The Brown Fairy Book
What the Rose did to the Cypress
Once upon a time a great king of the East, named Saman-lalposh,[FN#2] had three brave
and clever sons--Tahmasp, Qamas, and Almas-ruh-baksh.[FN#3] One day, when the king
was sitting in his hall of audience, his eldest son, Prince Tahmasp, came before him, and
after greeting his father with due respect, said: 'O my royal father! I am tired of the town;
if you will give me leave, I will take my servants to-morrow and will go into the country
and hunt on the hill-skirts; and when I have taken some game I will come back, at
evening-prayer time.' His father consented, and sent with him some of his own trusted
servants, and also hawks, and falcons, hunting dogs, cheetahs and leopards.
At the place where the prince intended to hunt he saw a most beautiful deer. He ordered
that it should not be killed, but trapped or captured with a noose. The deer looked about
for a place where he might escape from the ring of the beaters, and spied one unwatched
close to the prince himself. It bounded high and leaped right over his head, got out of the
ring, and tore like the eastern wind into the waste. The prince put spurs to his horse and
pursued it; and was soon lost to the sight of his followers. Until the world-lighting sun
stood above his head in the zenith he did not take his eyes off the deer; suddenly it
disappeared behind some rising ground, and with all his search he could not find any
further trace of it. He was now drenched in sweat, and he breathed with pain; and his
horse's tongue hung from its mouth with thirst. He dismounted and toiled on, with bridle
on arm, praying and casting himself on the mercy of heaven. Then his horse fell and
surrendered its life to God. On and on he went across the sandy waste, weeping and with
burning breast, till at length a hill rose into sight. He mustered his strength and climbed to
the top, and there he found a giant tree whose foot kept firm the wrinkled earth, and
whose crest touched the very heaven. Its branches had put forth a glory of leaves, and
there were grass and a spring underneath it, and flowers of many colours.
Gladdened by this sight, he dragged himself to the water's edge, drank his fill, and
returned thanks for his deliverance from thirst.
He looked about him and, to his amazement, saw close by a royal seat. While he was
pondering what could have brought this into the merciless desert, a man drew near who
was dressed like a faqir, and had bare head and feet, but walked with the free carriage of
a person of rank. His face was kind, and wise and thoughtful, and he came on and spoke
to the prince.
'O good youth! how did you come here? Who are you? Where do you come from?'
The prince told everything just as it had happened to him, and then respectfully added: 'I
have made known my own circumstances to you, and now I venture to beg you to tell me
your own. Who are you? How did you come to make your dwelling in this wilderness?'