‘What a pity!’ said the princess, ‘he is mad!’ As she liked him she said: ‘He is my madman; let no one hurt him.’ She took him to her house and told him not to go away, for that she would provide for all his wants. The prince thought, ‘It would be excellent if here, in her very house, I could get the answer to her riddle on pain of death.’
Now in the princess’s household there was a girl called Dil-aram7; she it was who had first seen the image of the prince. She came to love him very much, and she spent day and night thinking how she could make her affection known to him. One day she escaped from the princess’s notice and went to the prince, and laid her head on his feet and said: ‘ Heaven has bestowed on you beauty and charm. Tell me your secret; who are you, and how did you come here? I love you very much, and if you would like to leave this place I will go with you. I have wealth equal to the treasure of the miserly Qarun.’ But the prince only made answer like a man distraught, and told her nothing. He said to himself, ‘ God forbid that the veil should be taken in vain from my secret; that would indeed disgrace me.’ So, with streaming eyes and burning breast, Dil-aram arose and went to her house and lamented and fretted.
Now whenever the princess commanded the prince’s attendance, Dil-aram, of all the girls, paid him attention and waited on him best. The princess noticed this, and said: ‘O Dil-aram! you must take my madman into your charge and give him whatever he wants.’ This was the very thing Dil — aram had prayed for. A little later she took the prince into a private place and she made him take an oath of secrecy, and she herself took one and swore, ‘ By Heaven! I will not tell your secret. Tell me all about yourself so that I may help you to get what you want.’ The prince now recognised in her words the perfume of true love, and he made compact with her. ‘O lovely girl! I want to know what the rose did to the cypress. Your mistress cuts off men’s heads because of this riddle; what is at the bottom of it, and why does she do it?’ Then Dil-aram answered: ‘ If you will promise to marry me and to keep me always amongst those you favour, I will tell you all I know, and I will keep watch about the riddle.’
‘O lovely girl,’ rejoined he, ‘if I accomplish my purpose, so that I need no longer strive for it, I will keep my compact with you. When I have this woman in my power and have avenged my brothers, I will make you my solace.’