I.The Adventures of the Rich Youth
“In former times there lived, in a great kingdom, a rich youth, a calculator, a mechanic, a painter, a physician, and a smith, and they all departed from their parents and went forth into a foreign land. When they at length arrived at the mouth of a great river, they planted, every one of them, a tree of life; and each of them, following one of the sources of the river, set forth to seek their fortunes. ‘Here,’ said they to one another,—‘here will we meet again. Should, however, any one of us be missing, and his tree of life be withered, we will search for him in the place whither he went to.’
“Thus they agreed, and separated one from another. And the rich youth found at the source of the stream, which he had followed, a pleasure-garden with a house, in the entrance to which were seated an old man and an old woman. ‘Good youth,’ exclaimed they both, ‘whence comest thou—whither goest thou?’ The youth replied, ‘I come from a distant country, and am going to seek my fortune.’ And the old couple said unto him, ‘It is well thou hast come hither. We have a daughter, slender of shape and pleasant of behaviour. Take her, and be a son unto us!’
“And when they had so spoken, the daughter made her appearance. And when the youth beheld her, he thought unto himself, ‘It is well I left my father and my mother. This maiden is more beauteous than a daughter of the Tângâri (god-like spirits of the male and female sex). I will take the maiden and dwell here.’ And the maiden said, ‘Youth, it is well that thou earnest here.’ Thereupon they conversed together, went together into the house, and lived peacefully and happily.
“Now, over the same country there reigned a mighty Chan. And once in the spring-time, when his servants went forth together to bathe, they found, near the mouth of the river, in the water, a pair of costly earrings, which belonged to the wife of the rich youth. Because, therefore, these jewels were so wondrously beautiful, they carried them to the Chan, who, being greatly surprised thereat, said unto his servants, ‘Dwells there at the source of the river a woman such as these belong to?