The Garden of Paradise
Isn't that right, old lady?" Then he gave her such a kiss that it nearly knocked her over backward. He was certainly a wild young fellow.
Then the South Wind arrived, in a turban and a Bedouin's billowing robe.
"It's dreadfully cold in here," he cried, and threw more wood on the fire. "I can tell that the North Wind got here before me."
"It's hot enough to roast a polar bear here," the North Wind protested.
"You are a polar bear yourself," the South Wind said.
"Do you want to be put into the sack?" the old woman asked. "Sit down on that stone over there and tell me where you have been."
"In Africa, dear Mother," said he. "I have been hunting the lion with Hottentots in Kaffirland. What fine grass grows there on the plains. It is as green as an olive. There danced the gnu, and the ostrich raced with me, but I am fleeter than he is. I went into the desert where the yellow sand is like the bottom of the sea. I met with a caravan, where they were killing their last camel to get drinking water, but it was little enough they got. The sun blazed overhead and the sand scorched underfoot. The desert was unending.
"I rolled in the fine loose sand and whirled it aloft in great columns. What a dance that was! You ought to have seen how despondently the dromedaries hunched up, and how the trader pulled his burnoose over his head. He threw himself down before me as he would before Allah, his god. Now they are buried, with a pyramid of sand rising over them all. When some day I blow it away, the sun will bleach their bones white, and travelers will see that men have been there before them. Otherwise no one would believe it, there in the desert."
"So you have done nothing but wickedness!" cried his mother. "Into the sack with you!" And before he was aware of it, she picked the South Wind up bodily and thrust him into the bag. He thrashed about on the floor until she sat down on the sack. That kept him quiet.
"Those are boisterous sons you have," said the Prince.
"Indeed they are," she agreed, "but I know how to keep them in order.