The Sea King and the Magic Jewels
Before the gate there is a clear well, and by the well-side there grows a cassia tree with many spreading branches. Therefore climb thou into the branches of the cassia tree, and there wait for the King’s daughter, who shall come to give thee counsel.”
And Prince Fire Fade, standing up in the boat, made obeisance, and thanked the Lord of Sea Salt. But this one girded his august garments and pushed the boat before him, till he was thigh-deep in the water. And he said, “Nay, nay, fair youth, no thanks, only do my bidding.”
So his Augustness, Prince Fire Fade, came to the Sea King’s palace. And he forthwith climbed the cassia tree and waited among its green branches.
At the day’s dawning came the handmaidens of the Sea King’s daughter, with their jewelled vessels, to draw water from the well. And as they stooped to dip their vessels, Prince Fire Fade leaned and watched them from the branches of the cassia tree. And the glory of his august countenance made a brightness upon the waters of the well. So all the maidens looked up and beheld his comeliness, and were amazed. But he spoke them fairly, and desired of them a little water from their vessels. So the maidens drew him water in a jewelled cup (howbeit the jewels were clouded, because of the coldness of the well water), and they presented it to him with all reverence. Then, not drinking the water, Prince Fire Fade took the royal jewel from his neck, and holding it between his two lips he dropped it into the cup, and the cup he gave again to the maidens.
Now they saw the great jewel shining in the cup, but they could not move it, for it clung fast to the gold. So the maidens departed, skimming the water like the white birds of the offing. And they came to the Sea King’s daughter, bearing the cup and the jewel in it.
And the Princess, looking at the jewel, asked them, “Is there, perchance, a stranger at the gate?”
And one of the maidens answered, “There is some one sitting in the branches of the cassia tree which is by our well.