Patience-Stone and Patience-Knife (cont.)
Seeing the paper the Arab girl read it, and while the maiden was away, the youth woke up. Looking about him, he saw the Arab, embraced her, and called her his promised wife.
The poor maiden could scarcely believe her own eyes when she returned to the apartment, and her astonishment was complete when the Arab woman addressed her: "I, a Sultan's daughter, am not ashamed to go in this dishabille, and yet this domestic dares to appear before me in such finery!"
She drove her forth from the room and told her to go to the kitchen and mind her work. The Bey could not help wondering what it meant, but he could say nothing; the Arab was his wife and the other — the cook!
The feast of Bairam was approaching, and in accordance with custom, the Bey desired to make presents to all his servants. He inquired of the Arab what present she would prefer. She requested a garment which neither needle had sewn nor scissors cut. Then the Bey went to the kitchen and asked the maiden what she would like.
"A yellow patience-stone and a brown patience-knife — please bring me both," said she.
The Bey departed and bought the garment, but the patience-stone and patience-knife he could find nowhere. He would not return without them if he could avoid it, so he entered a ship.
When the ship had accomplished half its voyage it came suddenly to a full stop, and would go neither forward nor backward. The captain was alarmed and, calling the passengers together, he informed them that there must be a man on board who had failed to keep his word; that was why they could not proceed. Then the Bey stepped forth and confessed that he was the man. He was accordingly put ashore that he might fulfil his promise and then return to the vessel.
The Bey went from one place to another till at length he stopped at a large spring. Hardly had he leaned against the stone when a thick-lipped Arab appeared and asked what he wanted. "A yellow patience-stone and a brown patience-knife," he replied. The next moment the two articles were placed in the Bey's hand, and he went joyfully back to the vessel, and in due course returned home in time for the Bairam festivities. He gave his wife the garment and took the patience-stone and patience-knife into the kitchen.
The Bey became curious to know what the maiden would do with the things, so one night he stole into the kitchen and hid himself to await developments. Presently the maiden took the knife in her hand, set the stone before her, and began to relate her life story.
The maiden further related how she came to the palace of the Bey, how she had prayed by him and fanned him for forty days, and how finally she had asked the Arab woman to relieve her for a few minutes while she went to wash herself and put things in order. The stone swelled up still more, and gasped and foamed as though it were about to burst.
Proceeding, the maiden related how the Arab woman had deceived her, and how the Bey had taken the Arab woman and not herself to be his wife. As though the stone had a heart, it gasped and swelled, and when the maiden had finished her narrative it could endure no more, but split asunder.
Now the maiden took up the knife and cried: "O yellow patience-stone, though you are stone you cannot bear it; must then I, a weak maiden, bear it?"
She would now have plunged the knife into her own body had not the Bey sprung from his hiding-place and stayed her hand. "You are my true kismet!" exclaimed the youth, and he took her to the place of the Arab woman.
The false one was put to death, and the maiden's mother was sent for to the palace, where they all lived happily ever after.
Sometimes a little bird flies in at the palace window and joyously sings: "O maid! O happy maid! You have found your kismet."
Next: The Imp of the Well