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The Ogress Of Silver Land
by [?]

Now the Prince BULLEBOYE was of a very different disposition. When he received the message of SOOPAH INTENDENT he bowed his head, and said, “It is the will of God.” Then he rose; and without speaking a word entered the gates of his palace. But his wife, the peerless MAREE JAHANN, perceiving the gravity of his countenance, said, “Why is my lord cast down and silent? Why are those rare and priceless pearls, his words, shut up so tightly between those gorgeous oyster-shells, his lips?” But to this he made no reply. Thinking further to divert him, she brought her lute into the chamber and stood before him, and sang the song and danced the dance of BEN KOTTON, which is called IBRAHIM’s DAUGHTER, but she could not lift the veil of sadness from his brow.

When she had ceased, the Prince BULLEBOYE arose and said, “Allah is great, and what am I, his servant, but the dust of the earth! Lo, this day has my godmother sickened unto death, and my STOKH become as a withered palm-leaf. Call hither my servants and camel-drivers, and the merchants that have furnished me with stuffs, and the beggars who have feasted at my table, and bid them take all that is here, for it is mine no longer!” With these words he buried his face in his mantle and wept aloud.

But MAREE JAHANN, his wife, plucked him by the sleeve. “Prithee, my lord,” said she, “bethink thee of the BROKAH or scrivener, who besought thee but yesterday to share thy STOKH with him and gave thee his bond for fifty thousand sequins.” But the noble Prince BULLEBOYE, raising his head, said: “Shall I sell to him for fifty thousand sequins that which I know is not worth a SOO MARKEE? For is not all the BROKAH’S wealth, even his wife and children, pledged on that bond? Shall I ruin him to save myself? Allah forbid! Rather let me eat the salt fish of honest penury, than the kibobs of dishonorable affluence; rather let me wallow in the mire of virtuous oblivion, than repose on the divan of luxurious wickedness.”

When the prince had given utterance to this beautiful and edifying sentiment, a strain of gentle music was heard, and the rear wall of the apartment, which had been ingeniously constructed like a flat, opened and discovered the Ogress of SILVER LAND in the glare of blue fire, seated on a triumphal car attached to two ropes which were connected with the flies, in the very act of blessing the unconscious prince. When the walls closed again without attracting his attention, Prince BULLEBOYE arose, dressed himself in his coarsest and cheapest stuffs, and sprinkled ashes on his head, and in this guise, having embraced his wife, went forth into the bazaars. In this it will be perceived how differently the good Prince BULLEBOYE acted from the wicked Prince BADFELLAH, who put on his gayest garments to simulate and deceive.

Now when Prince BULLEBOYE entered the chief bazaar, where the merchants of the city were gathered in council, he stood up in his accustomed place, and all that were there held their breath, for the noble Prince BULLEBOYE was much respected. “Let the BROKAH, whose bond I hold for fifty thousand sequins, stand forth!” said the prince. And the BROKAH stood forth from among the merchants. Then said the prince: “Here is thy bond for fifty thousand sequins, for which I was to deliver unto thee one half of my STOKH. Know, then, O my brother,–and thou, too, O Aga of the BROKAHS,–that this my STOKH which I pledged to thee is worthless. For my godmother, the Ogress of SILVER LAND, is dying. Thus do I release thee from thy bond, and from the poverty which might overtake thee as it has even me, thy brother, the Prince BULLEBOYE.” And with that the noble Prince BULLEBOYE tore the bond of the BROKAH into pieces and scattered it to the four winds.