Next day, when the red dawn was in the sky, the youth went forth on his quest, caught the five to ten birds in the forest, got hold of the key, opened therewith the door of the cavern, and - oh, Allah! - stretched forth his right hand, gripped hold of something, and, without once looking behind him, dragged it all the way to his sister's hut, and never stopped till he got there. Only then did he cast his eyes upon what he had in his hand, and it was neither more nor less than a branch from the garden of the Queen of the Peris. But what a branch it was! It was full of little twigs, and the twigs were full of little leaves, and there was a little bird on every little leaf, and every little bird had a song of its own. Such music, such melody was there as would have brought even a dead man to life again. The whole hut was filled with joy.
Next day the youth again went forth to hunt, and, as he was pursuing the beast of the forest, the Padishah saw him again. He exchanged a word or two with the youth, and then returned to his palace, but he was now sicker than ever, by reason of his love for his son.
Then the old woman strolled off to the hut again, and there she saw the damsel sitting with the magic branch in her hand.
"Well, my girl! " said the old woman, "what did I tell thee? But that's nothing at all. If thy brother would only fetch thee the mirror of the Queen of the Peris, Allah knows that thou wouldst cast that branch right away. Give him no peace till he get it for thee."
The witch had no sooner departed than the damsel began screaming and wailing so that her brother was at his wit's end how to comfort her. He said he would take the whole world on his shoulders to please her, went straight off to the Mother of Devils, and besought her so earnestly that she had not the heart to say him nay.
"Thou hast made up thy mind to go under the sod to thy innocent, buried mother, I see," cried she, "for not by hundreds but by thousands have human souls perished in this quest of thine." Then she instructed the youth whither he should go and what he should do, and he set off on his way. He took an iron staff in his hand and tied iron sandals to his feet, and he went on and on till he came to two doors, as the Mother of Devils told him he would beforehand. One of these doors was open, the other was closed. He closed the open door and opened the closed door, and there, straight before him, was another door. In front of this door was a lion and a sheep, and there was grass before the lion and flesh before the sheep. He took up the flesh and laid it before the lion, then he took up the grass and laid it before the sheep, and they let him enter unharmed. But now he came to a third door, and in front of it were two furnaces, and fire burned in the one and ashes smouldered in the other. He put out the flaming furnace, stirred up the cinders in the smouldering furnace till they blazed again, and then through the door he went into the garden of the Peris, and from the garden into the Peri palace. He snatched up the enchanted mirror, and was hastening away with it when a mighty voice cried out against him so that the earth and the heavens trembled. "Burning furnace, seize him, seize him!" cried the voice, just as he came up to the furnace.
"I can't," answered the first furnace, "for he has put me out! " But the other furnace was grateful to him for kindling it into a blaze again, so it let him pass by too.
"Lion, lion, tear him to pieces!" cried the mighty voice from the depths of the palace, when the youth came up to the two beasts.
"Not I," answered the lion, "for he helped me to a good meal of flesh! " - Nor would the sheep hurt him either, because he had given it the grass. - "Open door! let him not out!" cried the voice from within the palace. - " Nay, but I will!" replied the door; "for had he not opened me I should be closed still!" - and so the golden-haired youth was not very long in getting home, to the great joy of his sister. She snatched at the mirror and instantly looked into it, and - Allah be praised! - she saw the whole world in it. Then the damsel thought no more of the Peri-branch, for her eyes were glued to the mirror.
Again the youth went a-hunting, and again he caught the eye of the Padishah. But the sight of the youth this third time so touched the fatherly heart of the Padishah that they carried him back to his palace half fainting. Then the witch guessed only too well how matters stood.
So she arose and went to the damsel, and so filled her foolish little head with her tales that she persuaded her not to give her brother rest day and night till he had brought her the Queen of the Peris herself. "That'll make him break his hatchet anyhow!" thought the old woman. But the damsel rejoiced beforehand at the thought of having the Queen of the Peris also, and in her impatience could scarce wait for her brother to come home.
When her brother came home she shed as many tears as if she were a cloud dripping rain. In vain her brother tried to prove to her how distant and how dangerous was the way she would fain have him go. "I want the Queen of the Peris, and have her I must," cried the damsel.
So again the youth set out on his journey, went straight to the Mother of Devils, pressed her hand, kissed her lips, pressed her lips and kissed her hand, and said: "Oh, my mother I help me in this my sore need!" The Mother of Devils was amazed at the valour of the man, and never ceased dissuading him from his purpose, for every human soul that goes on such a quest must needs perish. - "Die I may, little mother!" cried the youth, "but I will not come back without her."
So what could the Mother of Devils do but show him the way? "Go the same road," said she, "that led thee to the branch, and then go on to where thou didst find the mirror. Thou wilt come at last to a large desert, and beyond the desert thou wilt see two roads, but look neither to the right hand nor yet to the left, but go right on through the sooty darkness betwixt them. When now it begins to grow a little lighter, thou wilt see a large cypress wood, and in this cypress wood a large tomb. In this tomb, turned to stone, are all those who ever desired the Queen of the Peris. Stop not there, but go right on to the palace of the Queen of the Peris and call out her name with the full strength of thy lungs. What will happen to thee after that not even I can tell thee."