A Story From Arabia

The bustle and shouts of the market place in midday rivaled the menagerie of the sultan. One man pushed his way through the crowd. His name was Ralph Coster. He was an American, journeying to Arabia.
He was elbowing his way through the crowd when a herald rode up. The noise ceased. The herald announced that the princess was approaching. All people left the street. One man only did not leave. He hid behind one of the deserted stalls.

The quiet was shattered by the din of trumpets. An elephant was seen approaching, carrying on its back the most beautiful maiden between the seas. Ralph felt his heart leap. In his excitement he knocked against a basket. The princess noticed the sudden movement, and descried among the shadows the figure of a man. Suddenly, a shaft of sunlight fell upon his face. She gasped. For these two it was honest-to-goodness love at first sight.

Ralph knew that he had to carry her away or he would die of love for her. So that night, after sunset, he crept into her palace, and made his way into her apartments. He ran to her, and carried her away.
Ralph and Marjanah were married that night. They hid in the desert, riding their horses and enjoying every moment they had together. Then, after a month had passed, the sultan discovered that his daughter was missing. He sent out riders to find them. One rider came in sight of them and fired an arrow. Cruelly aimed, it struck Marjanah, tearing through her thin sari and wounding her. Ralph pulled her off her horse onto his, and then galloped away, and the rider lost sight of them.

Ralph was furious. He tenderly left Marjanah, then rode swiftly and silently towards the sultan’s palace. It just so happened that at that moment the sultan was taking a stroll in his favorite garden, thinking about his daughter, when Ralph leaped over the wall and strode up to him. The guards attempted to stop him, but Ralph’s sword flew like lightning, and overpowered them all. Then he held his sword to the sultan’s throat and demanded that he swear that Marjanah and he could live together in peace. Terrified, the sultan swore it.

Ralph rode away, back to where he had left Marjanah. Together, they galloped off into the sunset, nevermore to return to sands of Arabia.

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