So, after more than two and a half years of separation Akbar found his father again.
THE GARDEN OF GAMES
And now, for the time at any rate, Prince Akbar’s adventures were over, and all the little party prepared to enjoy themselves. Foster-father, taken out of his dungeon, soon recovered consciousness, and the news of King Humayon’s victory and the Heir-to-Empire’s safety, being the best tonic in the world, he was soon about again.
Head-nurse, at last absolutely restored to her proper position in Court, found, however, that her young charge had considerably outgrown the nursery. To begin with, his father, overjoyed at recovering his son, could not see too much of him, and took him about with him wherever he went.
“Time enough for his education to begin when he is four,” said Humayon, when Foster-father pointed out that the boy was old beyond his years and that if he did not soon begin schooling it would be difficult for him by-and-bye.
“Let be—friend, let be!” continued the fond father; “let us have a while to amuse ourselves, now the trouble is over! I tell you I have been in such straits these last four years that I have had no time to amuse myself. Now I mean to show Kabul that life isn’t so bad after all!”
So tall, handsome, good-natured, with a vivid love of colour and beauty and a light-heartedness almost beyond belief,—light-heartedness which had carried him through dangers that might have proved too much for one less gay—Humayon set to work to lavish his money on the most magnificent entertainments that ever were seen.
So long as winter lasted these had to be held in the Bala Hissar, where a sound of music and a ripple of laughter was to be heard day and night; but as spring began once more to carpet the barren hills with millions of flowers, Humayon’s amusements went further afield. One day he and his Court, a glittering cohort of merry men, flashing with diamonds, and prepared to enjoy everything, would ride out many miles to see the great groves of Judas trees flushed with their pink blossoms; ride out to find a magnificent camp awaiting them, a magnificent repast prepared, and all the best singers and dancers in Kabul ready to amuse them. Then the next day, mayhap, they would all go a-hawking, and at each and all of these diversions Humayon’s little son was part of his father’s enjoyment, and so naturally, became more and more of a man every day.
He used to ride on Horse-chestnut, and Tumbu was always of the party, getting in consequence rather too fat, by reason of the rich food which was given him.
But despite all this fun and jollity little Prince Akbar was not quite satisfied.
“You took my mother away with you to the hills,” he would say to his father. “Why didn’t you bring her back with you? I want to see her.”
Then King Humayon would laugh—for he was always merry—and bid his little son be patient. His mother would come with the spring. At present she was in Persia, but so soon as the passes were open she would start for Kabul. And then there would be fun! Whereupon little Prince Akbar would smile a dignified smile, and say, of course there would be fun!