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Vizir who was punished.
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So saying, he took the book from the physician's hands, and ordered the
executioner to do his duty.
The head was so cleverly cut off that it fell into the basin, and
directly the blood ceased to flow. Then, to the great astonishment of
the king, the eyes opened, and the head said, "Your majesty, open the
book." The king did so, and finding that the first leaf stuck against
the second, he put his finger in his mouth, to turn it more easily. He
did the same thing till he reached the sixth page, and not seeing any
writing on it, "Physician," he said, "there is no writing."
"Turn over a few more pages," answered the head. The king went on
turning, still putting his finger in his mouth, till the poison in
which each page was dipped took effect. His sight failed him, and he
fell at the foot of his throne.
When the physician's head saw that the poison had taken effect, and
that the king had only a few more minutes to live, "Tyrant," it cried,
"see how cruelty and injustice are punished."
Scarcely had it uttered these words than the king died, and the head
lost also the little life that had remained in it.
That is the end of the story of the Greek king, and now let us return
to the fisherman and the genius.
"If the Greek king," said the fisherman, "had spared the physician, he
would not have thus died. The same thing applies to you. Now I am
going to throw you into the sea."
"My friend," said the genius, "do not do such a cruel thing. Do not
treat me as Imma treated Ateca."
"What did Imma do to Ateca?" asked the fisherman.
"Do you think I can tell you while I am shut up in here?" replied the
genius. "Let me out, and I will make you rich."
The hope of being no longer poor made the fisherman give way.
"If you will give me your promise to do this, I will open the lid. I
do not think you will dare to break your word."
The genius promised, and the fisherman lifted the lid. He came out at
once in smoke, and then, having resumed his proper form, the first
thing he did was to kick the vase into the sea. This frightened the
fisherman, but the genius laughed and said, "Do not be afraid; I only
did it to frighten you, and to show you that I intend to keep my word;
take your nets and follow me."
He began to walk in front of the fisherman, who followed him with some
misgivings. They passed in front of the town, and went up a mountain
and then down into a great plain, where there was a large lake lying
between four hills.
When they reached the lake the genius said to the fisherman, "Throw
your nets and catch fish."
The fisherman did as he was told, hoping for a good catch, as he saw
plenty of fish. What was his astonishment at seeing that there were
four quite different kinds, some white, some red, some blue, and some
yellow. He caught four, one of each colour. As he had never seen any
like them he admired them very much, and he was very pleased to think
how much money he would get for them.
"Take these fish and carry them to the Sultan, who will give you more
money for them than you have ever had in your life. You can come every
day to fish in this lake, but be careful not to throw your nets more
than once every day, otherwise some harm will happen to you. If you
follow my advice carefully you will find it good."
Saying these words, he struck his foot against the ground, which
opened, and when he had disappeared, it closed immediately.
The fisherman resolved to obey the genius exactly, so he did not cast
his nets a second time, but walked into the town to sell his fish at
When the Sultan saw the fish he was much astonished. He looked at them
one after the other, and when he had admired them long enough, "Take
these fish," he said to his first vizir, "and given them to the clever
cook the Emperor of the Greeks sent me. I think they must be as good
as they are beautiful."
The vizir took them himself to the cook, saying, "Here are four fish
that have been brought to the Sultan. He wants you to cook them."
Then he went back to the Sultan, who told him to give the fisherman
four hundred gold pieces. The fisherman, who had never before
possessed such a large sum of money at once, could hardly believe his
good fortune. He at once relieved the needs of his family, and made
good use of it.
But now we must return to the kitchen, which we shall find in great
confusion. The cook, when she had cleaned the fish, put them in a pan
with some oil to fry them. When she thought them cooked enough on one
side she turned them on the other. But scarcely had she done so when
the walls of the kitchen opened, and there came out a young and
beautiful damsel. She was dressed in an Egyptian dress of flowered
satin, and she wore earrings, and a necklace of white pearls, and
bracelets of gold set with rubies, and she held a wand of myrtle in her
She went up to the pan, to the great astonishment of the cook, who
stood motionless at the sight of her. She struck one of the fish with
her rod, "Fish, fish," said she, "are you doing your duty?" The fish
answered nothing, and then she repeated her question, whereupon they
all raised their heads together and answered very distinctly, "Yes,
yes. If you reckon, we reckon. If you pay your debts, we pay ours.
If you fly, we conquer, and we are content."