in thought, the maiden inquired what was the matter. On hearing of the new command, she advised: "Go to the Arab and ask him for the coffee-mill, but take care not to turn it on the way." The youth obtained the coffee-mill from the Arab without any difficulty. In bringing it home he began quite unconsciously to turn it, and seven or eight plates of food fell out.
Picking them up, he proceeded homewards.
On the appointed day everyone in the land, in accordance with the Padishah's invitation, repaired to the fisherman's house to take part in the feast. Each guest ate as much as he wanted, and yet in the end a considerable portion of food remained over.
Still obdurate, the Padishah ordered the youth to produce a mule from an egg. The youth described to the maiden his latest task, and she told him to fetch three eggs from the Arab and bring them home without breaking them. He obtained the eggs, but on his way back dropped one and broke it. Out of the egg sprang a great mule, which, after running to and fro, finally plunged into the sea and was seen no more.
The youth arrived home safely with the two remaining eggs. "Where is the third?" asked the maiden.
"It is broken," replied the youth.
The youth carried the eggs to the Padishah and asked permission to mount upon a bench. This being granted, he stood on the bench and threw up the egg. Instantly a mule sprang forth and fell upon the Padishah, who sought in vain to flee. The youth rescued the monarch from his danger, and the mule then ran away and plunged into the sea.
In despair at his inability to find an impossible task for the youth, the Padishah now demanded an infant not more than a day old who could both speak and walk. Still undaunted,, the maiden counselled the youth to go to the Arab with her compliments and inform him that she wished to see his baby nephew. The youth accordingly summoned the Arab and delivered the message. The Arab answered: "He is but an hour old; his mother may not wish to spare him. However, wait a bit, and I will do my best."
To be brief, the Arab went away and soon reappeared with a newly born infant. No sooner did it see the fisherman than it ran up to him and exclaimed: "We are going to Auntie's, are we not?"
The youth took the child home, and immediately it saw the maiden, with the word "Auntie!" it embraced her. On this the youth took the child to the Padishah.
When the child was brought into the presence of the monarch, it stepped up to him, struck him on the face, and thus addressed him: "How is it possible to build a palace of gold and diamonds in forty days? To rear a crystal bridge also in the same time? For one man to feed all the people in the land? For a mule to be produced from an egg?"
At every sentence the child struck him a fresh blow until finally the Padishah cried to the youth that he might keep the maiden himself if only he would deliver him from the terrible infant. The youth then carried the child home. He wedded the maiden, and the rejoicings lasted forty days and forty nights.
Three apples fell from the sky: one belongs to me, another to Husni, the third to the storyteller. Which belongs to me?
Next: The Crow-Peri