Now the black men, though they had been quite shocked at first to see the white man, began to think they also would like to be white; so they said they were willing to pay him as much as he liked to ask for his wonderful fat, because they were very rich.
However, they doubted a little if the fat would really make them white as he said, and wished to see it tried before they bought it. Thereupon he set the pot on the ground, and walked round and round it, saying some queer words as if he were charming it. Then he took out of the pot a little of the fat, and with it smeared one of the black men. In a moment the black skin became quite white, and the other blacks, seeing that he had told them the truth, crowded eagerly round him, begging that he would make them white also, and outbidding each other in offers of money, provided only that he made them white in a short time. The young shepherd worked hard, smearing one black skin after the other, until he got quite weary and had become very rich, for they gave him a good deal of money, and there were a great many of them who wished to be made white.
Just as he had thus whitened the last of the black men about him, one of them said to him, "Wonderworking man! We have a king who, being our chief, is the blackest of us all; therefore, if you think you can make him white also, we are sure he will be very glad to get rid of his blackness, and will pay you more money than you ever dreamt of".
"I will do it very gladly," answered the shepherd; "for you must know I am doing this not so much for the sake of money as for charity; only, show me at once the way to your king".
So they all ran off before him to show him the way, and he followed them carrying his pot on his shoulder.
When they arrived at the door of the king's palace, one of the men said to him, "Wait a moment here, whilst I go and tell his Majesty all about your wonderful fat, and ask him to receive you." The shepherd waited quietly, though crowds gathered round him to stare at him and his great pot, until the man came back and said the king was waiting impatiently to see him. So he lifted his pot again on his shoulder - for he had set it down that he might rest the better - and followed the messenger to the king's presence.
Now the king of the black men was far blacker than anything the shepherd had ever seen in his life; he had no doubt, however, after all he had seen, but that his fat would whiten him also. So he said cheerfully, "Good morning, your Majesty!" "Good morning, my dear fellow," returned the black king; "I have heard that you can do wonders, and I have seen that you have already whitened many of my subjects, so, for Heaven's sake, deliver me also from this my blackness, and ask in return whatever you like, even the half of my kingdom!"
"What your Majesty has heard is quite true," said the shepherd; "and I will very gladly try to make you also white!" and he took a great lump of fat and rubbed it well all over the king's face and neck. In a moment the king became as white as snow, to the great rejoicings of all his people. But no one was so pleased as the king himself, so he said again, "Only ask! I will give you whatever you wish, even if it be my throne!"
"I thank your Majesty very humbly for offering me your throne, but I don't want it," replied the shepherd;
"but if you will give me three ships full of gold and silver, and some good sailors to manage the ships, and some good soldiers and cannons to defend them against the pirates, I shall think myself more than repaid, and I will send you back the ships and cannons when the gold and silver are landed safely in my country".
Then the king at once gave the necessary orders, and in a very few days his servants came to report to him that the ships were then filled with gold and silver, and that the cannons were ready loaded and posted for action, and all the sailors and soldiers prepared to fight if any sea-robber came in their way.
Then the young shepherd took a courteous leave of the king, and of all those other people who were so thankful to him for having changed them from black men into white ones. He now went on board one of the ships, very glad to go back to his own country, and the two other ships full of gold and silver followed the first one across the seas.
After having sailed a long time the three ships reached at last the coast of the kingdom where the king was waiting, daily expecting the return of the gipsy and shepherd to claim his daughter. The shepherd let his ships lie quietly in the harbour one day, and then, noticing much tumult and disturbance in the city, went ashore to see what had happened. There he found a great crowd, and on asking some of the people what they were going to do, they told him that they were going to hang a gipsy who had come to the city with seventy piasters capital, and who had not only spent all his money in drinking and revellings, but had even got into debt for seventy other piasters, which he was quite unable to pay, and that this was the reason they were about to hang him. In a few moments the hangman appeared, leading the gipsy, who was no other than the very man who had tried to cheat the shepherd out of the princess.
The young shepherd recognised his rival at once, and, going near him, said, "What is this, my old friend? Have you really come to this?" The instant the gipsy saw the shepherd he stopped and began to whine and wail, begging him to save him from the gibbet, and he would be his faithful servant all his life. "As for the princess," he added cunningly, "I have given her up a long time ago, and don't care for anything if only my life is spared".
Then the young shepherd was sorry for the poor trembling, whining wretch, and offered to pay the debt for the gipsy if the people would let him off. So they agreed to this, and the young man not only paid the seventy piasters the gipsy owed, but bought him besides a suit of good clothes as well as a carriage and a pair of fine horses. Then he left him and went back to his ships, and they sailed on slowly along the coast towards the king's residence.
Now when the gipsy had dressed himself out smartly in his fine new clothes, he got into his carriage and drove off quickly to the king's palace. Arrived there, he left his carriage and horses in the courtyard, and went at once to the presence of the king, whom he addressed thus: "Your Majesty knows it is not yet quite a year since you gave me seventy piasters to trade with, and see! I come back already handsomely dressed, and have a fine carriage with a pair of beautiful horses below in the yard. As for the young shepherd, I have heard that he has not only spent all your Majesty's money in rioting, but that he had also got in debt, for which he has been hanged. So it is no use waiting for him! Let us keep my wedding at once!"
The king did not fancy the gipsy for his son-in-law, and was thinking what he could say to put him off a little time, when, looking by chance through his window, he saw three strange-looking ships sailing slowly towards the shore. At this he exclaimed, "I see some foreign visitors are coming to visit me, and I shall have enough to do to receive them with due honours, so we must put off the marriage for some days, at least!"
But the gipsy pressed the king more and more to let him marry the princess at once; he was even bold enough to tell his Majesty that he could not wait any longer, and that the wedding would be all over in an hour. The king, however, refused to hear anything of this; so the gipsy, seeing that his plan had failed, went out from the presence of the king in great anger.
A few hours later the three strange-looking ships dropped their anchors just opposite the palace, and the young shepherd, landing, came into the presence of the king, who was greatly astonished to see him alive, and still more astonished to hear that in return for his seventy piasters he had brought three vessels full of gold and silver.
The king was now very well content to accept him as his son-in-law, and told him, in the course of conversation, what the gipsy had said about his having gone in debt and been hanged. Then the young shepherd told his Majesty how he had found the gipsy, and had saved his life by paying his debt for him. The king was exceedingly angry, and ordered his servants to go after the gipsy and bring him at once into his presence.
The servants looked about and around the palace on all sides, but nowhere could they find any trace of the gipsy. Then the king commanded that some of them should go in search of him without delay, and armed men were speedily scattered over the whole country, so that at last he was caught, and brought before the king, who condemned him to be hanged for having so shamefully tried to injure the man who had saved his life and treated him so generously, and for having, at the same time, attempted to cheat the king.
The young shepherd spent a few days in the palace, telling the king all the things he had seen in the black world, and then, all preparations having been made, he was married to the princess, with great pomp and rejoicings.
Then the king with his daughter and son-in-law lived for a great many years very happily.