The Watchful Servant
There was once a prince who was going to visit his lady-love, the only daughter of a neighbouring king; and as he required the services of an attendant, he sent for his barber, who was known in the town for his very good behaviour, as well as for his eccentric ways.
“Pablo,” said the prince, “I want you to go with me to Granada to assist me on my journey. I will reward you handsomely, and you shall lack for nothing in the way of food. But you must don my livery, salute me in the fashion of Spain, hold my stirrup when I mount, and do everything that is required of a servant. Above all, you must not let me oversleep myself, for otherwise I shall be late in arriving at Granada.”
“Sir,” answered the barber, “I will be as true to you as the dog was to St. Dominic. When you are sleeping I will be on guard, and when you are awake I will see that no harm approaches you; but I beg you not to be annoyed with me if, in trying to be of service to you, I do unwillingly cause you any annoyance.”
“Good Pablo,” continued the prince, “say no more, but return to your shop, pack up your linen, and come here as soon as you can this evening. If I am in bed when you arrive, you will know that it is because I must get up to-morrow morning by five o’clock, and see to it that you let me not sleep beyond that time.”
Pablo hurried home, packed up his few articles of underclothing, and then proceeded to the principal wine tavern to tell his friends of his good fortune. They were all so pleased to hear of Pablo’s good luck that they drank to his health, and he returned the compliment so often that at last the wine was beginning to tell on him, so he bid his friends good-bye and left, saying to himself, “I must wake his highness at five o’clock.” This he kept repeating so often that he had arrived at the large courtyard of the palace before he was aware of it.
The prince’s bedroom looked into the courtyard, and Pablo saw by the dim light that was burning in the room that the prince had retired to rest.