Go in, master, by all means; and may you find favour
[Exit SUPERINTENDENT. FIRST CONSTABLE.
[After an interval.
I say, Januka, the Superintendent is a long time away.
Aye, aye; kings are not to be got at so easily. Folks must bide the proper opportunity.
Januka, my fingers itch to strike the first blow at this royal victim here. We must kill him with all the honours, you know. I long to begin binding the flowers round his head.
[Pretends to strike a blow at the FISHERMAN.
Your Honour surely will not put an innocent man to a cruel death.
There’s our Superintendent at last, I declare. See! he is coming towards us with a paper in his hand. We shall soon know the King’s command; so prepare, my fine fellow, either to become food for the vultures, or to make acquaintance with some hungry cur.
Ho, there, Suchaka! set the fisherman at liberty, I tell you. His story about the ring is all correct. SUCHAKA.
Oh! very good, Sir; as you please.
The fellow had one foot in hell, and now here he is in the land of the living.
[Bowing to the SUPERINTENDENT.
Now, master, what think you of my way of getting a livelihood?
Here, my good man, the King desired me to present you with this purse. It contains a sum of money equal to the full value of the ring.
[Gives him the money.
[Taking it and bowing.
His Majesty does me too great honour.
You may well say so. He might as well have taken you from the gallows to seat you on his state elephant.
Master, the King must value the ring very highly, or he would never have sent such a sum of money to this ragamuffin.
I don’t think he prizes it as a costly jewel so much as a memorial of some person he tenderly loves. The moment it was shown to him he became much agitated, though in general he conceals his feelings. SUCHAKA.
Then you must have done a great service—
Yes, to this husband of a fish-wife.
[Looks enviously at the FISHERMAN.
Here’s half the money for you, my masters. It will serve to purchase the flowers you spoke of, if not to buy me your good-will.
Well, now, that’s just as it should be.
My good fisherman, you are an excellent fellow, and I begin to feel quite a regard for you. Let us seal our first friendship over a glass of good liquor. Come along to the next wine-shop, and we’ll drink your health.