It was as much as the bald-pate could do to await the dawn of the day. But then the beautiful youth arose, shivered, and flew away as a white dove. Bald-pate too came out of his hiding-place, went down into the courtyard, and crept once more through the hole at the foot of the tower.
Outside he found his poor old mother weeping all alone, but the youth pacified her with the assurance that their troubles were nearly at an end, took her on his back again, and went to the bath. There they bathed, and immediately the old woman was able to stand on her legs, and the bald-pate got his hair back again. Then they began to tell their stories, and when the Sultan's daughter heard what the youth had seen and heard at midnight, it was as though a stream of fresh health instantly poured into her. She rose from her bed and promised the youth a great treasure if he would bring her to that tower. So the youth went with the princess, showed her the walls of the palace, helped her through the little hole, brought her into the chamber of the doves, and pointed out to her the armoury where he had been able to hide himself. After that the youth returned home with great treasure and perfect health, and lived all his days with his old mother.
At eventide the three doves flew into the room. They scoured and cleaned, brought the meats for the table, and flew away again. Soon afterwards the white dove came flying in, and how did that damsel feel when she saw her darling little dove once more? But when the dove had turned into a youth again, and stood there like a glorious full moon, the damsel scarcely knew where she was, but gazed continuously on his dazzling face.
Then the youth went to the cupboard, opened it, and took out the ring, the bracelet, and the lace handkerchief that belonged to the daughter of the Sultan. "Oh, thou ring! how happy shouldst thou be to sit on a beauteous finger! Oh, thou bracelet! how happy thou shouldst be to lie on a beauteous arm! " he cried. Then he took the lace handkerchief and dried his tears, and at the sight thereof the heart of the damsel was nigh to breaking. Then she tapped with her fingers on the door of the armoury. The youth approached it, opened the door, and there stood his heart's darling. Then the joy of the youth was so great that it was almost woe.
He asked the damsel how she had come thither to the palace of the Peris. Then she told him of her journey, and how sick for love she had been.
Then the youth told her that he also was the son of a mortal mother, but when he was only three days old the Peris had stolen him, and carried him to this palace and made him their Padishah. He was with them the whole day, and had only two hours to himself in the twenty-four. The damsel, he said, might stay with him, and walk about here the whole day, but towards evening she must hide herself; for if the forty Peris came and saw her with him they would not leave her alive. To-morrow, he said, he would show her his mother's palace, where they would live in peace, and he would be with her for two hours out of the twenty-four.
So the next day the Padishah of the Peris took the damsel and showed her his mother's palace. "When thou goest there," said the Padishah, "bid them have compassion on thee, and receive thee in memory of Bahtiyar Bey, and when my mother hears my name she will not refuse thy request."
So the damsel went up to the house and knocked at the door. An old woman came and opened it, and when she saw the damsel and heard her son's name, she burst into tears and took her in. There the damsel stayed a long time, and every day the little bird came to visit her, until a son was born to the daughter of the Sultan. But the old woman never knew that her son came to the house, nor that the damsel had been brought to bed.
One day the little bird came, flew upon the window-sill, and said: "Oh, my Sultana, what is my little seedling doing? " - "No harm hath happened to our little seedling," replied she, "but he awaits the coming of Bahtiyar." - "Oh! if only my mother knew," sighed the youth, "she would open her best room." With that he flew into the room, turned into a man, and fondled in his arms his wife and his little child. But when two hours had passed he shivered a little, and a little dove flew out of the window.
But the mother had heard her son's speech, and could scarce contain herself for joy. She hastened to her daughter-in-law, fondled and caressed her, led her into her most beautiful room, and put everything in order against her son's arrival. She knew that the forty Peris had robbed her of him, and she took counsel with herself how she might steal him back again.
"When my son comes to-morrow," said the old woman, "contrive so that he stays beyond his time, and leave the rest to me."
The next day the bird flew into the window, and lo! the damsel was nowhere to be seen in the room. Then he flew into the more beautiful room, and cried, "Oh! my Sultana, what is our little seedling doing?" - And the damsel replied: "No harm hath befallen our little seedling, but he awaits the coming of Bahtiyar." Then the bird flew into the room and changed into a man, and was so taken up with talking to his wife, so filled with the joy of playing with his child and seeing it play, that he took no count of time at all.
But what was the old woman doing all this time?
The Padishah of the Peris. - p. 174.
There was a large cypress-tree in front of the house, and there the forty doves were sometimes wont to alight. The old woman went and hung this tree full of venomous needles. Towards evening, when the Padishah's two hours had run out, the doves who were the forty Peris came to seek their Padishah, and alighted on the cypress-tree, but scarcely had their feet touched the needles than they fell down to the ground poisoned.
Meanwhile, however, the youth suddenly remembered the time, and great was his terror when he came out of the palace so late. He looked to the right of him and he looked to the left, and when he looked towards the cypress-tree there were the forty doves. And now his joy was as great as his terror had been before. First he fell upon the neck of his consort, and then he ran to his mother and embraced her, so great was his joy that he had escaped from the hands of the Peris.
Thereupon they made them such a banquet that even after forty days they had not got to the end of it. So they had their hearts' desires, and ate and drank and rejoiced with a great joy. May we too get the desires of our hearts, with good eating and drinking to comfort us!