This speech was delivered in the presence of a vast multitude of people,
who had gathered from all parts on the first hint of what was happening,
and the news was passed from mouth to mouth in a few seconds.
Early next day the Sultan and Sultana, dressed in robes of state
and followed by all the court, set out for the country house
of their children. Here the Sultan presented them to the Sultana
one by one, and for some time there was nothing but embraces and
tears and tender words. Then they ate of the magnificent dinner
which had been prepared for them, and after they were all refreshed
they went into the garden, where the Sultan pointed out to his wife
the Golden Water and the Singing Tree. As to the Talking Bird,
she had already made acquaintance with him.
In the evening they rode together back to the capital, the princes
on each side of their father, and the princess with her mother.
Long before they reached the gates the way was lined with people,
and the air filled with shouts of welcome, with which were mingled
the songs of the Talking Bird, sitting in its cage on the lap of