The damsel fancied she really was blind, and called to her from the tree. "Nay but, my dear elder sister! thou hast placed the kettle on the tripod upside down, and art pouring all the water on the ground."
"Oh, my sweet little damsel!" cried the old woman, "that is because I have no eyes to see with. I have brought some dirty linen with me, and if thou dost love Allah, thou wilt come down and put the kettle right, and help me to wash the things." Then the damsel thought of the words of the little stag, and she did not come down.
The next day the old witch came again, stumbled about the tree, laid a fire, and brought forth a heap of meal in order to sift it, but instead of meal she put ashes into the sieve. " Poor silly old granny!" cried the damsel compassionately, and then she called down from the tree to the old woman, and told her that she was sifting ashes instead of meal. "Oh, my dear damsel!" cried the old woman, weeping, "I am blind, I cannot see. Come down and help me a little in my affliction." Now the little stag had strictly charged her that very morning not to come down from the tree whatever might be said to her, and she obeyed the words of her brother.
On the third day the old witch again came beneath the tree. This time she brought a sheep with her, and brought out a knife to flay it with, and began to jag and skin it from behind instead of cutting its throat. The poor little sheep bleated piteously, and the damsel in the tree, unable to endure the sight of the beast's sufferings, came down from the tree to put the poor thing out of its misery. Then the Padishah, who was concealed close to the tree, rushed out and carried the damsel off to his palace.
The damsel pleased the Padishah so mightily that he wanted to be married to her without more ado; but the damsel would not consent till they had brought her her brother, the little stag: until she saw him, she said, she could have not a moment's rest. Then the Padishah sent men out into the forest, who caught the stag and brought him to his sister. After that he never left his sister's side. They lay down together, and together they rose up. Even when the Padishah and the damsel were wedded, the little stag was never far away from them, and in the evening when he found out where they were, he would softly stroke each of them all over with one of his front feet before going to sleep beside them, and say -
" This little foot is for my sister, That little foot is for my brother."
But time, as men count it, passes quickly to its fulfilment, more quickly still passes the time of fairy tales, but quickest of all flies the time of true love. Yet our little people would have lived on happily if there had not been a black female slave in the palace. Jealousy devoured her at the thought that the Padishah had taken to his bosom the ragged damsel from the tree-top rather than herself, and she watched for an opportunity of revenge.
Now there was a beautiful garden in the palace, with a fountain in the midst of it, and there the Sultan's damsel used to walk about. One day, with a golden saucer in her hand and a silver sandal on her foot, she went towards the great fountain, and the black slave followed after her and pushed her in. There was a big fish in the basin, and it immediately swallowed up the Sultan's pet damsel. Then the black slave returned to the palace, put on the golden raiment of the Sultan's damsel, and sat down in her place.
In the evening the Padishah came and asked the damsel what she had done to her face that it was so much altered. "I have walked too much in the garden, and so the sun has tanned my face," replied the girl. The Padishah believed her and sat down beside her, but the little stag came also, and when he began to stroke them both down with his fore-foot he recognized the slave-girl as he said -
" This little foot is for my sister, And this little foot is for my brother."
Then it became the one wish of the slave-girl's heart to be rid of the little stag as quickly as possible, lest it should betray her.
So after a little thought she made herself sick, and sent for the doctors, and gave them much money to say to the Padishah that the only thing that could save her was the heart of the little stag to eat. So the doctors went and told the Padishah that the sick woman must swallow the heart of the little stag, or there was no hope for her. Then the Padishah went to the slave-girl whom he fancied to be his pet damsel, and asked her if it did not go against her to eat the heart of her own brother?
"What can I do?" sighed the impostor; "if I die, what will become of my poor little pet? If he be cut up I shall live, while he will be spared the torments of those poor beasts that grow old and sick." Then the Padishah gave orders that a butcher's knife should be whetted, and a fire lighted, and a cauldron of water put over the fire.
The poor little stag perceived all the bustling about and ran down into the garden to the fountain, and called out three times to his sister -
" The knife is on the stone, The water's on the boil, Haste, little sister, hasten! "
And thrice she answered back to him from the fish's maw -
" Here am I in the fish's belly, In my hand a golden saucer, On my foot a silver sandal, In my arms a little Padishah! "
For the Sultan's pet damsel had brought forth a little son in the fish's belly.
Now the Padishah was intent on catching the little stag when it ran down into the garden to the fountain, and, coming up softly behind it, heard every word of what the brother and sister were saying to each other. He quietly ordered all the water to be drained off the basin of the fountain, drew up the fish, cut open its belly, and what do you think he saw? In the belly of the fish was his wife, with a golden saucer in her hand, and a silver sandal on her foot, and a little son in her arms. Then the Padishah embraced his wife, and kissed his son, and brought them both to the palace, and heard the tale of it all to the very end.
But the little stag found something in the fish's blood, and when he had swallowed it, he became a man again. Then he rushed to his sister, and they embraced and wept with joy over each other's happiness.
But the Padishah sent for his black slave-girl, and asked her which she would like the best - four good steeds or four good swords. The slave-girl replied: "Let the swords be for the throats of my enemies, but give me the four steeds that I may take my pleasure on horseback." Then they tied the slave-girl to the tails of four good steeds, and sent her out for a ride; and the four steeds tore the black girl into little bits and scattered them abroad.
But the Padishah and his wife lived happily together, and the king's son who had been a stag abode with them; and they gave a great banquet, which lasted four days and four nights; and they attained their desires, and may ye, 0 my readers, attain your desires likewise.