The Sea King and the Magic Jewels
And another said, “It is a very beautiful young man.”
And another said, “He is even more glorious than our king. And he asked water of us, so we respectfully gave him water in this cup. And he drank none of it, but dropped a jewel into it from his lips. So we have brought them unto Thine Augustness, both the cup and the jewel.”
Then the Princess herself took a vessel and went to draw water at the well. And her long sleeves, and certain of the folds of her august garments, floated behind her, and her head was bound with a garland of sea flowers. And coming to the well she looked up through the branches of the cassia tree. And her eyes met the eyes of Prince Fire Fade.
And presently she fetched her father, the Sea King, saying, “Father, there is a beautiful person at our gate.” So the Sea King came out and welcomed Prince Fire Fade, and said, “This is the August Child of the Heaven’s Sun Height.” And leading him into his palace he caused the floor to be spread with eight layers of rugs of asses’ skins, and eight layers of rugs of silk, and set the Prince upon them.
And that night he made a great banquet, and celebrated the betrothal of Prince Fire Fade to his daughter, the fair Jewel Princess. And for very many days there was held high revel and rejoicing in the Sea King’s palace.
But one night, as they took their ease upon the silken floor, and all the fishes of the sea brought rich dishes, and sweetmeats in vessels of gold and coral and jade to set before them, the fair Jewel Princess herself sat at Prince Fire Fade’s right hand to pour the wine into his cup. And the silver scales upon the palace walls glittered in the moonlight. But Prince Fire Fade looked out across the Sea Path and thought of what had gone before, and so heaved a deep sigh.
Then the Sea King was troubled, and asked him, saying, “Wherefore dost thou sigh?” But Prince Fire Fade answered nothing.
And the fair Jewel Princess, his betrothed wife, came closer, and touched him on the breast, and said softly, “Oh, Thine Augustness, my sweet spouse, art thou not happy in our water palace, where the shadows fall green, that thou lookest so longingly across the Sea Path?