Obrazy na stronie

“Oh, dearest princess !” exclaimed the Caliph; "tell me, when comes he?—where is the hall?"

The Owl was silent for a moment, and then spoke : “ Take it not ungraciously, but only upon one condition can your wish be gratified.”

“ Speak out! speak out!” cried the Caliph ; command ! I will obey in anything."

It is this ; I also would gladly be free, and this can only happen, if one or you offer me his hand.”

The storks seemed somewhat confused at this proposition, and the Caliph made a sign to his follower to withdraw for a moment with him.

“Grand Vizier !” said the Caliph, as they closed the door behind them, “this is a stupid business—but you could take


“So that my wife should tear out my eyes, when I return home !" said the other. Beside, I am an old man, while you are young and unmarried, and ought willingly to give your hand to a young and beautiful princess."

That is just the thing,” sighed the Caliph, while he sadly drooped his wings ; “who tells you that she is young and beautiful ? It is buying a cat in a bag.”

They talked for a long time together, but at last, when the Caliph saw that his Vizier would rather remain a stork, than marry the Owl, he resolved to fulfil the condition himself. The Owl was overjoyed. She told them that they could not have come at a better time, for probably the magicians would assemble that very night.

She left the chamber, accompanied by the storks, in order to lead them to the hall. They walked for a long time through a dark passage way, when at last a bright light beamed upon them from an opening in a half-ruined wall. When they had arrived thither, the Owl advised them to keep themselves perfectly quiet. From the fissure near which they stood, they had a good view of the large hall. It was adorned round about with pillars, and splendidly decorated. In the middle of the hall stood a circular table, covered with various rare viands; around the table was placed a sofa, upon which sat eight men. In one of these men, the storks recognised the merchant who had sold them the magic powder. The one who sat next him, desired him to recount his latest exploits. He related, among other things, the history of the Caliph and his Vizier.

“What sort of a word hast thou given them?” inquired the other magician.

“A very hard Latin one; it is “ Mutabor."

As the storks heard this, from their place of concealment, they became almost beside themselves for joy. They ran so quickly, with their long legs, to the door of the ruin, that the owl could scarcely follow them. There the Caliph addressed the owl with much emotion. “ Saviour of my life, and of the life of my friend !-as an eternal thanks for what thou hast done for us, receive me for thy husband !" Then he turned himself toward the east. Three times the storks bent their long necks towards the sun, which at this moment ascended from behind the hills ; “Mutabor !" they exclaimed ; in a twinkling they were transformed, and in the delight of newly: restored life, lay master and servant, laughing and weeping in each other's arms. But who can describe their astonishment, as they looked about them! A beautiful woman, magnificently arrayed, stood before them. She gave her hand smilingly to the Caliph. “Do you no longer recognise your Night Owl?” said she.

It was that veritable bird ! The Caliph was so enraptured with her beauty and grace, that he exclaimed, “ It is my greatest happiness that I have been a stork!" The three travelled now toward Bagdad together.

The Caliph found in his clothes, not only the box with the magic powder, but also his purse of gold. By this means he purchased at the nearest village whatever was necessary for their journey, and thus they arrived soon at the gates of Bagdad. The arrival of the Caliph excited the greatest wonder. They had supposed him dead, and the people were overjoyed to have their beloved lord again.

Their hate burned so much the more against the deceiver, Mirza. They entered the palace, and took the old magician and his son prisoner. The Caliph sent the old man to that same chamber which the princess had inhabited as an owl, and ordered him to be there hung up. But to the son, who understood none of the arts of the father, he offered the choice either to die, or snuff. He“ was up to snuff," and chose the latter, when the Grand Vizier offered him the box. A good pinch, and the magic word of the Caliph, changed him into a stork. The Caliph ordered bim to be shut up in an iron cage, and placed in his garden.

Long and happily lived the Caliph Chasid with his wife the princess. His happiest hours were when the Grand Vizier visited him in the afternoon. Then they spoke of their stork's adventure, and wben the Caliph was more than commonly merry, he would so far descend as to imitate the Grand Vizier, and show how he looked as a stork. He walked then gravely up and down the chamber, with precise step, made a clacking noise, fluttered his arms like wings, and showed how he, to no purpose, bowed himself toward the east, and called out “ Mu

This was always a great delight to the princess and her children ; but when the Caliph too long clacked, and bowed, and cried, “ Mumum," the Vizier would threaten, smilingly, “that he would relate to the wife of the Caliph the conversation which took place before the door of the Priu ess Night Owl?"


(Continued from page 54.) Next day, the olive cloaks, which were very pretty and extremely well made, were carefully ripped apart, and the silk was conveyed to the dyer's, together with a small scar

crape shawl of Mrs. Parkinson's which she thought would be convenient in cold weather to wear over her shoulders when at home. The materiel of the dismembered cloaks was rolled up in as small a compass as possible, wrapped in paper, and carried one afternoon by Isabella and Helen. Mr. Copperas informed them that he only dyed on Thursdays, and as this was Friday afternoon, they had come a day too late to have the things done that week. Therefore the articles could not be put into the dye before next Thursday, and then it would be another week before they could be dressed. Dressing in the dyer's phraseology means stiffening and ironing : and


fre quently ironing only.

This delay was extremly inconvenient, as Mrs. Parkinson and her daughters were absolutely very much in need of the cloaks : yet there was no remedy but patience. At the appointed time, two of the girls went to bring home the silk, but were told by a small-featured, mild-spoken woman, employed to attend the customers, that “the things were dyed but not yet dressed."

“Will they be finished by to-morrow afternoon??" asked Isabella. I think they will not."

By Saturday then?" “ It's likely they will."

[ocr errors]

On Saturday the girls went again. Still the articles, though dyed, were not yet dressed : but they were promised for Tues. day—if nothing happened to prevent.

Every few days, for near a fortnight, some of the Parkinson family repaired to the dyer's (and it was a very long walk) but without any success—the things, though always dyed, were never dressed. And when they expressed their disappointment, the woman told them, “ you know I did not say posi. tive-We should never be too certain of anything."

Finally, the silk was acknowledged to be dressed, and it was produced and paid for ; but the crape shawl was missing. A search was made for it, but in vain; still the woman assured them that it could not be lost, as nothing ever was lost in James Copperas' house, adding, “ I partly promise, that if I live, I will find it for thee by to-morrow.

Next day, when she had done sewing, little Louisa went again for the shawl. The woman now confessed that she had not been able to find it, and said to Louisa, “ I think child I would not advise thee to trouble thyself to come after it again. It seems a pity to wear out thy shoes too much. One should not be two certain of anything in this life, and therefore I am not free to say that thy shawl is lost; but it seems to me likely that it will never be found.

• My mother will be sorry,” said Louisa, “ for she really wants the shawl, and will regret to lose it."

The little girl then turned to depart, and had reached the front door when the woman called her back, saying, “ But thee'll pay for the dying ?”

“ What !” exclaimed Lousia, “ after you have lost the shawl!"

“But I can assure thee it was dyed,” replied the woman. “ It actually was dyed, I can speak positive to that, and we cannot afford to lose the dying.”

Louisa, child as she was, had acuteness enough to perceive the intended imposition, and without making an answer, she slipped out of the door : though the woman caught her by the skirt, and attempted to stop her, repeating, “ But we can't afford to lose the dying.'

Lousia, however, disengaged herself from her grasp, and ran down the street, for some distance as fast as possible-afraid to look back lest the quaker -woman should be coming after her for the money she had brought to pay for the shawl, and which she took care to hold tightly in her hand.

In attempting to make up the cloaks, it was found impos

sible to put the different pieces together to the same advantage as before. Also, the silk did not look well, being dyed of a dull brownish black, and stiffened to the consistence of paper. The skirts and sleeves had shrunk much in dying, and the pieces that composed the bodies had been ravelled, frayed and pulled so crooked in dressing, that they had lost nearly all shape. It was impossible to make up the deficiencies by matching the silk with new, as none was to be found that bore sufficient resemblance to it. “Ah!" thought Fanny, “how well these cloaks looked when in their original state. The shade of olive was so beautiful, the silk so soft and glossy, and they fitted so perfectly well.”'.

When put together under all these disadvantages, the cloaks looked so badly that the girls were at first unwilling to wear them, except in extreme cold weather-particularly as in coming out of church they overheard whispers among the ladies in the crowd, of “That's a dyed silk,"'--" Any one may see that those cloaks have been dyed.”

They trimmed them with crape, in hopes of making them look better ; but the crape wore out almost immediately, and in fact it had to be taken off before the final close of the cold weather,

Spring came at last, and the Parkinson family having struggled through a melancholy and comfortless winter, had taken a larger house in a better part, and made arrangements for com. mencing their school, in wbich Fanny was to be chief-instructress. Isabella and Helen, whose ages were sixteen and fourteen, were to assist in teaching some branches, but to con. tinue receiving lessons in others. Louisa was to be one of the pupils.

About a fortnight before their intended removal to their new residence, one afternoon when none of the family were at home, except Fanny, she was surprised by the visit of a friend from Uxbridge, a young gentleman who had been absent three years on a voyuge, in a ship in which he had the chief interest, his father being owner of several vessels.

Edward Montague was an admirer of ladies generally : but during his long voyage he found by his thinking incessantly of Fanny, and not at all of any other female, that he was undoubtedly in love with her; a fact which he had not suspected till the last point of land faded from his view. He resolved to improve his intimacy with our heroine, should he find her still at liberty, on his return to England; and if he perceived a probability of success, to make her at once an offer of bis

« PoprzedniaDalej »