And she clapped her hands, stamping her foot in indignation. Then the women ran, and took up Aja, and carried him away. And they bathed him, and tended him, and fed him till he was recovered: and after a while, they brought him back, into the presence of the King.
So he came once more into that hall, looking like another man. And he seemed in the eyes of the King like the rising sun of his daughter’s marriage, but in those of his daughter like the very God of Love, newly risen from his own ashes. And he said joyously: O King, now I am again myself: and my reason and my strength have both again returned to me. And if in their absence, I behaved strangely and without good manners, it behoves thee to lay the blame rather on the desert of sand, that surrounds thy city, than on myself. For I was like one delirious, and half distracted, by wonder and other feelings coming to the aid of hunger and thirst. Then he told the King his name and family, and all his story, looking all the while at the King’s daughter, as she did all the while at him, with glances that resembled sighs. But as he watched her, Aja said to himself in wonder: What has happened to her, since I saw her first, and what is the matter with her, now? For her quiet grief has abandoned her, and she looks like one in a burning fever; and two red spots, like suns, burn and blaze upon her cheeks, and her great eyes shine and glow, as if there was a fire within her soul. So when he had finished his own tale, he said: Now, then, O King, I have told thee all that I have to tell. And now it is thy turn to speak. Explain to me all this wonder; for I seem to move in a maze of extraordinary events. Why are there, in thy city, no men, but only women? And what is the cause of thy grief? And, greatest wonder of all, how comes it that thou hast found a difficulty in finding a husband for this thy daughter? For, as for myself, know, that, make any terms thou wilt, I am ready to marry her, blindfold, on any conditions whatever: nay, would she only be my wife, I should consider the fruit of my birth attained.
And then, to his amazement, that strange old King began to weep once more. And tears flowed down his cheeks like rain, as he said: Alas! alas! O son-in-law that would be, so fine a man art thou, that I am distressed indeed to see thee, and to hear thee so eagerly proposing to take my daughter for thy wife. For all that have preceded thee, and they were many hundreds, have said the very same: and yet all without exception have come to a miserable end: and there she is, unmarried still. And yet this is no fault of hers, unless indeed it be a fault to be beautiful beyond compare. Nor has her maiden purity been sullied in the least degree by ever a suitor of them all. But all this has come about by reason of a fault of mine, itself, beyond a doubt, the bitter fruit of the tree of crimes committed