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his mind not to own his deceit

Only too soon Labakan recognised his own old horse, Murva, and the real Prince Omar, but having once told a lie he made up .

At last the horseman reached the foot of the hill. Here he flung himself from the saddle and hurried up to the pillar.

‘Stop!’ he cried, ‘whoever you may be, and do not let a disgraceful impostor take you in. My name is Omar, and let no one attempt to rob me of it.’

This turn of affairs threw the standers-by into great surprise. The old king in particular seemed much moved as he looked from one face to the other. At last Labakan spoke with forced calmness, ‘Most gracious lord and father, do not let yourself be deceived by this man. As far as I know, he is a half-crazy tailor’s apprentice from Alexandria, called Labakan, who really deserves more pity than anger.’

These words infuriated the prince. Foaming with rage, he tried to press towards Labakan, but the attendants threw themselves upon him and held him fast, whilst the king said, ‘Truly, my dear son, the poor fellow is quite mad. Let him be bound and placed on a dromedary. Perhaps we may be able to get some help for him.’

The prince’s first rage was over, and with tears he cried to the king, ‘My heart tells me that you are my father, and in my mother’s name I entreat you to hear me.’

‘Oh! heaven forbid!’ was the reply. ‘He is talking nonsense again. How can the poor man have got such notions into his head?’

With these words the king took Labakan’s arm to support him down the hill. They both mounted richly caparisoned horses and rode across the plain at the head of their followers.

The unlucky prince was tied hand and foot, and fastened on a dromedary, a guard riding on either side and keeping a sharp look-out on him.

The old king was Sached, Sultan of the Wachabites. For many years he had had no children, but at length the son he had so long wished for was born. But the sooth-sayers and magicians whom he consulted as to the child’s future all said that until he was twenty-two years old he stood in danger of being injured by an enemy. So, to make all safe, the sultan had confided the prince to his trusty friend Elfi Bey, and deprived himself of the happiness of seeing him for twenty-two years. All this the sultan told Labakan, and was much pleased by his appearance and dignified manner.
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