Then was the litter of the peerless Chaoukeun taken down to the banks of the river, and she stood upon a rock which overhung the black waters. “How callest thou this river?” said she to her attendants.
And they replied, “This river, O princess, divides the territory of Tartary from China, and it is called the river of the Black Dragon.”
“Then is the prophecy fulfilled,” cried the pearl beyond price. “It is my destiny; and destiny, who shall resist?”
She raised up her arms to heaven, and uttering a loud shriek at her unhappy fate, she plunged headlong into the boiling waters, and disappeared for ever.
Thus was the prophecy fulfilled. The brother of the sun and moon had wed—beauty had been laid at the golden feet—the pearl beyond price had been found and lost. There had been joy and there had been sorrow in life—and sorrow in death. The Black Dragon had proved the foe to the celestial empire, for it had swallowed up the pearl beyond all price.
Ti-tum, ti-tum, tilly-lilly, tilly-lilly, ti-tum, ti.
The twang of the rude instrument awoke the pacha, who had been fast asleep for some time.
“Is it finished, Mustapha?” said he, rubbing his eyes.
“Yes, your highness; and the destiny foretold was truly accomplished.”
“Bismillah! but I’m glad of it. Before he had whined ten minutes, I foretold that I should go to sleep. My destiny has also been accomplished.”
“Will your highness foretell the destiny of this dog with two tails?”
“Two tails! that reminds me that we have only had one out of him as yet. Let’s have him again to-morrow, and have another. At all events, we shall have a good nap. God is great.”
“Mustapha,” said the pacha, “I feel as the caliph Haroun Alraschid, in the tale of Yussuf, related by Menouni, full of care; my soul is weary—my heart is burnt as roast meat.”
Mustapha, who had wit enough to perceive that he was to act the part of Giaffar, the vizier, immediately replied, “O pacha! great and manifold are the cares of state. If thy humble slave may be permitted to advise, thou wilt call in the Chinese dog with two tails, who hath as yet repeated but one of his tales.”
“Not so,” replied the pacha; “I am weary of his eternal ti-tum, tilly-lilly, which yet ringeth in mine ears. What else canst thou propose?”
“Alem penah! refuge of the world, wilt thou be pleased to order out thy troops, and witness the exercise of djireed? The moon is high in the heavens, and it is light as day.”
“Not so,” replied the pacha; “I am tired of war and all that appertains to it. Let the troops sleep in peace.”
“Then, O pacha! will you permit your slave to send for some bottles of the fire-water of the Giaour, that we may drink and smoke until we are elevated to the seven heavens?”