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The story of the False Prince

Foaming with passion, he would have sprung upon Labakan, but the bystanders, throwing themselves between, secured him, while the old man said: “Truly, my beloved son, the poor man is crazed. Let them bind him and place him on one of our dromedaries; perhaps we may be of some assistance to the unfortunate.”

The anger of the prince had abated; in tears, he cried out to the old man, “My heart tells me that you are my father; by the memory of my mother, I conjure you—hear me!”

“Alas! God guard us!” answered he: “already he again begins to talk wildly. How can the man come by such crazy thoughts?” Thereupon, seizing Labakan’s arm, he made him accompany him down the hill. They both mounted fine and richly-caparisoned coursers, and rode at the head of the procession, across the plain. They tied the hands of the unfortunate prince, however, and bound him securely upon a dromedary. Two horsemen rode constantly by his side, who kept a watchful eye upon his every movement.

The old prince was Saoud, sultan of the Wechabites. For some time had he lived without children; at last a prince, for whom he had so ardently longed, was born to him. But the astrologer, whom he consulted respecting the destiny of his son, told him that, until his twenty-second year, he would be in danger of being supplanted by an enemy. On that account, in order that he might be perfectly safe, had the sultan given him, to be brought up, to his old and tried friend, Elfi Bey; and twenty-two sad years had lived without looking upon him.

This did the sultan impart to his supposed son, and seemed delighted beyond measure with his figure and dignified demeanor.

When they reached the sultan’s dominions, they were everywhere received by the inhabitants with shouts of joy; for the rumor of the prince’s arrival had spread like wildfire through the cities and towns. In the streets through which they proceeded, arches of flowers and branches were erected; bright carpets of all colors adorned the houses; and the people loudly praised God and his prophet, who had discovered to them so noble a prince.

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