So the King sent and caused the Indian to be brought before him clad in a robe of rank. And the King said to him, 'Because my son, whom thy vile invention carried away from me, hath returned safe and sound, therefore will I spare thy life. And for the reward of thine ingenuity I give thee this robe of honour; but now take thy horse, wherever it may be, and go, nor ever appear in my sight again. And if thou wilt marry, seek one of thine own rank, but do not aspire to the daughters of kings.'
When the Indian heard that, he dissembled his rage, and bowing himself to the earth departed from the King's presence. And, as he went, everywhere in the palace ran the tale how the King's son had returned upon the magic horse, bringing with him a princess of most marvellous beauty, and how they had alighted in the gardens of the summer palace that lay outside the walls.
Now when this was told him the Indian at once saw his opportunity, and going forth from the city in haste he arrived at the summer palace before the messenger with the appointed retinue which the prince and the King were sending. So coming to the pavilion in the garden he found the princess waiting within, and before the door the horse of ivory and ebony. Then was his heart uplifted for joy, the more so when he perceived how far the damsel exceeded in loveliness all that had been told of her. Entering the chamber where she sat he kissed the ground at her feet; and she, seeing one that wore a robe of office making obeisance before her, spake to him without fear, saying, 'Who art thou?'
The sage answered, 'O moon of beauty, I am but the dust which lies upon the road by which thou art to travel. Yet I come as a messenger from the King's son who hath sent me to bring thee with all speed to a chamber in the royal palace where he now awaits thee.'
Now the Indian was of a form altogether hideous and abominable. The princess looked at him, therefore, in surprise, saying, 'Could not the King's son find any one to send to me but thee?' The sage laughed, for he read the meaning of her words. 'O searcher of hearts,' he said, 'do not wonder that the prince hath sent to thee a man whose looks are unattractive, for because of his love toward thee he is grown exceeding jealous. Were it otherwise, I doubt not that he would have chosen the highest and most honourable in the land; but, being what I am, he has preferred to make me his messenger.
When the princess heard that, she believed him, and because her impatience to be with her lover was great, she yielded herself willingly into his hands. Then the sage mounted upon the horse and took up the damsel behind him; and having bound her to his girdle for safety, he turned the pin so swiftly that immediately they rose up into the air far above the roof of the palace and in full view of the royal retinue which was even then approaching.
Now because his desire to be with his beloved was so strong, the prince himself had come forth before all others to meet her; and when he saw her thus carried away captive, he uttered a loud cry of lamentation, and stretched out his hands toward her. The cry of her lover reached the ears of the princess, and looking down she saw with wonder his gestures of grief and despair.
So she said to the Indian, 'O slave, why art thou bearing me away from thy lord, disobeying his command?' The sage answered, 'He is not my lord, nor do I owe him any duty or obedience. May Heaven repay on him all the grief he has brought on me, for I was the maker of this horse on which he won thee, and because he stole it from me I was cast into prison. But now for all my wrongs I will take full payment, and will torture his heart as he hath tortured mine. Be of good cheer, therefore, for doubt not that presently I shall seem a more desirable lover in thine eyes than ever he was.'
On hearing these words the princess was so filled with terror and loathing that she endeavoured to cast herself from the saddle; but the Indian having bound her to his girdle, no present escape from him was possible.
The horse had meanwhile carried them far from the city of the King of Persia, and it was yet an early hour after dawn when they arrived over the land of Cashmire. Assured that he was now safe from pursuit, and perceiving an uninhabited country below him, the Indian caused the horse to descend on the edge of a wood bordered by a stream. Here he made the princess dismount, and was proceeding to force upon her his base and familiar attentions, when the cries raised by the princess drew to that spot a party of horsemen who had been hunting in the neighbourhood. The leader of the party, who chanced to be no other than the Sultan of that country, seeing a fair damsel undergoing ill-treatment from one of brutish and malevolent aspect, rode forward and demanded of the Indian by what right he so used her. The sage boldly declared that she was his wife and that how he used her was no man's business but his own. The damsel, however, contradicted his assertion with indignation and scorn, and so great were her beauty and the dignity of her bearing that her statement of the case had only to be heard to be believed. The Sultan therefore ordered the Indian to be bound and beaten, and afterwards to be led away to the adjacent city and there cast into the deepest dungeon. As for the princess and magic horse, he caused them to be brought to the palace; and there for the damsel he provided a magnificent apartment with slaves and attendants such as. befitted her rank; but the horse, whose properties remained secret, since no other use for it could be discovered, was placed in the royal treasury. Now though the princess was full of joy over her escape from the Indian, and of gratitude to her deliverer, she could not fail to read in the Sultan's manner towards her the spell cast by her beauty. And, in fact, no later than the next day, awakened by sounds throughout the whole city of tumult and rejoicing, and inquiring as to the reason, she was informed that these festivities were the prelude to her own nuptials with the Sultan which were to be celebrated that very day before sundown.
It was in vain that all the wisest physicians in the country were summoned into consultation.