The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura
"You are welcome to try," said the king, "but I make one condition, which is, that should you fail you will lose your life."
The emir accepted the condition, and the king led him to the princess, who, veiling her face, remarked, "I am surprised, sire, that you should bring an unknown man into my presence."
"You need not be shocked," said the king; "this is one of my emirs who asks your hand in marriage."
"Sire," replied the princess, "this is not the one you gave me before and whose ring I wear. Permit me to say that I can accept no other."
The emir, who had expected to hear the princess talk nonsense, finding how calm and reasonable she was, assured the king that he could not venture to undertake a cure, but placed his head at his Majesty's disposal, on which the justly irritated monarch promptly had it cut off.
This was the first of many suitors for the princess whose inability to cure her cost them their lives.
Now it happened that after things had been going on in this way for some time the nurse's son Marzavan returned from his travels. He had been in many countries and learnt many things, including astrology. Needless to say that one of the first things his mother told him was the sad condition of the princess, his foster-sister. Marzavan asked if she could not manage to let him see the princess without the king's knowledge.
After some consideration his mother consented, and even persuaded the eunuch on guard to make no objection to Marzavan's entering the royal apartment.
The princess was delighted to see her foster-brother again, and after some conversation she confided to him all her history and the cause of her imprisonment.
Marzavan listened with downcast eyes and the utmost attention. When she had finished speaking he said,
"If what you tell me, Princess, is indeed the case, I do not despair of finding comfort for you. Take patience yet a little longer. I will set out at once to explore other countries, and when you hear of my return be sure that he for whom you sigh is not far off.