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You are even more valuable than I realized! As he did so, the cloud came right down into the lamplight. The manners of Zanzib did not let you praise yourself. My son's fortune is a great disapppointment to me. So, before he left his booth, he very carefully wrapped the magic carpet around one of the poles that supported the roof and bound it there, around and around, with a whole reel of twine, which he then tied to one of the iron stakes at the base of the wall. It had a few lines of writing on it, brown and faded and definitely his father's. Cheating was a way of life in Zanzib.
With the constant interruptions from portrait sellers, this took him some time. Nevertheless, he reached zymurgy in the early evening without the carpet's having so much as twitched.
It was that or believe that Flower-in-the-Night was only a dream after all. Even if she was real, his chances of getting the carpet to take him to her seemed slimmer by the minute. He stood there uttering every strange sound and every foreign word he could think of, and still the carpet made no move of any kind.
Abdullah was interrupted again an hour before sundown by a large crowd gathering outside, carrying bundles and big flat packages. The artist had to push his way through the crowd with his portfolio of drawings.
The following hour was hectic in the extreme. Abdullah inspected paintings, rejected portraits of aunts and mothers, and beat down huge prices asked for bad drawings of nephews. In the course of that hour he acquired, beside the hundred excellent drawings from the artist, eighty-nine further pictures, lockets, drawings, and even a piece of a wall with a face daubed on it.
He also parted with almost all the money he had left over after buying the magic carpet-if it was magic. It was dark by the time he finally convinced the man who claimed that the oil painting of his fourth wife's mother was enough like a man to qualify that this was not the case and pushed him out of the booth.
He was by then too tired and wrought up to eat. He would have gone straight to bed had not Jamal-who had been doing a roaring trade selling snacks to the waiting crowd-arrived with tender meat on a skewer. But mad or not, you must eat. At last he was able to pile his pictures onto the carpet and lie down among them. It took him a long time to get to sleep.
He woke to the dreamy fragrance of night flowers and a hand gently prodding him. Flower-in-the-Night was leaning over him. Abdullah saw she was far lovelier than he had been remembering her.
Abdullah thought triumphantly. I think this ought to give you at least a general idea. Then Abdullah showed her the pictures, holding them under a lamp first and then leaning them up against the bank. He began to feel like a pavement artist. Flower-in-the-Night inspected each man as Abdullah showed him, absolutely impartially and with great concentration.
Then she picked up a lamp and inspected the artist's drawings all over again. This pleased Abdullah. The artist was a true professional. He had drawn men exactly as Abdullah asked, from a heroic and kingly person evidently taken from a statue, to the hunchback who cleaned shoes in the Bazaar, and had even included a self-portrait halfway through.
My father is not at all typical, and neither are you, of course. Abdullah noticed, rather nervously, that the ones she had singled out were the handsomest.
He watched her leaning over them with a small frown on her forehead and a curly tendril of dark hair 24 straying over the frown, looking thoroughly intent.
He began to wonder what he had started. Flower-in-the-Night collected the pictures together and stacked them neatly in a pile beside the bank. Some of these look far too proud of themselves, and some look selfish and cruel. You are unassuming and kind.
I intend to ask my father to marry me to you, instead of to the Prince in Ochinstan. Would you mind? The law allows a man to have as many wives as he can afford, but-" The frown came back to Flower-in-the-Night's forehead. She sat on the bank and thought. He knew he had indeed started something. Flower-in-the-Night was discovering that her father had kept her ignorant of a number of important facts.
Why did you say that my marrying you might not work? You mentioned yesterday that you are a prince as well. Though he told himself that he had had every reason to believe he was dreaming when he told her, this did not make him feel any better.
But I also told you I was lost and far from my kingdom," he said. I sell carpets in the Bazaar of Zanzib. Your father is clearly a very rich man. This will not strike him as a fitting alliance. I love you. Do you not love me? He looked back into hers, into what seemed an eternity of big dark eyes. He found himself saying, "Yes. Several more moonlit eternities went by.
Then there is nothing he can say. This ought to be easy, because I do happen to own a magic carpet. There it is, up on the bank. It brought me here. Unfortunately it needs to be activated by a magic word which I seem only able to say in my sleep.
Abdullah watched, admiring the grace with which she bent toward it. The command word will probably be a fairly common word pronounced in an old way. My reading suggests these carpets were meant to be used quickly in an emergency, so the word will not be anything too out of the way. Why do you not tell me carefully everything you know about it? Between us we ought to be able to work it out. He admired her even more. He told her, as far as he knew them, every fact about the carpet, including the uproar at Jamal's stall which had prevented him hearing the command word.
That is such an odd thing to do that I feel sure we should think about it later. But let us first think about what the carpet does. You say it came down when you ordered it to.
Did the stranger speak then? Truly he had found a pearl among women, Abdullah thought. After that I see two possibilities: He was dizzy with admiration for her logic. But it was too late. The carpet whipped up into the air and then away sideways with such speed and suddenness that Abdullah was first thrown over on his back, with all the breath knocked out of him, and then found himself hanging half off over its frayed edge at what seemed a terrifying height in the air.
The wind of its movement took his breath away as soon as he did manage to breathe. All he could do was to claw frantically for a better grip on the fringe at one end.
And before he could work his way back on top of it, let alone speak, the carpet plunged downward-leaving Abdullah's newly gained breath high in the air above-barged its way through the curtains of the booth-half smothering Abdullah in the process-and landed smoothly-and very finally-on the floor inside. Abdullah lay on his face, gasping, with dizzy memories of turrets whirling past him against a starry sky. Everything had happened so quickly that at first all he could think of was that the 27 distance between his booth and the night garden must be quite surprisingly short.
Then, as his breath did at last come back, he wanted to kick himself. What a stupid thing to have done! He could at least have waited until Flower-in-the-Night had had time to step on the carpet, too. Now Flower-in-the-Night's own logic told him that there was no way to get back to her but to fall asleep again and, once more, hope he chanced to say the command word in his sleep. But as he had already done it twice, he was fairly sure that he would. He was even more certain that Flower-in-the-Night would work this out for herself and wait in the garden for him.
She was intelligence itself-a pearl among women. She would expect him back in an hour or so. After an hour of alternately blaming himself and praising Flower-in-the-Night, Abdullah did manage to fall asleep. But alas, when he woke he was still facedown on the carpet in the middle of his own booth. Jamal's dog was barking outside, which was what had woken him up. This was all he needed. His father's first wife's relatives usually only came near him once a month, and they had paid that visit to him two days ago.
Hakim inserted his plump body between the hangings. Anyone could come in here and surprise you as you slept. Strangle me with a carpet? No, I cannot approve the safety of your arrangements. He was thoroughly miserable. His soul cried out for Flower-in-the-Night, and he could not get to her. He had no patience with anything else. He went to the back of his booth to wash.
But it was clear that Hakim was not going away without delivering his message. When Abdullah turned around from washing, Hakim was still standing there. If you care to present yourself at the emporium in proper apparel, this box will be handed over to you.
Nor did he see why he had to go himself to collect it when Hakim could just as easily have brought it with him. He was about to refuse when it occurred to him that if he succeeded in uttering the correct word in his sleep tonight which he was confident he would, having done it twice before , then he and Flower-in-the-Night would in all probability be eloping together. A man should go to his wedding correctly clothed and washed and shaved.
So since he would be going to baths and barber anyway, he might as well drop in and collect the silly prophecy on his way back. The thought of his coming elopement so overjoyed him 30 that he smiled at Hakim and bowed with extreme politeness. He was obviously both displeased and suspicious.
Abdullah could not have cared less. As soon as Hakim was out of sight, he joyfully gave Jamal half his remaining money to guard his booth for the day. In return, he was forced to accept from the increasingly grateful Jamal a breakfast consisting of every delicacy on Jamal's stall. Excitement had taken away Abdullah's appetite. There was so much food that in order not to hurt Jamal's feelings, Abdullah gave most of it secretly to Jamal's dog; this he did warily, because the dog was a snapper as well as a biter.
The dog, however, seemed to share its master's gratitude. It thumped its tail politely, ate everything Abdullah offered, and then tried to lick Abdullah's face. Abdullah dodged that piece of politeness. The dog's breath was laden with the scent of elderly squid.
He patted it gingerly on its gnarled head, thanked Jamal, and hurried off into the Bazaar. There he invested his remaining cash in the hire of a handcart. This cart he loaded carefully with his best and most unusual carpets-his floral Ochinstan, the glowing mat from Inhico, the golden Farqtans, the glorious patterned ones from the deep desert, and the matched pair from distant Thayack-and wheeled them along to the big booths in the center of the Bazaar where the richest merchants traded.
For all his excitement, Abdullah was being practical. Flower-in-the-Night's father was clearly very rich. None but the wealthiest of men could afford the dowry for marrying a prince. It was therefore clear to Abdullah that he and Flower-in-the-Night would have to go very far away, or her father could make things very unpleasant for them. But it was also clear to Abdullah that Flower-in-the-Night was used to having the best of everything. She would not be happy roughing it. So Abdullah had to have money.
He bowed before the merchant in the richest of the rich booths and, having called him treasure among traders and most majestic of merchants, offered him the floral Ochinstan carpet for a truly tremendous sum. In order to make room for these, I am forced to dispose of the least valuable of my carpets. And it occurred to me that a seller of celestial weavings like yourself might consider helping the son of his old friend by taking off my hands this miserable flowery thing, at a bargain price.
But for you I will reduce my price by two coppers. But by the early evening Abdullah had sold all his best carpets for nearly twice as much as he had paid for them.
He reckoned that he now had enough ready money to keep Flower-in-the-Night in reasonable luxury for three months or so. After that he hoped that either something else would turn up or that the sweetness of her nature would reconcile her to poverty. He went to the baths. He went to the barbeir. He called at the scent maker and had himself perfumed with oils.
Then he went back to his booth and dressed in his best clothes. These clothes, like the clothes of most merchants, had various cunning insets, pieces of embroidery and ornamental twists of braid that were not ornaments at all, but cleverly concealed purses for money. Abdullah distributed his newly earned gold among these hiding places and was ready at last. He went, not very willingly, along to his father's old emporium.
He told himself that it would pass the time between now and his elopement. It was a curious feeling place where he had spent cedarwood and the spices familiar that if he shut to go up the shallow cedar steps and enter the so much of his childhood.
The smell of it, the and the hairy, oily scent of carpets, was so his eyes, he could imagine he 32 was ten years old again, playing behind a roll of carpet while his father bargained with a customer.
But with his eyes open, Abdullah had no such illusion. His father's first wife's sister had a regrettable fondness for bright purple.
The walls, the trellis screens, the chairs for customers, the cashier's table, and even the cashbox had all been painted Fatima's favorite color. Fatima came to meet him in a dress of the same color. How prompt you are and how smart you look! It was so rare to see Assif smiling that Abdullah thought for a moment that Assif had ricked his neck and was grimacing with pain. Then Hakim sniggered, which made Abdullah realize what Assif had just said. To his annoyance, he found he was blushing furiously.
He was forced to bow politely in order to hide his face. That, of course, made Abdullah's blush worse. Abdullah ceased to blush. He saw he had been summoned here to be criticized. He was sure of it when Assif added reproachfully, "Our feelings are somewhat hurt, son of my father's niece's husband, that you did not seem to think we could oblige you by taking a few carpets off your hands. My aim was to make a profit, and I could hardly mulct you, whom my father loved. We do not like this. Abdullah said, "There is nothing wrong with my mind.
I know just what I am doing. And my aim is to cease giving you any chance to criticize me, probably by tomorrow. Meanwhile, Hakim told me to come here because you have found the prophecy that was made at my birth.
Is this correct, or was it merely an excuse? Oddly enough, instead of being angry with Abdullah in return, all three of his father's first wife's relations began hurrying excitedly around the emporium.
He must see it! She gave the box to Assif, who thrust it into Abdullah's hands. Abdullah put the box down on the purple cashier's table and sprang the catch.
The lid went back, bringing a musty smell from inside, which was perfectly plain and empty apart from a folded yellowish paper. Read it! Abdullah could not see what the fuss was about, but he unfolded the paper. It had a few lines of writing on it, brown and faded and definitely his father's. He turned toward the hanging lamp with it. Now that Hakim had shut the main doors, the general purpleness of the emporium made it hard to see in there.
There's no light in here. Bring him into the room at the back. The overhead shutters are open there. Abdullah was so busy trying to read the pale and scribbly writing of his father that he let them push him until he was positioned under the big overhead louvers in the living room behind the emporium.
That was better. Now he knew why his father had been so disappointed in him. The writing said: These are the words of the wise fortune teller: Two years after your death, whiile he is still a very young man, he will be raised above all others in this land. As fate decrees it, so I have spoken.
My son's fortune is a great disapppointment to me. Let Fate send me other sons to follow in my trade, or I have wasted forty gold pieces on this prophecy.
Somebody giggled. Abdullah looked up from the paper, a little bemused. There seemed to be a lot of scent in the air. The giggle came again, two of it, from in front of him. Abdullah's eyes snapped forward. He felt them bulge. Two extremely fat young women stood in front of him.
They met his bulging eyes and giggled again, coyly. Both were dressed to kill in shiny satin and ballooning gauze-pink on the right, yellow on the left one-and hung with more necklaces and bracelets than seemed probable. In addition, the pink one, who was fattest, had a pearl dangling on her forehead, just below her carefully frizzed hair. The yellow one, who was only just not fattest, wore a sort of amber tiara and had even frizzier hair.
Both wore a very large amount of makeup, which was, in both cases, a severe error. Didn't you hear me say I was going to look out for a couple of wives for you? After a fairly long pause, in which he swallowed hard and did his best to control his feelings, Abdullah said politely, "Tell me, O relatives of my father's first wife, have you known of the prophecy which was made at my birth for a long time?
Then we took steps to ensure that we shared in your good fortune. These two brides of yours are closely related to all three of us.
You will naturally not neglect us as you rise. So, dear boy, it only remains for me to introduce you to the magistrate, who, as you see, stands ready to marry you. Now he raised his eyes and met the cynical look of the Justice of the Bazaar, who was just stepping 36 out from behind a screen with his Register of Marriages in his hands. Abdullah wondered how much he was being paid. Abdullah bowed politely to the Justice.
After they've come all this way, expecting to be married, and got all dressed up! How could you, nephew! The feelings of the two brides were hurt anyway. Each girl uttered a wail. Each put her veiled face in her hands and sobbed heavily. Abdullah discovered that the sight of females crying-particularly such large ones, who wobbled with it everywhere-made him feel terrible.
He knew he was an oaf and a beast. He was ashamed. The situation was not the girls' fault. They had been used by Assif, Fatima, and Hakim, just as Abdullah had been.
But the chief reason he felt so beastly-and it made him truly ashamed-was that he just wanted them to stop, to shut up and stop wobbling.
Otherwise he did not care two hoots for their feelings. If he compared them with Flower-in-the-Night, he knew they revolted him.
The idea of marrying them stuck in his craw. He felt sick. But just because they were whimpering and sniffing and flubbering in front of him, he found himself considering that three wives were perhaps not so many, after all. The two of them would make companions for Flower-in-the-Night when they were all far from Zanzib and home.
He would have to explain the situation to them and load them onto the magic carpetThat brought Abdullah back to reason. With a bump. With the sort of bump a magic carpet might make if loaded with two such 37 weighty females-always supposing it could even get off the ground with them on it in the first place. They were so very fat. As for thinking they would make companions for Flower-in-theNight-phooey!
She was intelligent, educated, and kind, as well as being beautiful and thin. These two had yet to show him that they had a brain cell between them. They wanted to be married, and their crying was a way of bullying him into it. And they giggled. He had never heard Flower-in-the-Night giggle. Here Abdullah was somewhat amazed to discover that he, really and truly, did love Flower-in-the-Night just as ardently as he had been telling himself he did-or more, because he now saw he respected her.
He knew he would die without her. And if he agreed to marry these two fat nieces, he would be without her. She would call him greedy, like the Prince in Ochinstan. It would have saved this misunderstanding. I cannot marry yet. I have made a vow.
To be legal, all vows must be registered with a magistrate. Abdullah thought rapidly.
I was but a small child at the time. Though I did not understand then, I see now it was because of the prophecy. My father, being a prudent man, did not wish to see his forty gold coins wasted.
He made me vow that I would never marry until Fate had placed me above all others in this land. So you see"-Abdullah put his hands in the sleeves of his best suit and bowed regretfully to the two fat brides-"I cannot yet marry you, twin plums of candied sugar, but the time will come.
He was sweating. He turned to Assif, Hakim, and Fatima and-rather coldly-made his formal goodbyes. Abdullah left with him, almost clinging to the Justice's official sash in his hurry to get away from the emporium and the two fat brides. Or she might love him still but have decided not to fly away with him. It took him a while to get to sleep. But when he woke, everything was perfect. The carpet was just gliding to a gentle landing on the moonlit bank. So Abdullah knew he had said the command word after all, and it was such a short while since he had said it that he almost had a memory of what it was.
But it went clean out of his head when Flower-in-the-Night came running eagerly toward him, among the white scented flowers and the round yellow lamps.
Abdullah's heart sang. The moon seemed just then to go behind a cloud because Abdullah saw her lit entirely by the lamps for a moment, golden and eager, as she ran. He stood up and held out his hands to her. As he did so, the cloud came right down into the lamplight. And it was not a cloud but great black leathery wings, silently beating.
A pair of equally leathery arms, with hands that had long fingernails like claws, reached from the shadow of those fanning wings and wrapped themselves around Flower-in-the-Night. Abdullah saw her jerk as those arms stopped her running.
She looked around and up. Whatever she saw made her scream, one single wild, frantic scream, which was cut off when one of the leathery arms changed position to clap its huge taloned hand over her face. Flower-in-the- Night beat at the arm with her fists, and kicked and struggled, but all quite uselessly. She was lifted up, a small white figure against the huge blackness. The great wings silently beat again. A gigantic foot, with talons like the hands, pressed the turf a yard or so from the bank where Abdullah was still in the act of standing up, and a leathery leg flexed mighty calf muscles as the thing-whatever it was-sprang upright.
For the merest instant Abdullah found himself staring into a hideous leathery face with a ring through its hooked nose and long, upslanting eyes, remote and cruel. The thing was not looking at him. It was simply concentrating on getting itself and its captive airborne. The next second it was aloft. Abdullah saw it overhead for a heartbeat longer, a mighty flying djinn dangling a tiny, pale human girl in its arms.
Then the night swallowed it up. It all had happened unbelievably quickly. Follow that djinn! The carpet seemed to obey. It bellied up from the bank. Then, almost as if someone had given it another command, it sank back and lay still.
There was a shout from farther down the garden. That scream came from up there! He did not wait to explain to these people why he had screamed. He flung himself flat on the carpet. It was up off the bank in an eye blink and then hurtling sideways across a forbiddingly high wall.
Abdullah had just a glimpse of a large party of northern mercenaries milling around in the lamplit garden before he was speeding above the sleeping roofs and moonlit towers of Zanzib. He had barely time to reflect that Flower-in-the- Night's father must be even richer than he had thought-few people could afford that many hired soldiers, and mercenaries from the north were the most expensive kind-before the carpet planed downward and brought him smoothly in through the curtains to the middle of his booth.
There he gave himself up to despair. A djinn had stolen Flower-in-the-Night and the carpet had refused to follow. He knew that was not surprising. A djinn, as everyone in Zanzib knew, commanded enormous powers in the air and the earth.
No doubt the djinn had, as a precaution, ordered everything in the garden to stay where it was while he carried Flower-in-the-Night away. It had probably not even noticed the carpet, or Abdullah on it, but the carpet's lesser magic had been forced to give way to the djinn's command.
So the djinn had stolen away Flowerin-the-Night, whom Abdullah loved more than his own soul, just at the moment when she was about to run into his arms, and there seemed nothing he could do. He wept. After that he vowed to throw away all the money hidden in his clothes. It was useless to him now. But before he did, he gave himself over to grief again, noisy misery at first, in which he lamented out loud and beat his breast in the manner of Zanzib; then, as cocks crowed and people began moving about, he fell into silent despair.
There was no point even in moving. Other people might bustle about and whistle and clank buckets, but Abdullah was no longer 42 part of that life. He stayed crouching on the magic carpet, wishing he were dead. So miserable was he that it never occurred to him that he might be in any danger himself. He paid no attention when all the noises in the Bazaar stopped, like birds when a hunter enters a wood.
He did not really notice the heavy marching of feet or the regular clankclankclank of mercenary armor that went with it.
When someone barked "Halt! But he did turn around when the curtains of the booth were torn down. He was sluggishly surprised. He blinked his swollen eyes against the powerful sunlight and wondered vaguely what a troop of northern soldiers was doing coming in here.
With us. Abdullah was bewildered. He protested feebly when they dragged him to his feet and twisted his arms to make him walk. He went on protesting as they marched him at the double-clankclank, clank-clank-out of the Bazaar and into the West Quarter.
Before long he was protesting very strongly indeed. You'll see," they answered. They were too fit to pant. A short while after, they ran Abdullah in under a massive gate made of blocks of stone that glared white in the sun, into a blazing courtyard, where they spent five minutes outside an ovenlike smithy loading Abdullah with chains. He protested even more. Where is this? I demand to know! He remarked to his second-in- command in his barbarous northern accent, "They always winge so, these Zanzibbeys.
Got no notion of dignity. Last one I chained like this got crucified. On the double! Abdullah would have said it was impossible even to walk in those chains. They were so heavy. But it is wonderful what you can do if a party of grim-faced soldiers is quite set on making you do it. He ran, clank-chankle, clank-chankle, clash, until at last, with an exhausted jingle, he arrived at the foot of a high raised seat made of cool blue and gold tiles and piled with cushions.
There the soldiers all went down on one knee, in a distant, decorous way, as northern soldiers did to the person who was paying them.
Abdullah did not kneel. He followed the customs of Zanzib and fell on his face. Besides, he was exhausted and it was easier to fall down with a mighty clatter than do anything else. The tiled floor was blessedly, wonderfully cool. A soldier hauled on the chains, and two others pulled on Abdullah's arms until they had got him sort of bent on his knees.
They held him that way, and Abdullah was glad. He would have crumpled up in horror otherwise. The man lounging on the tiled throne was fat and bald and wore a bushy gray beard. He was slapping at a cushion, in a way that looked idle but was really bitterly angry, with a white cotton thing that had a tassel on top. It was this tasseled thing that made Abdullah see what trouble he was in.
The thing was his own nightcap. Your name is inside it, you miserable salesman! It was found by me-by us in person!
Do you deny that you crept into my night garden and presented my daughter with these portraits? Do you deny that you then stole my daughter away? She was snatched from before my very eyes by a huge and hideous djinn.
I have no more idea than your most celestial self where she is now. He was in such despair by now that he hardly cared what he said. Have me enchanted to tell the truth, and I will still say the same, O mighty crusher of criminals.
For it is the truth. And since I am probably far more desolated than yourself by the loss of your daughter, great Sultan, glory of our land, I implore you to kill me now and spare me a life of misery!
They sprang up readily and pulled Abdullah to his feet. I 45 daresay the Prince of Ochinstan will accept her as a widow if I double the dowry. I had intended to seek out a magistrate as soon as we were far from Zanzib. I know what is proper. But I also felt it proper to make sure first that Flower-in-the-Night indeed wished to marry me.
Her decision struck me as made in ignorance, despite the hundred and eighty-nine pictures. If you will forgive my saying so, protector of patriots, your method of bringing up your daughter is decidedly unsound. She took me for a woman when she first saw me. You fool," he said to Abdullah, "slave and mongrel who dares to criticize!
Of course I had to bring my daughter up as I did. The prophecy made at her birth was that she would marry the first man, apart from me, that she saw! For the first time that day he felt a twinge of hope. The Sultan was staring down the gracefully tiled and ornamented room, thinking. But the princes of Ochinstan are very hard to pin down. So all I had to do- so I thought-was to isolate my daughter from any possibility of seeing a man-and naturally give her the best of educations otherwise, to make sure she could sing and dance and make herself pleasing to a prince.
Then, when my daughter was of marriageable age, I invited the Prince here on a visit of state. He was to come here next year, when he had finished subduing a land he has just conquered with those same excellent weapons. And I knew that as soon as my daughter set eyes on him, the prophecy would make sure that I had him!
He felt the eyes of the soldiers turn to him, wondering at his daring. Abdullah did not care. He felt he had little to lose.
The Sultan glowered down at him. His powerful hands wrung the nightcap as if it were Abdullah's neck. That prophecy will get itself fulfilled somehow, I know that. Therefore, if I wish my daughter to marry the Prince of Ochinstan, I must first go along with the prophecy. He had naturally seen this straightaway, but he had been anxious to make sure that the Sultan had worked it out, too.
And he had. Clearly Flower-in-the-Night inherited her logical mind from her father. You must have hidden the girl somewhere. Take him away," he said to the soldiers, "and shut him in the safest dungeon we have. Leave the chains on him. He must have used some form of enchantment to get into the garden, and he can probably use it to escape unless we are careful. The Sultan noticed. He smiled nastily.
She is to be brought to the dungeon for the wedding as soon as she is found. At the moment I favor impaling you upon a forty- foot stake and then loosing vultures to eat bits off you.
But I could change my mind if I think of something worse. He thought of the prophecy made at his own birth. A forty- foot stake would raise him above all others in the land very nicely.
It probably came from a distant window at the end of a passage on the floor above, where the grating was part of the floor. Knowing that this was what he had to look forward to, Abdullah tried, as the soldiers dragged him away, to fill his eyes and mind with images of light.
In the pause while the soldiers were unlocking the outside door to the dungeons, he looked up and around. They were in a dark little courtyard with blank walls of stone standing like cliffs all about it. But if he tipped his head tight back, Abdullah could just see a slender spire in the mid-distance, outlined against the rising gold of morning. It amazed him to see that it was only an hour after dawn.
Above the spire the sky was deep blue with just one cloud standing peacefully in it.
Morning was still flushing the cloud red and gold, giving it the look of a high-piled castle with golden windows. Golden light caught the wings of a white bird circling the spire. Abdullah was sure this was the last beauty he would ever see in his life.
He stared backward at it as the soldiers lugged him inside. The dungeon was another world. For a long time he was too miserable even to notice how cramped he was in his chains. When he did notice, he shifted and clanked about on the cold floor, but it did not help very much.
After this he tried to stave off despair with his daydream. But somehow, thinking of himself as a prince who had been kidnapped helped not at all. He knew it was untrue, and he kept thinking guiltily that Flower-in-the-Night had believed him when he told her. She must have decided to marry him because she thought he was a prince-being a princess herself, as he now knew. He simply could not imagine himself ever daring to tell her the truth.
For a while it seemed to him that he deserved the worst fate the Sultan could invent for him. Then he began thinking of Flower-in-the-Night herself. Wherever she was, she was certainly at least as scared and miserable as he was himself.
Abdullah yearned to comfort her. He wanted to rescue her so much that he spent some time wrenching uselessly at his chains. He visualized it lying on the floor of his booth, and he called to it, out loud, over and over again. He said all the magic-sounding words he could think of, hoping one of them would be the command word.
Nothing happened. And how silly to think that it would!
Abdullah thought. Even if the carpet could hear him from the dungeon, supposing he got the command word right at last, how could even a magic carpet wriggle its way in here through that tiny grating? And suppose it did wriggle in, how would that help Abdullah to get out? It must now be the heat of the day, when most folk in Zanzib took at least a short rest.
Abdullah himself, when he was not visiting one of the public parks, usually sat on a pile of his less good carpets in the shade in front of his stall, drinking fruit juice, or wine if he could afford it, and chatting lazily with Jamal.
No longer. And this is just my first day! I'm keeping track of the hours now. How long before I lose track even of days? He shut his eyes. One good thing. A house-to-house search for the Sultan's daughter would cause at least some annoyance to Fatima, Hakim, and Assif simply because they were known to be the only family Abdullah had.
He hoped soldiers turned the purple emporium upside down. He hoped they slit the walls and unrolled all the carpets. He hoped they arrestedSomething landed on the floor beyond Abdullah's feet. So they throw me some food, Abdullah thought, and I would rather starve.
He opened his eyes lazily. They shot wide of their own accord. There, on the dungeon floor, lay the magic carpet. Upon it, peacefully sleeping, lay Jamal's bad-tempered dog. Abdullah stared at both of them. He could imagine how, in the heat of midday, the dog might lie down in the shade of Abdullah's booth.
He could see that it would lie on the carpet because it was comfortable. But how a dog-a dog-could chance to say the command word was beyond him to understand entirely. As he stared, the dog began dreaming.
Its paws worked. Its snout wrinkled, and it snuffled, as if it had caught the most delicious possible scent, and it uttered a faint whimper, as if whatever it smelled in the dream were escaping from it. It uttered a loud snore and woke up.
Doglike, it wasted no time wondering how it came to be in this strange dungeon. It sniffed and smelled Abdullah. It sprang 51 up with a delighted squeak, planted its paws among the chains on Abdullah's chest, and enthusiastically licked his face.
Abdullah laughed and rolled his head to keep his nose out of the dog's squiddy breath. He was quite as delighted as the dog was. You have saved my life and possibly Flower-in-the-Night's, too! He gave a great sigh. Now he was safe. It was pursuing the smell with excited snorts. At each snort Abdullah felt the carpet quiver beneath him. It gave him the answer he needed. Then my fate will be yours. You have brought me the carpet and revealed me its secret, and I cannot see you stuck on a forty-foot stake.
It was not attending. Abdullah heard, unmistakable even through the thick walls of the dungeon, the tramp of feet and the rattle of keys. Someone was coming. He gave up persuading the dog.
He lay flat on the carpet. It left the corner, jumped on Abdullah's chest, and proceeded to obey him. Hover beside Jamal's stall. Keys were unlocking the dungeon door. Abdullah was not any too sure how the carpet left the dungeon because the dog was still licking his face and he was forced to keep his eyes shut. He felt a 52 dank shadow pass across him-perhaps that was when they melted through the wall-and then bright sunlight. The dog lifted its head into the sunlight, puzzled.
Abdullah squinted sideways across his chains and saw a high wall rear in front of them and then fall below as the carpet rose smoothly over it. Then came a succession of towers and roofs, quite familiar to Abdullah though he had only seen them by night before. And after that the carpet went planing down toward the outer edge of the Bazaar.
For the palace of the Sultan was indeed only five minutes' walk from Abdullah's booth. Jamal's stall came into view, and beside it, Abdullah's own wrecked booth, with carpets flung all over the walkway. Obviously soldiers had searched there for Flower-in-the-Night. Jamal was dozing, with his head on his arms, between a big simmering pot of squid and a charcoal grill with skewered meat smoking on it.
He raised his head, and his one eye stared as the carpet came to hang in the air in front of him. It is no fun keeping the stall next door to anyone a sultan wishes to impale on a stake. He seemed speechless. Since the dog was taking no notice, either, Abdullah struggled into sitting position, clanking, rattling, and sweating. This tipped the dog off. It jumped nimbly to the stall counter, where Jamal absently seized it in his arms.
But sitting up had given him a view down the walkway between the stalls. He could see the soles of running feet down there and flyinggarments. It seemed that one boothkeeper was on his way to fetch the Watch, though there was something about the running figure that reminded Abdullah rather strongly of Assif.
Put your hand on the embroidery above my left boot. Put your hand in and take the money out of it. They'll be after you and your dog for helping me. Take the gold and the dog and get out.
Leave Zanzib. Go north to the barbarous places, where you can hide. You could make your fortune there. Now he saw the space fill, not with the Watch but with northern mercenaries, and they were running. Jamal caught the clank-clank of running soldiers. He leaned out to look and make sure.
Then he whistled to his dog and was gone, so swiftly and quietly that Abdullah could only admire. Jamal had even spared time to move the meat off the grill so that it would not burn.
All the soldiers were going to find here was a caldron of half- boiled squid. New York: HarperCollins, Films based on popular novels always evoke a dilemma. If too faithful to the book, they may be charged with having simply illustrated a work from the literary canon; if too different from the original, fans of the novel complain that it is not what they came to see.
The premise, the main characters, and the settings are the same, but Miyazaki has used them to tell a completely different story. Whereas Jones uses Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer in a fairytale format to tell a story about challenging class and gender expectations, Miyazaki uses the same characters to tell a story about personal loyalty, love, and war. This contrast is not immediately apparent in the film, since the first third seems to follow the novel fairly closely, with only small changes only later revealed to have major impact on the overall plot.
In both novel and film, a young woman named Sophie is wasting her life by refusing to challenge the norms of the fairytale society in which she lives. The means by which Sophie is forced to face her issues also appear similar but are subtly different. In both novel and film, the Wicked Witch [End Page ] of the Waste transforms her into an old crone. Sophie, an innocent bystander, is dragged into it due to an earlier, accidental encounter with the wizard.
The central story of her suppressed witchy powers and the fact that she is unconsciously maintaining the old-age spell herself are both muted. However, these themes are not entirely lost. The film shows her in four basic forms: She shifts back and forth between these forms depending on her mood and the situation, thus revealing that she has control over the spell.
A most striking example occurs when she tells Howl that she is not pretty. As she says this, she is in her young girl with grey hair form.