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.Without any doubt, that woman is you, Your Highness.Your people sing your praises more about your compassion and your skillful management of this land than they do of your face.Having seen you for myself, I can say that you have the face of a deva on earth, yet it still cannot match all the good things for which you are renowned.”Gently caressing the pearls, Ananya smiled.She even blushed, her tanned cheeks taking on a charming rosy hue.“Such a beautiful compliment should not go unanswered.Chamberlain?”“Yes, Your Highness?” a man clad in crimson silks asked, stepping forward from the side of the chamber and giving her a deep bow.“Give this good merchant a camel to take back with him to his patron, a camel laden with the finest weavings of the West.Silks, brocades, and even a length of our best cloth-of-gold, all of it from the looms of our royal weavers.As a token of esteem for this wisest man in the world, that he should name me the most beautiful woman solely for what lies within, not merely what is seen without.Good merchant, pass along my gift to this Wali Daad, along with my thanks to His Highness, and His Highness’s jeweler, for the crafting of these bracelets,” Princess Ananya added formally.“When I wear them, I shall think fondly of the men of the East, and the great skill and wisdom they possess.”Bowing deeply, knowing when he was dismissed, Hassim bobbed his way back out of her audience chamber.I have been to the palace of the West, and I have seen the most beautiful woman in the world.and I shall live to tell the tale!A thought crossed his mind as he straightened outside the chamber and let the guards who had escorted him into the hall of the princess now return him to the main courtyard.But.if Wali Daad did not want all of those pennies, and he did not want those beautiful bracelets.what will he think of a camel laden with the finest silks and brocades that are woven in the Western lands?WALI Daad stared at the camel.He stared at the bolts of fabric being unloaded by the caravan handlers, silks in more brightly dyed shades than a rainbow had hues, fancifully woven fabrics, and even a carefully folded length of cloth-of-gold.All of it contrasted against the sturdy linens and cottons worn by most of the caravan crew, who were busy with the task of watering and feeding their animals.The monsoon rains had come over a month ago, leaving today a cloudy day, but enough light shone through the clouds overhead to make that cloth-of-gold gleam.Wali Daad stared in utter dismay, until his eyes stung from staring too much.“What am I going to do with all of this?” he finally demanded, his voice cracking as it had not done for the last five decades.“I thank you most deeply, friend Hassim, for delivering the bracelets along with my admiration.but what am I going to do with all of this? Do you want it?”Hassim blushed.“As much as part of me would like to say yes.after having seen the palace of the West and all of its wonders, I feel I have far more in common with you and your simple life, Wali Daad.Such riches are not meant for me.”“It would be payment for your many troubles on my behalf these last several months,” the grass cutter pointed out.Hassim shook his head.“No.What I do for you, I do for friendship.I am content with that.And it has not been a trouble, nor really out of my way.”“Well, if I do not want it, and you do not want it.” Covering his chin with a callused hand, Wali Daad thought for a long moment.Finally, an idea struck him and he snapped his fingers.“Hassim, my friend, I have another request of you, if I may.?”The merchant stifled a groan, guessing what he was about to be asked.“As before, if it is within my power, I will gladly do it for you, Wali Daad.”“This is another easy one, my good, well-traveled friend [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]