On and on he went till he came to the place the Wolf had described, and, sure enough, there he found a whole flock which was black, and one of the black sheep had a white star on its forehead. And - yes! - there was the piebald dog too, just as the Wolf had said.
So he came up and spoke: "Well, Father Shepherd, will you sell me your dog?' "What a strangely mad man you must be!" answered the shepherd. "Why, if I sell my dog that's the end of my flock!" "Never mind," said the Derwlsh, "I know all that, but what's the price?" "This is my master's dog," went on the Shepherd; "he bought him for fifty tumans, but he wouldn't part with him now for a hundred." "Would you take one hundred and fifty gold pieces," asked the Derwish, "and sell me the dog?" To this the Shepherd answered only: "Give them to me!"
So he paid over the hundred and fifty gold pieces and took the dog, saying: "All right, now kill your dog for me." "O you mad fellow," exclaimed the Shepherd, "how could I let the dog's blood be on my head?" - "If I gave you fifty pieces more?" "Well," said the Shepherd, "but whether I kill the dog or merely hand him over to you, my master when he comes will say: 'Well, what's happened to my sheep-dog?' and what answer shall I give to that?"
"Oh," said the Derwlsh, " that's easy! Say the dog had a fight with a wolf and the wolf killed him. You and I will tear his body into little bits to show your master." "That's not at all a bad plan," said the Shepherd, and with that he went and killed the dog. When this was done the Derwish said: "Now, I just want his head," and taking this he departed with all speed and went to some little distance, and there took out the dog's brains.
Next he went and bought a horse and hired a servant, and set out on the journey to Yemen.1 When he got there he saw that all round the battlements of the city human heads were stuck up, so many that you could not count them all. "What's the news of your city?" he inquired of a passer-by, "and why have these men been put to death?" "The daughter of our King is mad," answered the man, "and the King made; Proclamation saying: 'Whosoever cureth my daughter, to him I shall give her to wife, and whosoever doth not cure her, him I shall slay, and I shall hang his head on the battlements of the city.'"
When the Derwish heard this he said: "Go you to the King and say that I will cure his daughter." And all the bystanders said: "O foolish man, go away rather and pursue your business. Do you want to go to certain death? Many men have come seeking to cure the King's Daughter, men beside whom you are of no account, but they did not succeed, and lo, they have all been slain." To this the Derwish only answered: "I shall give a writing to the King saying that if I cannot cure his daughter he may cut off my head and hang it with all the others on his battlements."
At last they went and brought the news to the King that such and such a person had come, saying: "I can cure the daughter of the King." At this the King was overjoyed, and said: "Well, if he does, he does, and if he doesn't, we slay him." And the King took the writing from him, and on his part gave him one in exchange.
1 A province in the south of Arabia.
Then the Derwish gave orders that they should heat the bath continuously for three nights and three days. At the end of this time they carried the King's Daughter to the bath and shut the door. Now the Derwish had gone in beforehand and hidden himself. When the Princess came in she began to run from one tank to the other, till at last she was worn out and fell down and fainted. As soon as he saw that she had fainted the Derwish put the dog's brains into a hollow reed and placed it in the girl's nostril, then he gave a puff and the brains were blown into her nose. Immediately she came to herself and was completely cured. When they brought the news to the King he ordered the joy drums to be beaten, and they carried the Princess with all pomp and ceremony back to her father's court. After that the King betrothed her and gave her in marriage to the Derwish, low-born though he was.
Some days later the King died and left no heir save this one daughter. And the people said: "The kingdom therefore belongs to his son-in-law," and so the Derwish took his seat on the royal throne.
One day the new King was going off to hunt, and it happened that in the desert he caught sight of Shortcuts. He was carrying a sack on his back, and was coming from across country on to the road to go into the town. When he saw the hunting-party he drew aside to take cover. The King turned to his men and said: "Go and take that man with the sack and carry him off to my kitchen; feed him well and care hospitably for him till I come back from hunting."
When the King's messengers went to take Shortcuts, he began to weep and say: "I have done no evil, why do you arrest me?" But his prayers and entreaties were of no avail; they carried him into the city and into the King's kitchen, and tended him hospitably till the hunting-party returned.
When the King came back he sent all his attendants away and summoned Shortcuts to talk privately to him. "Well, comrade, do you recognise me?" "May I be the sacrifice for the life of the Centre of the Universe!" cried he, making a low reverence, "I do not recognise your Majesty." "Why," said the King, "I am that companion whose barley loaves you ate!" - "Sire, what is your name?" "My name," answered the King, "is Roads, and yours is Shortcuts."
As soon as Shortcuts heard this he fell on the King's neck and kissed him and said: "Since we are old friends, tell me all the story of how you came from that to this, that I may learn." And the King told him everything from start to finish. Then said Shortcuts: "Well, then, I'll go too and find it all out for myself." But the King said: "You'll only go to certain death, why not remain here with me? I have bread enough to eat and you shall share it with me."
"Nay, not so," said Shortcuts, "just as you found it all for yourself, so will I find it." And the King said: "Very well, but for to-night you will be our guest." And he kept him that night, and when morning was come he gave him a horse and a sword and a hundred tumans in money, and said: "Go, but I fear you are going to your death." And he gave him at parting all directions for finding the Caravanserai at Kahnu.
Shortcuts went out of the city and followed the directions exactly, and came to the Caravanserai; he tied up his horse and went up into one of the upper rooms. There he threw down his bedding and settled himself to sleep and began to snore, thinking that when the animals came he would listen to their words. Evening came, and sure enough the Lion came and took his seat on the throne, and one by one the other wild beasts came also. The first thing they did was to eat the horse.
Then King Lion turned to the Fox and said: "Well, Lord Fox?" - "Please, your Majesty?" - "I smell the smell of a human being. Tell some one to search and find him." Thereupon the Ghoul arose and began to sniff about till she came to the upper room. She took Short-cuts on her back and brought him down. And each of the wild beasts took a bite out of his body and he died.
And from that day the proverb runs:
No Gains without Pains, for there is no short-cut to success.
And now my story has come to an end, but the sparrow never got home.