As he was looking about, the Malee's wife saw him, and ran out
house and said, "My dear boy, who are you that dare venture
dangerous place?" He answered, "I am a Raja's son, and
I come in
search of my father, and my uncles, and my mother whom a wicked
Then the Malee's wife said, "This country and this palace
belong to a
great enchanter; he is all powerful, and if anyone displeases
can turn them into stones and trees. All the rocks and trees you
here were living people once, and the Magician turned them to
now are. Some time ago a Raja's son came here, and shortly afterward
came his six brothers, and they were all turned into stones and
and these are not the only unfortunate ones, for up in that tower
a beautiful Princess, whom the Magician has kept prisoner there
twelve years, because she hates him and will not marry him."
Then the little Prince thought, "These must be my parents
uncles. I have found what I seek at last." So he told his
the Malee's wife, and begged her to help him to remain in that
awhile and inquire further concerning the unhappy people she mentioned;
and she promised to befriend him, and advised his disguising himself
lest the Magician should see him, and turn him likewise into stone.
this the Prince agreed. So the Malee's wife dressed him up in
and pretended that he was her daughter.
One day, not long after this, as the Magician was walking in
he saw the little girl (as he thought) playing about, and asked
she was. She told him she was the Malee's daughter, and the Magician
said, "You are a pretty little girl, and to-morrow you shall
present of flowers from me to the beautiful lady who lives in
The young Prince was much delighted at hearing this, and went
immediately to inform the Malee's wife; after consultation with
determined that it would be more safe for him to retain his disguise,
and trust to the chance of a favorable opportunity for establishing
some communication with his mother, if it were indeed she.
Now it happened that at Balna's marriage her husband had given
small gold ring on which her name was engraved, and she had put
her little son's finger when he was a baby, and afterward when
older his aunts had had it enlarged for him, so that he was still
to wear it. The Malee's wife advised him to fasten the well-known
treasure to one of the bouquets he presented to his mother, and
to her recognizing it. This was not to be done without difficulty,
such a strict watch was kept over the poor Princess (for fear
ever establishing communication with her friends), that though
supposed Malee's daughter was permitted to take her flowers every
the Magician or one of his slaves was always in the room at the
At last one day, however, opportunity favored him, and when no
looking the boy tied the ring to a nosegay, and threw it at Balna's
feet. It fell with a clang on the floor, and Balna, looking to
what made the strange sound, found the little ring tied to the
On recognizing it, she at once believed the story her son told
his long search, and begged him to advise her as to what she had
do; at the same time entreating him on no account to endanger
by trying to rescue her. She told him that for twelve long years
Magician had kept her shut up in the tower because she refused
him, and she was so closely guarded that she saw no hope of release.
Now Balna's son was a bright, clever boy, so he said, "Do
dear mother; the first thing to do is to discover how far the
Magician's power extends, in order that we may be able to liberate
father and uncles, whom he has imprisoned in the form of the rocks
trees. You have spoken to him angrily for twelve long years; now
rather speak kindly. Tell him you have given up all hopes of again
seeing the husband you have so long mourned, and say you are willing
harry him. Then endeavor to find out what his power consists in,
whether he is immortal, or can be put to death."
Balna determined to take her son's advice; and the next day sent
Punchkin, and spoke to him as had been suggested.
The Magician greatly delighted, begged her to allow the wedding
place as soon as possible.
But she told him that before she married him he must allow her
more time, in which she might make his acquaintance, and that,
being enemies so long, their friendship could but strengthen by
degrees. "And do tell me," she said, "are you quite
death never touch you? And are you too great an enchanter ever
"Why do you ask?" said he.
"Because," she replied. "if I am to be your wife,
I would fain know
all about you, in order, if any calamity threatens you, to overcome,
if possible to avert it."
"It is true," he added, "that I am not as others.
Far, far away,
hundreds of thousands of miles from this, there lies a desolate
covered with thick jungle. In the midst of the jungle grows a
of palm trees, and in the center of the circle stand six chattees
of water, piled one above another: below the sixth chattee is
cage which contains a little green parrot; on the life of the
depends my life; and if the parrot is killed I must die. It is.
however," he added, "impossible that the parrot should
injury, both on account of the inaccessibility of the country,
because, by my appointment, many thousand genii surround the palm
trees, and kill all who approach the place."
Balna told her son what Punchkin had said; but at the same time
implored him to give up all idea of getting the parrot.
The Prince, however, replied, "Mother, unless I can get
hold of that
parrot, you, and my father, and uncles, cannot be liberated: be
afraid, I will shortly return. Do you, meantime, keep the Magician
good humor-still putting off your marriage with him on various
pretexts; and before he finds out the cause of delay, I will be
So saying, he went away.