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The only consolation left them in their wretchedness was the power of flight; and they often flew to the roofs of Bagdad, that they might see what occurred there. For the first day or two, they noticed great excitement in the streets, followed by sadness. But about the fourth day after their enchantment, while they were resting on the roof of the Caliph's palace, they observed down in the street a brilliant procession.
HOW THE WHALE GOT HIS THROAT
Trumpets and fifes sounded. A man in a gold-embroidered scarlet coat sat upon a richly caparisoned steed, surrounded by a gay retinue. Half Bagdad followed him, and all shouted:. The two storks perched on the palace roof, exchanged a glance, and Caliph Chasid said This Mizra is the son of my deadly enemy, who, in an evil hour, swore to revenge himself on me. But still I will not give up all hope.
Come with me, thou faithful companion of my misfortune, we will make a pilgrimage to the grave of the Prophet. Perhaps in that sacred place the spell will be removed. They rose from the palace roof and flew in the direction of Medina. But so little practice had the two storks had in flying, that it fared hard with them. You fly much too fast! And it is now evening, and we should do well to look out for a place on which to alight for the night.
Chasid harkened to the request of his follower, and, perceiving a ruin that promised to afford a shelter, they flew down to it. The place they had selected for the night bore the appearance of having once been a castle. Beautiful columns rose out of the ruins, while several rooms still in a fair state of preservation, testified to the former splendor of the building. Chasid and his companion strolled through the passages, seeking some dry sheltered spot, when suddenly the stork Mansor stopped.
My courage is fast failing me, for near here there was a distinct sound of sighing and groaning! The Caliph also stopped, and very plainly heard a low sobbing that seemed to proceed from a human being, rather than from an animal.
Full of curiosity, he was about to approach the place whence the sounds came, when the Vizier caught him by the wing with his bill, and begged him most earnestly not to plunge into new and unknown dangers. All in vain! He shortly came to a door, through which he plainly heard sighs intermingled with low groans.
Harry Potter Quotes | MuggleNet
He pushed open the door with his bill, but remained standing on the threshold in surprise. In the ruined room, lighted but dimly by a small lattice window, he saw a large owl sitting on the floor. Large tears fell from its great round eyes, while in passionate tones it poured forth its complaints from its curved beak. But when the owl saw the Caliph and his Vizier, who by this time had stolen up, it raised a loud cry of joy.
Daintily brushing the tears from its eyes with the brown spotted wings, it exclaimed in pure human Arabic, to the wonder of the listeners:. You are a good omen, as it was once prophecied that storks would be the bearers of good fortune to me.
As soon as the Caliph had sufficiently recovered from his astonishment, he made a bow with his long neck, brought his slender feet into a graceful position, and said But, alas! Your hope that we can give you relief is doomed to disappointment. You will yourself appreciate our helplessness when you have heard our story. The owl requested him to relate it; which the Caliph did, just as we have heard it. My father is king of India. I, his only and unhappy daughter, am named Lusa. That same Sorcerer, Kaschnur, who transformed you, plunged me also into misery.
One day he came to my father and demanded me in marriage for his son Mizra. But my father, who is a quick tempered man, had him thrown down-stairs.
The wretch found means, by assuming other forms, of approaching me; and one day, as I was taking the air in my garden, he appeared, dressed as a slave, and handed me a drink that changed me into this horrible shape. He brought me here senseless from fright, and shouted in my ears with a terrible voice: 'Here you shall remain, ugly, despised by every creature, until death; or till some man voluntarily offers to marry you in your present form! Thus do I revenge myself on you and your proud father! Lonely and sad, I live as a hermit within these walls, abhorred by the world, despised even by animals, shut out from all enjoyment of the beauties of nature, as I am blind by day, and only at night, when the moon sheds its pale light over these walls, does the veil fall from my eyes.
The owl finished her story, and once more brushed away with her wing the tears which the recital of her sufferings had caused. And I think I know a way by which we can accomplish our own rescue. Not far from here there is a room in which he is accustomed to hold a banquet with many of his fellows. Many times have I heard them there. On these occasions they relate to each other their shameful deeds.
Perhaps then he will divulge the magic word you have forgotten. The storks were somewhat disconcerted at this proposal; and the Caliph beckoned his follower to leave the room with him. But you, now, might take her. Then, too, I am an old man; whereas you are young and unmarried, and therefore in a better position to offer your hand to a beautiful young princess.
They discussed the matter for a long time, until at last the Caliph, convinced that the Vizier would rather remain a stork than marry the Princess, concluded to fulfill the condition she had imposed on himself. The owl was greatly rejoiced, and confessed that they could not have come at a better time, as it was probable that the sorcerers would assemble there that very night. The owl then left the room with the storks to show them to the banquet-room. For a long time they walked through a dark passage, when finally there streamed out bright rays of light through a broken wall.
As they came up to the wall the owl cautioned the storks to remain perfectly quiet.