Now the Princess thought that her troubles were all at an end, but she was much mistaken. The Sultan had no sooner seen her than he made up his mind to marry her, and he ordered the wedding preparations to be begun without loss of time.
In vain the Princess begged to be sent back to Persia. The Sultan only smiled and fixed the wedding-day. Then when she saw that nothing would turn him from his purpose, she thought of a plan to save herself. She began talking all the nonsense she could think of and behaving as if she were mad, and so well did she pretend, that the wedding was put off, and all the doctors were called in to see if they could cure her.
But whenever a doctor came near the Princess she became so wild and violent that he dared not even feel her pulse, so none of them discovered that she was only pretending.
The Sultan was in great distress, and sent far and near for the cleverest doctors. But none of them seemed to be able to cure the Princess of her madness.
All this time the Prince of Persia was wandering about in search of his Princess, and when he came to one of the great cities of India, he heard every one talking about the sad illness of the Princess of Bengal who was to have married the Sultan. He at once disguised himself as a doctor and went to the palace, saying he had come to cure the Princess.
The Sultan received the new doctor with joy, and led him at once to the room where the Princess sat alone, weeping and wringing her hands.
“Your Majesty,” said the disguised Prince, “no one else must enter the room with me, or the cure will fail.”
So the Sultan left him, and the Prince went close to the Princess, and gently touched her hand.
“My beloved Princess,” he said, “dost thou not know me?”
As soon as the Princess heard that dear voice she threw herself into the Prince’s arms, and her joy was so great that she could not speak.
“We must at once plan our escape,” said the Prince. “Canst thou tell me what has become of the Enchanted Horse?”
“Naught can I tell thee of it, dear Prince,” answered the Princess, “but since the Sultan knows its value, no doubt he has kept it in some safe place.”
“Then first we must persuade the Sultan that thou art almost cured,” said the Prince. “Put on thy costliest robes and dine with him to-night, and I will do the rest.”
The Sultan was charmed to find the Princess so much better, and his joy knew no bounds when the new doctor told him that he hoped by the next day to complete the cure.
“I find that the Princess has somehow been infected by the magic of the Enchanted Horse,” he said. “If thou wilt have the horse brought out into the great square, and place the Princess upon its back, I will prepare some magic perfumes which will dispel the enchantment. Let all the people be gathered together to see the sight, and let the Princess be arrayed in her richest dress and decked with all her jewels.”