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Title: Tales of the Caravan, Inn, and Palace
Author: Hauff, Wilhelm, 1802-1827
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:
  1. Page scan source:
  http://www.archive.org/details/talesofcaravanin00haufrich



                                 TALES

                                 OF THE

                       CARAVAN, INN, AND PALACE.



                                 TALES

                                 OF THE

                       CARAVAN, INN, AND PALACE.



                                   BY
                             WILLIAM HAUFF.



                    WITH THE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS.



                       TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN
                                   BY
                           EDWARD L. STOWELL.



                                CHICAGO:
                      JANSEN, McCLURG, & COMPANY.
                                 1882.



                               COPYRIGHT,
                       JANSEN, MCCLURG & COMPANY.
                                 1881.



                 PRINTED BY DONNELLEY, GASSETTE & LOYD.



                         TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.


In introducing to American readers these charming and unique Tales, a
few details may properly be given of their author's life and literary
work. The record, though brief, is one of unusual interest.

Wilhelm Hauff was born at Stuttgart, Germany, in 1802, and received his
education at Tuebingen. He graduated from the University, in 1824, with
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy; and for the following two years
filled the position of tutor in a nobleman's family. It was during the
leisure hours afforded by this occupation that he composed the greater
part of the works upon which his fame rests. In 1826 he published his
"_Maerchenalmanach auf das Jahr 1826, fuer Soehne und Toechter
gebildeter Staende_," a translation of which is herewith tendered the
American public, under the changed and abbreviated title of: "Tales of
the Caravan, Inn, and Palace." In the same year, and closely following
the "Fairy Tales," came "_Mittheilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan_,"
"_Der Mann im Monde_," a second volume of "Satan's Memoirs," and a
collection of short tales. These volumes appeared in such rapid
succession as to obscure for a time the brilliancy of the "Fairy
Tales;" but later editions of them acquired a widespread circulation,
while their popularity is so constantly on the increase as to suggest
the thought that in time they may prove a formidable rival of the
"Arabian Nights," in the regards of the young, the world over.

The publication of "The Man in the Moon" gave Hauff a national
reputation; but when his "_Lichtenstein, eine romantische Sage_"
appeared, shortly afterward, the Wuertembergers hailed him as the
coming Walter Scott of Germany. Whether he would have merited this fond
and proud prediction of his countrymen, can not now be told. We only
know that he seemed to recognize in the historical novel his true field
of labor, and that he had already begun a second work of this nature,
when he sickened and died, in the Fall of 1827, before he had reached
his twenty-fifth birthday.

Hauff stood on the threshold of his career as an author, in the dawning
glory of his brilliant talents, when he was stricken down; yet his
writings betray no sign of immaturity, and his collected works assure
him a niche, high in the temple of literature. The art of investing
localities with ideal characters who, in the reader's imagination,
haunt the spot forever after, was a gift Hauff shared alike with his
English brothers, Scott and Dickens. On crossing the Bridge of Arts,
in Paris, at night, one familiar with his works is apt to look about
for the tall and graceful form of the "Beggar Girl," with her lantern,
and the plate held out so reluctantly for coins. Or, if he wander
through the rugged Suabian Alps, Hauff's "_Lichtenstein_" will be the
guide-book he consults; and through the valleys and over the hills to
the _Nebelhoehle_ he will trace the flight of the stern Duke Ulerich,
pausing maybe at the little village of Hardt to pick out if possible
the piper's home, and to look sharply at every village maid, lest the
kind-hearted little "Baerbele" should pass him unawares.

Some of Hauff's poems became quite popular in Germany, and several of
his songs may be heard to-day rising on the evening air from out the
beautiful valleys he loved so well.

Because of his genius and his early death, Hauff becomes associated in
our mind with the English poets, Chatterton, Keats and Shelley; and in
thinking of him we recall his own sad words--

     "Oh, how soon
      Vanish grace and beauty's bloom;
      Dost thou boast of cheeks ne'er paling,
      Glowing red and white unfailing?
      See! the roses wither all!"

Chicago, _October_, 1881.                           E. L. S.



                               CONTENTS.


                                PART I.

                         Tales of the Caravan.

  THE CARAVAN,                                                    11
  THE CALIPH STORK,                                               15
  THE AMPUTATED HAND,                                             30
  THE RESCUE OF FATIMA,                                           49
  LITTLE MUCK,                                                    70
  THE FALSE PRINCE,                                               91

                                PART II.

                           Tales of the Inn.

  THE INN IN THE SPESSART,                                       119
  THE HIRSCH-GULDEN,                                             126
  THE MARBLE HEART (_First Part_),                               151
  SAID'S ADVENTURES,                                             182
  THE CAVE OF STEENFOLL,                                         229
  THE MARBLE HEART (_Second Part_),                              260

                               PART III.

                          Tales of the Palace.

  THE SHEIK'S PALACE AND HIS SLAVES,                             295
  THE DWARF NOSEY,                                               304
  ABNER, THE JEW,                                                340
  THE YOUNG ENGLISHMAN,                                          353
  THE STORY OF ALMANSOR,                                         381



                                 PART I.


                         TALES OF THE CARAVAN.



                              THE CARAVAN,

[Illustration]

Once upon a time, a large caravan moved slowly over the desert. On the
vast plain, where nothing was to be seen but sand and sky, might have
been heard in the far distance the tinkling bells of the camels and the
ringing hoof beats of horses. A thick cloud of dust that moved before
it indicated the approach of the caravan; and when a breeze parted this
cloud, gleaming weapons and brilliantly colored garments dazzled the
eye.

Thus was the caravan revealed to a man who galloped towards it from one
side. He rode a fine Arabian horse, covered with a tiger skin; from the
deep-red trappings depended little silver bells, while on the horse's
head waved a plume of heron feathers. The horseman was of stately
bearing, and his attire corresponded in richness with that of his
horse. A white turban, richly embroidered with gold, covered his head;
his coat and Turkish trousers were of scarlet; while a curved sword,
with a rich hilt, hung at his side. He had pulled the turban down well
over his face; and this, with the black eyes that flashed from beneath
the bushy brows, together with the long beard that hung straight down
from his Roman nose, gave him a fierce and uncouth appearance.

When the rider had approached to within about fifty paces of the
vanguard of the caravan, he spurred his horse forward, and in a few
moments reached the head of the procession. It was such an unusual
occurrence to see a single horseman riding over the desert that the
escort of the train, fearing an attack, thrust out their spears.

"What do you mean?" cried the horseman, as he saw this warlike
reception. "Do you, then, believe a single man would attack your
caravan?"

Ashamed of their momentary alarm, the escort dropped their lances;
while their leader rode up to the stranger and asked what he wanted.

"Who is the master of this caravan?" inquired the horseman.

"It does not belong to one man," replied the guide; "but to several
merchants who are returning from Mecca to their homes, and whom we
escort across the desert, as it often happens that travelers are
annoyed by robbers."

"Then lead me to these merchants," requested the stranger.

"That may not be done now," replied the guide, "as we must proceed
farther on before coming to a halt, and the merchants are at least a
quarter of an hour behind us; but if you will ride on with me until we
encamp for our mid-day rest, I will then comply with your wish."

The stranger made no reply, but produced a pipe that was fastened to
his saddle-bow, and began to smoke, meanwhile riding near the leader of
the vanguard. The guide knew not what to make of the stranger; he
hardly dared to question him directly as to his name, and no matter how
skillfully he sought to draw him into conversation, the stranger would
only reply to such attempts as: "You smoke a fine quality of tobacco,"
or, "Your horse has a splendid pace," with a short "Yes, certainly."

Finally they reached the spot where they were to camp for the noon. The
guide posted the guards, but remained himself with the stranger until
the caravan should come up. Thirty camels, heavily laden, and attended
by armed guards, passed by. After these came the four merchants to whom
the caravan belonged, mounted on fine horses. They were mostly men of
advanced age, of sober and staid appearance. Only one seemed much
younger than the others, and of more cheerful countenance and vivacious
spirits. A large number of camels and pack-horses completed the
caravan.

The tents were pitched, and the horses and camels ranged around them in
a circle. In the centre stood a tent of blue silk cloth. To this tent
the leader of the guard led the stranger. As they entered through the
curtain, they saw the four merchants sitting on gold embroidered
cushions, while black slaves handed them food and drink.

"Who is it you bring to us?" cried the young merchant to the guide.
Before the guide could reply, the stranger said--

"My name is Selim Baruch, of Bagdad. On my way to Mecca I was captured
by a robber band, and three days ago I succeeded in making my escape
from them. The great Prophet permitted me to hear the bells of your
camels in the distance, and thus directed me to you. Allow me to
journey in your company. Your protection would not be extended to one
unworthy of it; and when you reach Bagdad, I will richly reward your
kindness, as I am the nephew of the Grand Vizier."

The oldest merchant made reply: "Selim Baruch, you are welcome to our
shelter. It gives us pleasure to assist you. But first of all, sit down
and eat and drink with us."

Selim Baruch accepted this invitation. On the conclusion of the repast,
the slaves cleared away the dishes, and brought long pipes and Turkish
sherbet. The merchants sat silently watching the blue clouds of smoke
as they formed into rings and finally vanished in the air.

The young merchant at length broke the silence by saying--

"For three days we have sat thus on horseback and at table without
making any attempt to while away the time. To me this is very
wearisome, as I have always been accustomed after dinner to see a
dancer or to hear music and singing. Can you think of nothing, my
friends, to pass away the time?"

The three older merchants continued to smoke, seemingly lost in
meditation, but the stranger said--

"Permit me to make a proposition. It is that at every camping-place one
of us shall relate a story to the others. This might serve to make the
time pass pleasantly."

"You are right, Selim Baruch," said one of the merchants, "let us act
on the proposal."

"I am glad the suggestion meets with your approval," said Selim; "but
that you may see I ask nothing unfair, I will be the first to begin."

The merchants drew nearer together in pleased anticipation, and had the
stranger sit in the centre. The slaves replenished the cups and filled
the pipes of their masters, and brought glowing coals to light them.
Then Selim cleared his voice with a generous glass of sherbet, stroked
the long beard away from his mouth, and said--

"Listen, then, to the story of the Caliph Stork."



                           THE CALIPH STORK.



                                   I.

One fine afternoon, Chasid, Caliph of Bagdad, reclined on his divan.
Owing to the heat of the day he had fallen asleep, and was now but
just awakened, feeling much refreshed by his nap. He puffed at a
long-stemmed rosewood pipe, pausing now and then to sip the coffee
handed him by an attentive slave, and testifying his approval of the
same by stroking his beard. In short, one could see at a glance that
the Caliph was in an excellent humor.

Of all others, this was the hour when he might be most easily
approached, as he was now quite indulgent and companionable; and
therefore it was the custom of his Grand Vizier, Mansor, to visit him
every day at this time.

As usual, he came to-day; but, as was unusual with him, his expression
was quite serious.

The Caliph, removing the pipe from his mouth for a moment, said--

"Why do you wear so sober a face, Grand Vizier?"

The Vizier crossed his arms on his breast, bowed low before his master,
and made answer--

"Sire, whether my face be sober or no, I know not. But beneath the
castle walls stands a trader, who has such beautiful wares that I
cannot help regretting that I have no spare money."

The Caliph, who had long wished for an opportunity to do his Vizier a
favor, sent his black slave below to bring up the trader. The slave
soon returned with the man, who was short and stout, of dark brown
complexion, and clothed in rags. He carried a box containing all manner
of wares: strings of pearls, rings, and richly-chased pistols, cups and
combs. The Caliph and Grand Vizier looked them all over, and finally
the Caliph selected a fine pair of pistols for Mansor and himself, as
well as a comb for the Vizier's wife.

Now just as the merchant was about to close his box, the Caliph espied
a small drawer therein, and desired to know if it contained still other
valuables. By way of reply, the trader opened the drawer, disclosing a
little box containing a blackish powder, and a paper covered with
singular writing, that neither the Caliph nor Mansor was able to read.

"These two articles," explained the trader, "came into my possession
through a merchant who found them on the street in Mecca. I do not know
what they contain, but, for a small consideration, you are welcome to
them, as I can make nothing of them."

The Caliph, who took pleasure in preserving old manuscripts in his
library, even though he might not be able to read them, bought both the
paper and the box, and dismissed the merchant. Then, curious to know
what the manuscript contained, he inquired of the Vizier if he knew of
any one who could decipher it.

"Most gracious master and benefactor," replied the Vizier, "near the
great mosque lives a man called Selim the Learned, who understands all
languages. Let him be summoned; perhaps he might know these secret
characters."

The learned Selim was soon brought.

"Selim," began the Caliph, "it is said that you are very learned. Look
for a moment at this writing, and see if you can make it out. If you
can read it, you shall receive a new holiday cloak from me; if you
cannot, you will get instead twelve lashes on the back and twenty-five
on the soles of your feet, for being misnamed Selim the Learned."

Selim made an obeisance, saying, "Thy will be done, O Sire!"

He then examined the writing long and attentively, suddenly exclaiming,
"If this be not Latin, Sire, then give me to the hangman!"

"Read what is written there, if it is Latin!" commanded the Caliph.

Selim thereupon began to translate as follows:

"_Man, whoever thou art, that findeth this, praise Allah for His
goodness. He who takes a pinch of this powder, at the same time
saying,_ MUTABOR, _will be able to transform himself into any animal,
and will also understand the language of animals. Whenever he wishes to
re-assume the human form, he shall bow three times towards the East and
pronounce the same word. But take care that thou dost not laugh while
thou art transformed, or the magic word would vanish utterly from thy
memory, and thou wouldst remain an animal._"

When Selim the Learned had read this, the Caliph was pleased beyond
measure. He made the scholar swear never to mention the secret to any
one; presented him with a beautiful cloak, and then dismissed him. Then
turning to his Vizier, he said--

"I call that a good investment, Mansor. I am impatient to become an
animal. Come to me to-morrow morning early. We will then go together to
the fields, take a little pinch of this magical snuff, and then listen
to what is said in the air and the water, in the forest and field."



                                  II.

No sooner had the Caliph Chasid dressed and breakfasted on the
following morning, than the Grand Vizier arrived, as he had been
commanded to do, to accompany him on his walk. The Caliph put the box
containing the magic powder in his sash, and after bidding his
attendants remain in the castle, started off, attended only by Mansor.

They first took their way through the extensive gardens of the Caliph,
vainly searching for some living thing, in order to make their
experiment. The Vizier at last proposed that they go farther on, to a
pond, where he had frequently seen many creatures, more especially
storks.

The Caliph consented to the proposal of Mansor, and went with him
towards the pond. Arriving there, they saw a stork walking up and down,
looking for frogs, and occasionally striking out before him with his
bill. At the same time far up in the sky they discerned another stork
hovering over this spot.

"I will wager my beard, Most Worthy Master," said the Vizier, "that
these two storks will hold a charming conversation together. What say
you to our becoming storks?"

"Well thought of!" answered the Caliph. "But first let us carefully
examine again the directions for resuming our human form. All right! By
bowing three times towards the East and saying '_Mutabor_,' I shall be
once more Caliph, and you Grand Vizier. But, for heavens sake!
recollect! _No laughing, or we are lost!_"

While the Caliph spoke, he noticed that the stork above their heads was
gradually approaching the earth. Quickly drawing the box from his
girdle, he put a good pinch to his nose, held out the box to the
Vizier, who also took a pinch, and both then cried out: "_Mutabor!_"

Their legs at once shrank up and became thin and red; the beautiful
yellow slippers of the Caliph and his companion took on the shape of
stork's feet; their arms developed into wings; their necks were
stretched until they measured a yard in length; their beards vanished,
while white feathers covered their bodies.

"You have a beautiful bill, Mr. Grand Vizier," cried the Caliph, after
a long pause of astonishment. "By the beard of the Prophet! I never saw
any thing like it in my life."

[Illustration]

"Thank you most humbly," replied the Vizier, bowing low; "but, if I
dare venture the assertion, Your Highness presents a much handsomer
appearance as a stork than as Caliph. But come; if agreeable to you,
let us keep watch on our companions over there, and ascertain whether
we can really understand _Storkish_."

In the meantime the other stork had alighted on the ground, cleaned its
feet with its bill, smoothed its feathers nicely, and approached the
first stork. The two newly-made storks now made haste to get near them,
and, to their surprise, overheard the following conversation:

"Good morning, Mrs. Longlegs! So early in the meadow?"

"Thank you kindly, dear Clapperbill; I was just procuring a little
breakfast for myself. How would a portion of lizard suit you, or a leg
of a frog?"

"Much obliged; but, I have not the least appetite to-day. I come to the
meadow for quite another purpose. I am to dance to-day before my
father's guests, and therefore wish to practice a little in private."

So saying, the young stork stepped over the field in a series of
wonderful evolutions. The Caliph and Mansor looked on in wonder. But
when she struck an artistic attitude on one foot, and began to fan
herself gracefully with her wings, the two could no longer contain
themselves. An irrepressible fit of laughter burst forth from their
bills, from which it took them a long time to recover. The Caliph was
the first to compose himself.

"That was sport!" exclaimed he, "that money could not buy. It's too bad
that the stupid creatures were frightened away by our laughter, or they
would certainly have tried to sing."

Just here the Vizier remembered that laughing during the transformation
was forbidden them. He communicated his anxiety to the Caliph.

"Zounds! By the Cities of the Prophet, that would be a bad joke if I
were compelled to remain a stork! Try and think of that stupid word,
Mansor! For the life of me, I can't recall it!"

"We must bow three times towards the East, calling: _Mu_-- _Mu_--
_Mu_."

They turned towards the East, and bowed away so zealously that their
bills nearly ploughed up the ground. But, O Horror! the magic word had
escaped them; and no matter how often the Caliph bowed, or how
earnestly his Vizier called out--_Mu_-- _Mu_, their memory failed them;
and the poor Chasid and his Vizier remained storks.



                                  III.


Sadly the enchanted ones wandered through the fields, without the
slightest idea of what course they had better pursue in their present
plight. They could neither get rid of their feathers, nor could they
return to the town with any hope of recognition; for who would believe
a stork, were he to proclaim himself Caliph? or, even believing the
story, would the citizens of Bagdad be willing to have a stork for
their Caliph? So they stole about for several days, supporting
themselves very poorly on fruits, which, on account of their long
bills, they could eat only with great difficulty. For lizards and frogs
they had no appetite, fearing lest such tit-bits might disagree with
their stomachs. The only consolation left them in their wretchedness
was the power of flight; and they often flew to the roofs of Bagdad,
that they might see what occurred there. For the first day or two,
they noticed great excitement in the streets, followed by sadness.
But about the fourth day after their enchantment, while they were
resting on the roof of the Caliph's palace, they observed down in the
street a brilliant procession. Trumpets and fifes sounded. A man in a
gold-embroidered scarlet coat sat upon a richly caparisoned steed,
surrounded by a gay retinue. Half Bagdad followed him, and all shouted:

[Illustration]

"Hail Mizra! Ruler of Bagdad!"

The two storks perched on the palace roof, exchanged a glance, and
Caliph Chasid said--

"Do you perceive now the meaning of my enchantment, Grand Vizier? This
Mizra is the son of my deadly enemy, who, in an evil hour, swore to
revenge himself on me. But still I will not give up all hope. Come with
me, thou faithful companion of my misfortune, we will make a pilgrimage
to the grave of the Prophet. Perhaps in that sacred place the spell
will be removed."

They rose from the palace roof and flew in the direction of Medina. But
so little practice had the two storks had in flying, that it fared hard
with them.

"Oh, Sire!" groaned the Grand Vizier, after a few hours' flight, "with
your permission I shall have to stop. You fly much too fast! And it is
now evening, and we should do well to look out for a place on which to
alight for the night."

Chasid harkened to the request of his follower, and, perceiving a ruin
that promised to afford a shelter, they flew down to it. The place they
had selected for the night bore the appearance of having once been a
castle. Beautiful columns rose out of the ruins, while several rooms
still in a fair state of preservation, testified to the former splendor
of the building. Chasid and his companion strolled through the
passages, seeking some dry sheltered spot, when suddenly the stork
Mansor stopped.

"Sire," whispered he softly, "I wish it were not so unbecoming in a
Grand Vizier, and even more in a stork, to fear ghosts! My courage is
fast failing me, for near here there was a distinct sound of sighing
and groaning!"

The Caliph also stopped, and very plainly heard a low sobbing that
seemed to proceed from a human being, rather than from an animal. Full
of curiosity, he was about to approach the place whence the sounds
came, when the Vizier caught him by the wing with his bill, and begged
him most earnestly not to plunge into new and unknown dangers. All in
vain! for the Caliph, who even under a stork's wing, carried a stout
heart, tore himself away with the loss of a few feathers, and hastened
into a dark passage. He shortly came to a door, through which he
plainly heard sighs intermingled with low groans. He pushed open the
door with his bill, but remained standing on the threshold in surprise.

In the ruined room, lighted but dimly by a small lattice window, he saw
a large owl sitting on the floor. Large tears fell from its great round
eyes, while in passionate tones it poured forth its complaints from its
curved beak. But when the owl saw the Caliph and his Vizier, who by
this time had stolen up, it raised a loud cry of joy. Daintily brushing
the tears from its eyes with the brown spotted wings, it exclaimed in
pure human Arabic, to the wonder of the listeners:

"Welcome, storks! You are a good omen, as it was once prophecied that
storks would be the bearers of good fortune to me."

As soon as the Caliph had sufficiently recovered from his astonishment,
he made a bow with his long neck, brought his slender feet into a
graceful position, and said--

"O owl of the night! from your words I believe I see in you a companion
in misfortune. But, alas! Your hope that we can give you relief is
doomed to disappointment. You will yourself appreciate our helplessness
when you have heard our story."

The owl requested him to relate it; which the Caliph did, just as we
have heard it.



                                  IV.

When the Caliph had concluded his story, the owl thanked him, and said:

"Listen also to my tale, and learn that I am not less unfortunate than
yourself. My father is king of India. I, his only and unhappy daughter,
am named Lusa. That same Sorcerer, Kaschnur, who transformed you,
plunged me also into misery. One day he came to my father and demanded
me in marriage for his son Mizra. But my father, who is a quick
tempered man, had him thrown down-stairs. The wretch found means, by
assuming other forms, of approaching me; and one day, as I was taking
the air in my garden, he appeared, dressed as a slave, and handed me a
drink that changed me into this horrible shape. He brought me here
senseless from fright, and shouted in my ears with a terrible voice:
'Here you shall remain, ugly, despised by every creature, until death;
or till some man voluntarily offers to marry you in your present form!
Thus do I revenge myself on you and your proud father!' Since then many
months have passed. Lonely and sad, I live as a hermit within these
walls, abhorred by the world, despised even by animals, shut out from
all enjoyment of the beauties of nature, as I am blind by day, and only
at night, when the moon sheds its pale light over these walls, does the
veil fall from my eyes."

The owl finished her story, and once more brushed away with her wing
the tears which the recital of her sufferings had caused.

The Caliph was sunk in deep thought over the story of the Princess.

"Unless I am greatly in error," said he, "there is a hidden connection
between our misfortunes; but where shall I find the key to this
riddle?"

"O, Sire," the owl replied, "I suspect that too, for when I was a
little child it was foretold me by a soothsayer that a stork would
sometime bring me great good fortune. And I think I know a way by which
we can accomplish our own rescue."

In great surprise the Caliph asked her in what way she meant.

"The sorcerer who has done this wrong to us both," she answered, "comes
once a month to these ruins. Not far from here there is a room in which
he is accustomed to hold a banquet with many of his fellows. Many times
have I heard them there. On these occasions they relate to each other
their shameful deeds. Perhaps then he will divulge the magic word you
have forgotten."

"O, dearest Princess," cried the Caliph, "tell us, when does he come,
and where is the banqueting hall?"

The owl remained silent for a moment, and then said:

"Do not take it unkindly; but only on one condition can I inform you."

"Speak out! speak out!" exclaimed Chasid. "Whatever your condition it
will be acceptable to me."

"Well then, I am also desirous of being set free; but this can only
happen by one of you offering me his hand."

The storks were somewhat disconcerted at this proposal; and the Caliph
beckoned his follower to leave the room with him.

"Grand Vizier," said the Caliph, closing the door behind them, "this is
a pretty piece of business! But you, now, might take her."

"Indeed?" answered he, "and thus give my wife cause to scratch my eyes
out, when I get home? Then, too, I am an old man; whereas you are young
and unmarried, and therefore in a better position to offer your hand to
a beautiful young princess."

"That's the very point," sighed the Caliph, as he sadly allowed his
wings to droop to the ground. "It would be buying a cat in the bag; for
what assurance have you that she is young and beautiful?"

They discussed the matter for a long time, until at last the Caliph,
convinced that the Vizier would rather remain a stork than marry the
Princess, concluded to fulfill the condition she had imposed on
himself.

The owl was greatly rejoiced, and confessed that they could not have
come at a better time, as it was probable that the sorcerers would
assemble there that very night. The owl then left the room with the
storks to show them to the banquet-room. For a long time they walked
through a dark passage, when finally there streamed out bright rays of
light through a broken wall. As they came up to the wall the owl
cautioned the storks to remain perfectly quiet. The gap in which they
stood overlooked a large room, adorned on all sides with marble
columns, and tastefully decorated; countless colored lamps made the
place light as day. In the centre of the room stood a round table
covered with various dainty dishes, and upon the divan that encircled
it, sat eight men. In one of these men the storks recognized the trader
who had sold them the magic powder. The person who sat next to him
called on him to relate his latest deeds. The trader then told the
story of the Caliph and his Vizier.



                                   V.

"What kind of a word did you give them?" asked the other sorcerer.

"A very hard Latin word--_Mutator_."

When the storks from their place in the wall, heard this, they were
almost beside themselves with joy. They ran so fast toward the outlet
of the ruins that the owl could hardly keep up with their long legs.
Once clear of the building, the Caliph said to the owl with much
feeling:

"Savior of my life and the life of my friend! As a lasting reward for
what you have done, take me for your husband."

Then he turned to the East. Three times the storks bowed their long
necks to the sun just rising above the mountains, "_Mutabor!_" shouted
they, and in a trice they were men again. Then, in the joy of their
newly-returned life, master and follower were laughing and weeping by
turns in each other's arms.

But who could describe their astonishment when they turned around and
saw a beautiful lady, richly dressed, standing before them? With a
smile she gave the Caliph her hand.

"Do you no longer recognize the owl?" she asked.

It really was the Princess. The Caliph was so enraptured by her beauty
and grace, that he declared his transformation into a stork had been
the best piece of fortune that had ever happened to him.

The three now set out together on their journey to Bagdad. The Caliph
found in his clothes not only the box of magic powder, but his purse as
well. He therefore bought in the next village whatever was necessary
for their journey, and thus they soon reached the gates of Bagdad.
There the arrival of the Caliph caused the greatest surprise. He had
long since been given up for dead, and the joy of the people at getting
back their beloved ruler knew no bounds. All the more was their wrath
inflamed against the traitor Mizra. They rushed to the palace, and took
the old sorcerer and his son prisoners.

The Caliph sent the old man to the ruins, and had him hanged in the
very room that had been occupied by the Princess when an owl. But to
the son, who understood nothing of the art of his father, he gave the
choice of death or a pinch of the powder. As the prisoner chose the
latter, the Grand Vizier offered him the box. A generous pinch,
followed by the magic word of the Caliph, and he became a stork. The
Caliph secured him in an iron cage, which was placed in the garden.

Long and happily Caliph Chasid lived with his wife, the Princess. His
pleasantest hours were always those of the afternoon, when the Grand
Vizier visited him. Then they often spoke of their adventures as
storks, and whenever the Caliph felt unusually merry, he began to
imitate the Grand Vizier as he appeared when a stork. He stalked up and
down the room, set up a great clapping, waved his arms as though they
were wings, and showed how the Vizier had turned to the East and
called, "_Mu_-- _Mu_-- _Mu_--." All this was great sport for the
Caliph's wife and children. But sometimes, when the Caliph clapped too
long and cried, "_Mu_-- _Mu_-- _Mu_--" too often, the Vizier was wont
to silence him with the threat that if he did not stop he would tell
the Princess what their conversation had been before the door of her
room in the ruin.



As Selim Baruch finished his story, the merchants testified their
approval thereof most heartily.

"Of a truth, the afternoon has passed without our knowing it," said one
of them, lifting the curtain of the tent. "The evening wind blows
fresh; we could put behind us a good stretch of road."

As his companions were of the same opinion, the tents were folded, and
the caravan started on its way in the same order in which it had
entered camp.

They journeyed nearly all night, as the days were hot and sultry, while
the night was cool and starlit. They came at last to a convenient
camping place, pitched their tents and lay down to rest. But the
merchants did not neglect to provide for the stranger as bountifully as
if he had been their most honored guest. One gave him a cushion,
another blankets, a third gave him slaves; in short, he was as well
provided for as though he had been at home.

The heated hours of the day were already upon them when they arose from
their slumbers, and they therefore unanimously decided to remain where
they were until evening.

When night approached, the movement of the caravan was resumed, and its
progress was continued until the following noon without impediment.
After they had halted and refreshed themselves, Selim Baruch said to
Muley, the youngest of the merchants--

"Although you are the youngest of us all, you are always cheerful, and
could certainly give us a merry tale. Serve it up, so that we may
refresh ourselves after the heat of the day."

"I should be glad to relate something that would amuse you," answered
Muley. "Still, modesty in all things is becoming to youth; therefore,
my older traveling companions should take precedence. Zaleukos is
always so serious and silent, ought he not to tell us what it is that
clouds his life? Perhaps we should be able to lighten his sorrow, if
such he experiences; for we would willingly treat him as a brother,
even though he is not of our religion."

The person thus addressed was a Greek merchant--a man in middle age,
fine looking and of vigorous frame, but very grave. Although he was an
unbeliever (that is, not a Musselman), he was much beloved by his
fellow-travelers, as his whole conduct had won their esteem and
confidence. He had but one hand, and some of his companions supposed
that this loss was the cause of his grief.

Zaleukos replied to the confidential inquiries of Muley: "I am much
honored by the interest you take in me, but have no grief--at least
none that you, with even the best intentions, could dispel. Still, as
Muley seems to lay so much stress on my sadness, I will tell you
something that will perhaps account for my appearing sadder than other
people. As you see, I have lost my left hand. It was not missing at my
birth, but I was deprived of it in the darkest hours of my life.
Whether my punishment was just--whether, under the circumstances, my
features could be other than sad--you may judge for yourselves when you
have heard the story of the Amputated Hand."



                          THE AMPUTATED HAND.


I was born in Constantinople. My father was an interpreter at the
Sublime Porte, carrying on at the same time quite a lucrative trade in
ottar of roses and silk goods. He gave me a good education, devoting a
part of his own time to my instruction, and also employing one of our
priests to superintend my studies. At first he designed me to be
the successor of his business, but as I developed greater talents
than even he had expected, he changed his mind, and, by the advice
of his friends, concluded to make a physician of me; inasmuch as a
doctor, whose acquirements were greater than those of the quacks on the
market-place, was sure of making his way in Constantinople. Many Franks
came to our house, and one of them persuaded my father to allow me to
go to the city of Paris, in his country, where the best medical
education might be had gratuitously. He proposed to take me with him on
his return journey, and the trip should cost me nothing. My father, who
had traveled widely in his youth, assented to the arrangement, and the
Frenchman told me I should have three months in which to get ready.

I was beside myself with joy at the prospect of seeing foreign
countries, and waited for the day of our departure with great
impatience. At last the Frenchman finished his business, and prepared
for the journey. On the evening before we started, my father led me
into his bedchamber. There I saw fine apparel and weapons lying on the
table. But that which attracted my attention most was a large pile of
gold, larger than I had ever before seen. My father embraced me,
saying--

"See, my son, I have provided these clothes for your journey. These
weapons are also yours; they are the same that your grandfather buckled
on me when I went out into the world. I know that you can wield them;
but never use them except in self-defense, and then strike hard. My
fortune is not large; look, I have divided it into three parts: one is
yours, another is for my own support, but the third is a sacred trust,
to be well guarded, and meant to serve you in the hour of need."

Thus spake my good old father, while tears stood in his eyes, perhaps
from a presentiment that he would never see me again.

Every thing went well on the journey. We soon arrived in the land of
the Franks, and six days afterwards we entered the great city of Paris.
My friend rented a room for me there, and advised me as to the best
disposition to make of my money, which amounted in all to two thousand
thalers.

I lived for three years in this city, and learned what a qualified
physician should know; but I should be guilty of untruth were I to say
that I lived there contentedly, for the customs of this people did not
please me. I had but few good friends there, but these few were noble
young men. In all this time I had heard nothing from my father. The
desire to see my home finally prevailed over all other considerations.
I therefore seized a favorable opportunity to return. An embassy from
the Franks was bound to the Sublime Porte. I engaged as surgeon in the
retinue of the ambassadors, and arrived safely once more in Stamboul.

I found my father's house closed. The neighbors were astonished to see
me, and told me that my father had been dead for two months. The priest
who had instructed me in my youth, brought me the key, and alone and
bereft I entered the desolate house. I found every thing as my father
had left it, with the single exception of the gold that he had promised
to leave me--that was missing. I asked the priest about it. He made a
low bow, and replied:

"Your father died as a holy man, leaving his gold to the church."

This was incomprehensible to me, yet what should I do? I had no
witnesses against the priest, and must console myself with the
reflection that he had not also regarded the house and goods of my
father as a legacy to the church. This was the first misfortune that
happened to me, but from this time forth, stroke followed stroke. My
reputation as a physician did not spread, because I could not stoop to
advertise myself on the market-place; and, above all, I missed my
father, whose recommendation would have secured me admittance to the
wealthiest and most influential families, which now never gave a
thought to the poor Zaleukos. Then, too, my father's goods found no
sale, as the old customers disappeared after his death, and to gain new
ones would require time.

Once, as I was hopelessly thinking over my situation, it occurred to me
that I had often seen countrymen of mine wandering through the land of
the Franks, and displaying their wares in the squares of the cities. I
remembered that their goods found a ready sale, because they came from
a strange country, and that the profits on such merchandise were very
large. My resolution was taken at once. I sold the homestead, gave a
part of the sale money to a trustworthy friend to keep for me, and with
the remainder bought such goods as were not common among the Franks;
shawls, silk stuff's, ointments, oils, etc. I then took passage on a
ship, and so began my second journey to the land of the Franks.

It seemed as though fortune smiled on me again the moment we left the
Dardanelles behind. Our voyage was short and fortunate. I wandered
through the cities and towns of the Franks, and every-where found ready
purchasers for my wares. My friend in Stamboul kept forwarding me
consignments of fresh goods, and day by day my financial condition
improved. When I thought I had made money enough to venture on some
larger undertaking, I went to Italy with my goods. I have omitted
speaking on one thing that brought me in quite a little sum of money;
this was my knowledge of medicine. When I entered a town, I scattered
notices announcing the arrival of a Greek physician, whose skill had
restored many to health; and my balsams and medicines brought me in
many a sequin.

At last I reached the city of Florence. It was my intention to remain
some time in this place, partly because the city pleased me, and partly
for the reason that I wished to recover from the fatigue of my
wanderings. I rented a shop in the Santa Croce quarter, and not far
from it, in an inn, I found a suite of beautiful rooms that overlooked
a terrace. I then distributed notices that advertised me as a merchant
and physician. I had no sooner opened my shop than a stream of
customers poured in, and although my prices were rather high, I sold
more than others, because I was polite and affable with my customers.

I had passed four days pleasantly in Florence, when one evening, after
closing my shop, as I was counting over the profits of the day, I came
across a note, in a little box, that I could not remember having put
there. I opened the note, and found that it contained a request that I
would come to the Ponte Vecchio that night punctually at twelve
o'clock. I studied for a long time over the matter; but, as I did not
know a soul in Florence, I concluded that somebody wished to lead me
secretly to a sick person, as had happened more than once before. I
therefore resolved to go; but, by way of precaution, I took along the
sword that my father had given me.

Shortly before midnight I started, and soon came to the Ponte Vecchio.
I found the bridge deserted, and determined to wait until the person
who had invited me there should appear. The night was cold; the moon
shone bright, and I looked down at the waves of the Arno gleaming in
the moonlight. The church clocks struck twelve. I raised my head, and
before me stood a tall man, covered with a red mantle, a corner of
which he held before his face. I was somewhat startled at first by his
sudden appearance, but collecting myself immediately, said to him:

"If you are the person who ordered me here, tell me what it is you
desire?"

The man in the red mantle turned about and said slowly: "Follow me!"

I felt somewhat uneasy about accompanying this stranger, and replied:
"Not so, dear sir, until you first tell me where I am to follow you;
and you might also show me your face, so that I may assure myself that
you mean me no harm."

The stranger, however, assumed to be indifferent, and said, "If you
won't go, Zaleukos, then don't!"

This aroused my anger. "Do you think," exclaimed I, "that a man like me
will allow himself to be made sport of by every fool? and that I should
wait here in this cold night for nothing?"

In three leaps I reached him, seized him by the cloak, and shouted
still louder, at the same time laying my other hand on my sword; but
the stranger had already disappeared around the next corner, leaving
the cloak in my hand.

By and by my rage subsided; I still had the cloak, and this should
furnish the key to this singular adventure. I put it on and started to
go home. But before I had gone a hundred steps from the bridge,
somebody brushed by me, and whispered to me in French: "Take care,
Count; it can't be done to-night!" But before I could look around, this
person was far away, and I saw only a shadow flitting by the houses. I
saw at once that these whispered words were meant for the owner of the
cloak, and did not in any way concern me; but they shed no light on the
mystery.

The next morning I considered what would better be done in the matter.
My first thought was to have the mantle cried in the streets, as though
I had found it, but in that case the owner could have sent for it by
some third party, and I should be no wiser for my pains. While
I was thinking of this, I examined the mantle closely. It was of heavy
reddish-purple Genoese velvet, with a border of Astrachan fur, and
richly embroidered with gold. The splendid appearance of the cloak led
me to think of a plan that I resolved to put in execution. I took the
cloak to my store, and offered it for sale; but placed such a high
price on it that I was sure it would find no purchaser. My purpose in
this was to look everybody who asked about the furred cloak directly in
the eye. I thought that as I had had a momentary glimpse of the figure
of the unknown man after the loss of his cloak, I would know it among a
thousand. There were many admirers of the cloak, whose extraordinary
beauty attracted all eyes; but none of them resembled the stranger, and
not one of them would pay the exorbitant price of two hundred sequins.
It struck me as strange that when I asked one and another whether such
cloaks were common in Florence, they all answered, "no," and assured me
that they had never before seen such a rich and elegant piece of work.

As evening drew near, a young man, who had often been in my shop, and
who had already bid high for the cloak, came in, and threw down a purse
of sequins, exclaiming:

"Before God, Zaleukos, I must have your cloak, even if it beggars me."

He at once began to count out his gold pieces. I was in quite a
dilemma. I had only hung up the mantle in order that it might perhaps
catch the eye of its owner; and along came a young fool to pay the
monstrous price, but what could I do? I finally consented to the
bargain, as from one point of view I should be well compensated for my
night's adventure. The youth put on the mantle and left, but turned on
the threshold and detached a paper that was fastened to the mantle,
which he threw to me, saying: "Here, Zaleukos, is something that
evidently does not go with the cloak."

I took the paper unconcernedly, and found the following words were
written on it: "Bring the cloak to the Ponte Vecchio to-night, at the
appointed time, and you will receive four hundred sequins."

I was thunderstruck. I had forfeited this chance, and, had not even
attained my purpose. But not stopping to consider the matter, I
gathered up the two hundred sequins, and rushed out after the man who
had bought the cloak. "Take back your money my good friend," said I,
"and leave me the mantle, as it is impossible for me to part with it."

At first the young man looked on this as a joke; but when he saw that I
was really in earnest, he angrily refused to comply with my demand,
treated me as a fool, and thus we speedily came to blows. I was so
fortunate as to snatch the cloak away from him in the scuffle, and was
hastening away with it, when the young man summoned the police, and we
were taken to court. The judge was surprised at the accusation against
me, and awarded the cloak to my opponent. But I offered the young man
twenty, fifty, eighty, yes, one hundred sequins, over and above his two
hundred, if he would leave me in possession of the mantle. My gold
accomplished what my entreaties could not. He took my sequins, while I
carried away the mantle in triumph, contenting myself with the thought
that even if all Florence considered me insane, I knew, better than
they, that I should clear something by this transaction.

Impatiently I awaited the night. At the same hour as on the previous
night, I went to the Ponte Vecchio with the mantle on my arm. At the
last stroke of the clock, a form approached out of the darkness. It was
undoubtedly the man I had met the night before.

"Have you the mantle?" I was asked.

"Yes," replied I; "but it cost me a hundred sequins cash."

"I know it," was the reply, "look here, there are four hundred."

He walked with me up to the broad balustrade of the bridge, and counted
out the gold pieces. They glistened brightly in the moonlight; their
gleam rejoiced my heart. Oh, I dreamed not that it was the last joy it
would ever experience. I put the money in my pocket, and attempted to
get a good look at the stranger; but he wore a mask, through which dark
eyes darted a formidable look on me.

"I thank you, sir, for your kindness," said I. "What now do you require
from me? But I say to you beforehand that it must not be any thing
wrong."

"Your anxiety is needless," replied he, as he placed the mantle on his
shoulders. "I need your services as a doctor; still, not for a living
patient, but for a dead one."

"How can that be?" cried I, in astonishment.

"I came with my sister from a distant country," began the stranger,
beckoning me at the same time to follow him. "I lived with her here at
the house of a friend. My sister had been ill, and yesterday she died
suddenly. Her relatives will bury her to-morrow. But in accordance with
an old custom in our family, all of its members must be buried in the
tomb of their ancestors. Many who died in foreign lands were embalmed
and brought home. I will permit our relatives here to keep my sister's
body, but I must at least take to my father the head of his daughter,
that he may see her once more."

This custom of cutting off the heads of beloved relatives seemed
horrible to me; still I thought best not to offer any objections, lest
the stranger should feel insulted. I therefore told him that I was
acquainted with the method of embalming the dead, and requested him to
conduct me to the deceased. Still I could not refrain from inquiring
why all this was to be conducted so secretly and at night? He answered
that his relatives, holding his views on this subject to be wicked,
would prevent him from carrying them out by day; but when the head was
once removed, they could say little more on the subject. Of course he
might have brought me the head himself but a natural feeling held him
back from removing it.

In the meantime we had reached a large and magnificent house, which my
companion pointed out to me as the end of our night's pilgrimage. We
passed by the principal gate, entering by a smaller one, which the
stranger closed carefully after him, and ascended a spiral staircase in
the darkness. It led into a dimly lighted corridor, from which he
gained a room which was lighted by a lamp suspended from the ceiling.

In this room was a bed, on which the body lay. The stranger turned his
head away, apparently making an attempt to hide his tears. He pointed
to the bed; ordered me to do my work well and quickly, and walked out
of the door.

I took out my instruments, which as a physician I always carried with
me, and approached the bed. Only the head of the dead girl was visible,
but this was so beautiful that I was seized with the deepest pity. The
dark hair hung down in long braids; the face was pale; the eyes were
closed.

I first made a slight incision in the skin, as is the practice with
surgeons when they are about to remove a limb. Then I selected my
sharpest knife, and with one stroke cut through the windpipe. But what
a tragedy! The girl opened her eyes, closing them again instantly, and
with a deep sigh, now, for the first time, breathed out her life, while
at the same time a warm stream of blood gushed from the wound. I was
sure that I had taken the life of this poor creature; for that she was
now dead was beyond question, as there could be no recovery from this
wound.

[Illustration]

I stood some moments almost stupefied at what had taken place. Had the
man in the red mantle betrayed me, or had his sister been lying in a
trance? The latter conjecture seemed the most plausible. But I dared
not say this to the brother of the girl; therefore I resolved to take
the head completely off. But one more groan came from the dying girl, a
spasm shook her form, and all was over. Overcome with horror, I rushed
out of the room. But the lamp in the corridor had gone out, and there
was no trace of my companion. In the darkness, I was compelled to feel
my way along the wall to reach the stairway. I finally found it, and
descended, slipping and stumbling. Nor was there any one below. I found
the door unlocked, and breathed freer when I once more stood upon the
street. Urged on by terror, I ran to my rooms, and buried myself in the
cushions of my couch.

But sleep fled from me, and the approach of morning warned me to
compose myself. It seemed altogether likely to me that the man who had
betrayed me into doing this atrocious deed would not inform on me. I
resolved to go on as usual with my business, and if possible to assume
a cheerful manner. But a new circumstance, that I now noticed for the
first time, increased my terror. My cap and girdle, as well as my
instruments, were missing, and I was uncertain whether I had left them
in the chamber of the murdered girl, or had lost them in my flight.
Unfortunately the first supposition seemed the more probable, and thus
the murder would be traced to me.

I opened my shop at the usual time. My neighbor, who was a talkative
man, came in to see me as usual in the morning.

"What do you say to the horrible tragedy that happened last night?" was
his greeting. I acted as if I knew nothing about it. "What, is it
possible that you don't know what the whole city is talking about? Not
know that the most beautiful flower of Florence, Bianca, the Governor's
daughter, was murdered during the night? I saw her yesterday, looking
so happy as she rode through the streets with her lover; and to-day was
to have been her wedding day."

Every word was a stab in my heart. And how often did I suffer these
pangs, as one by one my customers repeated the story, each making it
more horrible than the other! And yet none of them could make it as
terrible as it had been when presented to my own eyes.

About noon an officer from the court stepped into my shop, and
requested me to send the people away.

"Signor Zaleukos," said he, producing the articles I had missed, "are
these things yours?"

I hesitated for a moment whether I should deny all knowledge of them;
but as I saw through the half open door my landlord and several
acquaintances who could have borne witness against me, I determined not
to make the matter worse by a lie, and acknowledged the ownership of
the articles. The officer bade me follow him, and led me to a large
building, which I soon recognized as the prison. There he showed me to
a room, telling me that I should occupy it for the present.

My situation seemed desperate when I came to think it over in the
solitude of the prison. The thought that I had committed murder, even
though it was done accidentally, kept returning to my mind. Neither
could I hide from myself the fact that the glitter of the gold had
captivated my senses, or I should never have rushed so blindly into
this affair.

Two hours after my arrest I was led out of my chamber. Passing down
several steps, we entered a large hall. Twelve men, most of them of
advanced age, sat at a long table, covered with a black cloth. On the
side of the hall were ranged rows of benches, filled with the
aristocracy of Florence. High up, in the galleries the spectators were
crowded close together. When I was brought before the black-covered
table, a man of dark and sad aspect arose. It was the Governor. He told
those assembled that he, being the father of the murdered girl, could
not preside over this case, and that he would vacate his seat, for the
present, in favor of the oldest senator. The oldest senator was a man
of at least ninety years. He was bent with age, and his temples were
fringed with thin white hairs; but his eyes were still brilliant, and
his voice was clear and strong.

He began by asking me if I confessed to the murder. I besought him to
give me his attention, and related fearlessly and in distinct tones
what I had done. I noticed that as I proceeded, the Governor first
turned pale and then red; and when I had finished, he sprang up in a
rage. "What, wretch!" he exclaimed to me, "it is your intention, then,
to impute this crime, that you committed in a spirit of avarice, to
another?"

The presiding senator reproved him for this outburst, and reminded him
that he had of his own accord renounced his right to direct the trial;
nor did it appear, he said, that I contemplated robbery, as, by his own
admission, nothing was stolen from his daughter. The senator declared
to the Governor that he must give an account of his daughter's past
life, as this was the only means of judging whether I had spoken the
truth or not. At the same time he would close the court for that day,
in order, as he said, to get some further information from the papers
of the deceased, which the Governor should turn over to him. I was led
back to my prison, where I passed a miserable day, occupied with the
eager wish that some connection might be established between the man in
the red mantle and the deceased.

Full of expectation, I entered the hall of justice on the following
day. There were several letters on the table. The aged senator asked me
whether they were in my hand-writing. I looked at them, and found that
they must have been written by the same hand that wrote me the two
notes I had received. I expressed this belief to the senators, but they
paid no attention to my opinion, and answered that I both could and did
write those notes myself, as the signature at the end of the letters
was certainly a Z, the initial letter of my name. And then the letters
contained threats against the deceased, and warnings against the
wedding which was about to take place.

The Governor seemed to have made some strange disclosures about me, as
I was on this day treated more sternly and suspiciously. To justify
myself, I called for all the papers that were to be found in my room.
But I was told that search had already been made there, and nothing
found. When the court broke up, my hope had entirely vanished; and when
I was led back to the hall on the third day, the verdict was
communicated to me. I had been convicted of willful murder, and
sentenced to death. To this, then, I had come at last! Deprived of
every thing that was still dear to me on earth, far from my home, I
should die innocent of crime, and, in the bloom of my youth, under an
ax!

I was sitting in my lonely prison on the evening of the day that had
decided my fate, with my hopes all dissipated, and my thoughts
earnestly turned on death, when my prison door opened, and a man
entered, who regarded me long and silently. "And thus I find you once
more, Zaleukos?" said he. I had not recognized him by the dull gleam of
my lamp, but the tone of his voice awoke old memories in me. It was
Valetty, one of the few friends I had made during my studies in Paris.
He said that happening to come to Florence, where his father, who was a
man of prominence, lived, he heard of my story; he had come to see me,
to learn from my own lips how I had come to commit so terrible a crime.
I told him the whole story. He seemed very much astonished, and
implored me to tell him, my only friend, the whole truth, and not die
with a lie on my lips, I swore to him by every thing that was sacred
that I had spoken the truth, and that the only burden on my conscience
was that, dazed by the glitter of the gold, I had not perceived the
improbabilities in the stranger's story. "Then you did not know
Bianca?" asked he. I assured him that I had never seen her before.
Valetty then told me that a deep secret hung over the deed, that the
Governor had passed sentence on me very hastily, and there was a rumor
among the people that I had known Bianca for a long time, and had
murdered her out of revenge for her approaching marriage with another.
I remarked to him that all this might apply to the man in the red
mantle, but that I was unable to prove his participation in the deed.
Valetty embraced me, weeping, and promised to make every effort to save
my life. I had but little hope, yet I knew that Valetty was a wise man
and experienced in the laws, and that he would do his best to save me.

For two long days I remained in uncertainty. At last Valetty appeared.
"I bring you consolation, even though it be painful," said he. "You
will live and be set at liberty; but with the loss of a hand."

Joyfully I thanked my friend for my life. He told me that the Governor
was inexorably opposed to opening the case again, but that finally, in
order not to appear unjust, he agreed that if a similar case could be
found in any books of Florentine history, then my punishment should be
regulated by the punishment there recorded. Valetty and his father had
thereupon looked through the old books by day and night, and finally
found a case the exact counterpart of mine. The punishment there
awarded was stated thus: "His left hand shall be amputated, his goods
confiscated, and he himself banished forever." This was now to be my
punishment; and I had to prepare myself for the painful ordeal that
awaited me. But I will not dwell on that terrible hour when I stood on
the public square, laid my hand on the block, and felt my own blood
stream over me.

Valetty took me to his own house until I had recovered; then he
generously provided me with money for my journey; as all that I had
acquired in my years of labor was forfeited to the State. I traveled
from Florence to Sicily, and there embarked on the first ship for
Constantinople. My hopes were turned upon the money I had given into
the keeping of my friend; I also asked permission to live with him, but
he astounded me with the question, why I did not occupy my own house?
He informed me that a strange man had bought a house in my name in the
Greek quarter, and had told the neighbors that I would soon be there to
take possession of it. I immediately went there with my friend, and was
warmly welcomed by all my old acquaintances. An old merchant gave me a
letter, left by the man who had bought the house for me.

The letter was as follows: "Zaleukos, two hands will be always ready to
provide so tirelessly for you that you will not feel the loss of one.
The house that you see, and all it contains, is yours; and every year
you will be given enough to place you in the ranks of your
wealthiest countrymen. May you forgive him who is more unfortunate than
yourself."

I suspected who had written this; and the merchant replied to my
question that he had taken the man to be a Frank, and that he wore a
red mantle. I knew enough to own to myself that the stranger was not
entirely destitute of noble sentiments. I found my new house fitted up
in the very best manner, and there was also a shop stocked with wares
finer than I had ever owned before.

Ten years have passed since then; yet, more from habit than necessity,
I continue to make these commercial journeys. I have never since
visited that country where I met with my misfortune. Every year I
receive a thousand gold pieces. But though it rejoices me to know that
the unfortunate stranger has some noble traits of character, it is
impossible for him to cure the sorrow of my soul, which is perpetually
haunted by the terrible vision of the murdered Bianca.



While the Greek merchant had told his story, the others had listened to
him with the deepest interest. Selim Baruch, particularly, had shown
much emotion, having sighed deeply several times, while Muley was sure
that at one time he had seen tears in his eyes. The merchants commented
for some time on the story.

"And do you not hate the stranger who so basely endangered your life
and caused the loss of so important a member of your body?" asked Selim
Baruch.

"There was a time at first," answered the Greek, "when my heart accused
him before God that he had brought this sorrow on me and poisoned my
life. But I found consolation in the religion of my fathers, which
commands me to love my enemies. And then he must be more unhappy than
I."

"You are a noble man!" exclaimed Selim Baruch, as he pressed the Greek's
hand warmly.

The leader of the guard here interrupted the conversation. He entered
the tent with an anxious air, and reported that it would not do for
them to retire to their couches, as this was the place where the
caravans were usually attacked; and, besides, his sentinels believed
they saw several horsemen in the distance.

The merchants were greatly disturbed at this news; but Selim Baruch,
the stranger, expressed surprise at their consternation, and thought
that they were so strongly guarded that they need not fear a troop of
Arab robbers.

"True, Master!" answered the leader of the escort; "if it were only
such fellows, one could lie down to sleep without anxiety. But for
sometime past the terrible Orbasan has appeared occasionally; and
therefore it behooves one to be on his guard."

Selim desired to know who this Orbasan might be, and one of the
merchants answered him: "There are all sorts of reports current among
the people about this wonderful man. Some believe him to be a
supernatural being, because he has often overcome five or six men in a
fight. Others hold that he is a brave Frank, whom misfortune has driven
into these parts. But from all accounts this much is certain: that he
is an infamous robber and thief!"

"But still you will hardly be able to maintain that," retorted Lezah,
another of the merchants. "Even though a robber, he is a magnanimous
man, and has shown himself such to my brother, as I could relate to
you. He has made orderly men of his whole band, and while he roams over
the desert, no other band dare show itself. Neither is he a common
robber, but simply levies a tax on the caravans, and whoever pays this
willingly may travel on without further molestation, for Orbasan is the
Ruler of the Desert."

Thus the merchants discoursed in the tent; but the guard, who was
stationed around the camp, began to be uneasy. A considerable troop of
armed horsemen was seen at a distance of half an hour's ride, and
seemed to be making directly for the camp. One of the guard therefore
went into the tent to announce that they would probably be attacked.
The merchants conferred with one another as to what was to be done:
whether they had better ride out and meet the attack, or await it in
camp. The two eldest merchants were in favor of the latter course; but
the fiery Muley and Zaleukos chose the first, and called on Selim to
follow their example. But Selim quietly drew a small blue cloth,
covered with red stars, from his girdle, tied it to a spear, and
ordered one of the slaves to fasten it to the top of the tent, saying
he would pledge his life that when the horsemen saw this signal they
would draw off quietly. Muley placed no faith in the result, but the
slave fixed the lance on top of the tent. In the meantime all those in
camp had seized their weapons, and looked for the horsemen in intense
expectancy. But they had apparently caught sight of the signal on the
tent, as they suddenly changed their course, and moved off from the
camp in an opposite direction.

The merchants gazed in wonder, now at the vanishing horsemen, and then
on Selim. But he stood before the tent, looking out unconcernedly over
the plain, as if nothing unusual had happened. At length Muley broke
the silence.

"Who are you, O mighty stranger?" cried he. "You that tame the wild
hordes of the desert by a signal."

"You rate my power much higher than it is," answered Selim Baruch. "I
provided myself with this token when I fled from captivity. What it
signifies, I do not know myself; only this much I do know: that whoever
travels with this sign stands under powerful protection."

The merchants thanked Selim and called him their deliverer; and really
the number of the horsemen was so great that the caravan could not have
resisted them very long.

With lighter hearts the merchants laid down to rest; and when the sun
began to set, and the evening breeze blew over the plains of sand, they
broke camp, and resumed their journey.

The next day they camped within a day's march of the end of the desert.
When the travelers had gathered once more in the large tent, Lezah the
merchant began to speak:

"I told you yesterday that the dreaded Orbasan was a magnanimous man;
permit me to prove it to you to-day, by the recital of my brother's
fate. My father was Cadi at Acara. He had three children, of whom I was
the eldest. My brother and sister were considerably younger. When I was
twenty years old, my father's brother sent for me. He made me heir to
his property, with the condition that I should remain with him while he
lived. But he reached a good old age, so that I could not return home
until two years ago, having learned nothing in the meantime of the dark
cloud that had overshadowed our family, and how graciously Allah had
dispersed it."



                         THE RESCUE OF FATIMA.


My brother Mustapha and my sister Fatima were of nearly the same age.
He was at the most, but two years older. They were devotedly attached
to one another, and together strove, by every means in their power, to
lighten the burden of our sick father's years.

On Fatima's sixteenth birthday, my brother arranged a celebration in
her honor. He invited all her companions; served them with choice
viands in the garden; and towards evening invited them to a ride on the
sea, in a barge which he had hired, and decorated especially for the
occasion. Fatima and her companions joyfully accepted the invitation,
as the evening was fine, and the city viewed from the sea, especially
by night, presented a magnificent appearance.

So highly did the young girls enjoy their ride, that they kept urging
my brother to take them still further out to sea. Mustapha consented
very unwillingly, as some days before a corsair had been seen standing
off the coast. Not far from the city a point of land extended out into
the sea. The young girls now expressed a desire to go there, that they
might see the sun set in the sea. As they rounded the cape, they saw,
at a little distance, a barge filled with armed men. With many
misgivings, my brother ordered the oarsmen to turn the boat around and
pull for shore. And in truth his fears did not seem to be groundless,
for the other barge gave chase to them, and, having more rowers, soon
overtook them--keeping in a line between my brother's barge and the
shore. When the young girls perceived their danger, they jumped up with
cries and lamentations. It was in vain that Mustapha tried to quiet
them; in vain did he urge them to be quiet, as, by their running about,
the boat was in danger of upsetting. His entreaties were not listened
to; and when finally the other boat came near, they all rushed to the
further side of Mustapha's boat and capsized it.

But in the meantime the movements of the strange boat had been watched
from land, and as for some time past fears had been entertained of
corsairs, several barges pushed out from shore to render assistance to
my brother. They arrived just in time to pick up the drowning ones. In
the excitement, the hostile boat escaped; and in the two barges on
which the rescued had been placed, there was some uncertainty as to
whether all had been saved. These two boats were brought side by side,
and alas! it was found that my sister and one of her companions were
missing. At the same moment a man whom no one knew was discovered on
one of the barges. Mustapha's threats extorted from him the admission
that he belonged to the hostile ship that lay at anchor two miles to
the eastward, and that his companions, in their hasty flight, had left
him while he was in the very act of assisting the young girls out of
the water. He further said that he had seen two of them drawn into the
boat to which he belonged.

The anguish of my aged father was intense. Mustapha, too, was nearly
wild with grief--not alone because his beloved sister was lost, and he
must blame himself as the author of her misfortune, but the companion
of Fatima's sad fate was his betrothed, though he had never dared to
mention that circumstance to our father, as the young lady's parents
were poor and low-born.

But my father was a stern man. As soon as he was able to control his
grief, he sent for Mustapha, and said to him: "Your folly has robbed me
of the comfort of my old age, and the light of my eyes. Go! I banish
you forever from my sight; I curse you and all your descendants; and
only when you bring Fatima back to me, shall your father's curse be
lifted."

My brother had not expected this. He had already formed the resolution
of going in search of his sister and her friend, and had come to his
father intending to ask his blessing on the undertaking; and now he was
sent out into the world with the weight of his father's curse on his
head. But if before sorrow had bent him to the ground, this blow, so
undeservedly given, steeled his soul.

He went to the imprisoned pirate, to ask him where his ship was bound,
and learned that she was employed in the slave trade, and usually made
Balsora her market.

When he returned home to prepare for his journey, his father's wrath
seemed to have cooled somewhat, as he sent him a purse of gold for his
support on the journey. Mustapha then took leave of the parents of
Zoraide--his secretly betrothed bride, and started on his way to
Balsora.

As there was no ship from our small town bound directly for Balsora, my
brother made the journey by land; and in order that he might not arrive
too long after the pirates had reached there, he was forced to make
very long day's journeys. Still, as he had a fine horse, and no
luggage, he counted on reaching Balsora at the close of the sixth day.
But on the evening of the fourth day, as he was riding along quite
alone, he was suddenly attacked by three robbers. Observing that they
were powerful men and well armed, and believing that their purpose was
to take his money and horse, rather than his life, he called out that
he would surrender. Thereupon they dismounted from their horses, and
bound his feet together under his horse's belly. One of the men then
seized the bridle of Mustapha's steed, and, with my brother in their
midst, they galloped off in great haste without having once spoken a
word. Mustapha resigned himself to a gloomy despondency. His father's
curse seemed in process of fulfillment; and how could he hope to rescue
his sister and Zoraide, when, stripped of all he possessed, he could
employ only a miserable life towards securing their freedom?

Mustapha and his silent escort had ridden on for about an hour, when
they turned into a side valley, which was shut in by high trees. A
soft, dark-green sod, and a brook rushing swiftly through the middle of
the valley, invited them to rest. Scattered over the green were from
fifteen to twenty tents. Camels and fine horses were tied to the tent
stakes, while from one of the tents sounded the pleasing melody of a
guitar, accompanied by two fine male voices.

To my brother it seemed that people who had displayed such good taste
in the selection of their camping ground could entertain no sinister
designs on him, and he, therefore, cheerfully obeyed the command of
his guides to dismount as soon as they had unloosed his bonds. He was
led into a tent much larger than the others, the interior of which was
fitted up neatly, even elegantly. Gold embroidered cushions, woven
carpets and gold plated censors would have indicated elsewhere the wealth
and respectability of their owner; but here they were plainly the fruits
of robbery. On one of the cushions sat a little old man of repulsive
appearance. His skin was tanned and shiny, and a disagreeable
expression of Turkish slyness lurked about his eyes and mouth. Although
this man attempted to appear dignified, it did not take Mustapha long
to decide that this tent had not been furnished so richly for him,
while the conversation of his guards seemed to confirm his observation.

"Where is the Strong One?" they inquired of the little old man.

"On the chase," answered he. "But he bade me fill his place while he
was gone."

"He didn't display much sense, then," replied one of the robbers, "as
it ought to be decided at once whether this dog shall die or be held
for ransom, and the Strong One could decide that much better than you."

The old man arose with an assumption of dignity, and reached out as if
to grasp his opponent's ear, or to revenge himself by a blow; but when
he saw that his effort was fruitless, he began to curse and swear. Nor
did the others remain long in his debt, but replied in kind, until the
tent resounded with their quarrel.

All at once the door of the tent was opened, and a tall, stately man,
young and handsome as a Persian prince, entered. His clothes and
weapons were plain and simple, with the exception of a richly jeweled
dagger and a gleaming sword; but his steady eye and whole appearance
commanded attention, without inspiring distrust.

"Who is it that dares to make such a disturbance in my tent?" demanded
he of the frightened participants.

For a little time there was deep silence; until finally,
one of the men who had brought Mustapha in told him how the quarrel had
originated. The face of the Strong One, as they called him, flushed
with anger at this recital.

"When did I ever put you in my place, Hassan?" cried he, in a fearful
voice, to the little old man, who, shrinking with fear, stole towards
the door, looking smaller than ever. The Strong One lifted his foot,
and Hassan went flying through the doorway with some remarkable leaps.

When Hassan had disappeared, the three men led Mustapha up to the
master of the tent, who was now reclining on the cushions, saying: "We
have brought you the man whom you ordered us to capture." The Strong
One looked for some time at the prisoner, and then said: "Pasha of
Sulieika, your own conscience will tell you why your are the prisoner
of Orbasan."

When my brother heard this, he threw himself down before Orbasan, and
answered "Oh, Master, you have made a mistake. I am only a poor
unfortunate man, and not the Pasha whom you seek."

All in the tent were surprised at these words. But the master of the
tent replied--

"It will not help you much to deny your identity, as I will produce
people who know you well." He then commanded Zuleima to be brought. An
old woman was led in, who, in response to the question whether she did
not recognize in my brother the Pasha of Sulieika, said--

"Certainly! I swear by the graves of the prophets that he is the Pasha
and no other."

"Do you see, poor fool, how your stratagem is frustrated?" sneered
Orbasan. "You are so miserable a creature that I will not soil my
dagger with your blood; but when to-morrow's sun rises, I will tie you
to my horse's tail and chase through the forests with you until the sun
sets behind the hills of Sulieika."

At this announcement my brother's courage entirely deserted him. "This
is the result of my cruel father's curse that is driving me to an
ignominious death!" exclaimed he, in tears. "And thou, too, sweet
sister, and thou, Zoraide, art lost!"

"Your dissimulation will avail you nothing," said one of the robbers,
who was engaged in tying Mustapha's hands behind his back. "Get out of
the tent quickly, for the Strong One is biting his lips and glancing at
his dagger. If you would live another night, come quickly!"

As the robbers were leading my brother out of the tent, they
encountered three others, who were pushing in a prisoner before them.
"We have brought you the Pasha as you commanded us," said they, and led
the prisoner up to the cushions where Orbasan reclined. While the
prisoner was being led forward, my brother had an opportunity to
observe him closely, and he was forced to acknowledge the striking
resemblance which this man bore to him, only the stranger's complexion
was darker and he wore a black beard.

Orbasan seemed much astonished over the appearance of the second
prisoner. "Which of you, then, is the right one?" asked he, looking
from one to the other.

"If you mean the Pasha of Sulieika," answered the prisoner, in a proud
tone, "I am he."

Orbasan gazed at him some time with a stern, hard expression, and then
silently beckoned the men to lead him away. When they had done so,
Orbasan went up to my brother, cut his bonds with his dagger, and
motioned to him to sit down with him on the cushions. "I am sorry,
young stranger," said he, "that I mistook you for that monster. It was,
indeed, a singular dispensation of fate which led you into the hands of
my comrades at the same hour that was destined to see the fall of that
traitor." My brother begged of him but one favor: that he might be
allowed to continue on his journey at once, as the least delay would
prove fatal to his purpose. Orbasan inquired what the nature of the
affair was that required such haste, and when Mustapha had told him
every thing, Orbasan persuaded him to remain in his tent over night, as
he and his horse were in need of rest, and promised that in the morning
he would show him a way by which he could reach Balsora in a day and a
half.

My brother remained, was hospitably entertained, and slept soundly
until morning in the tent of the robber chief. When he awakened he
found himself all alone, but before the curtain of the tent he heard
several voices, one of which belonged to Orbasan and another to Hassan.
He listened, and heard, to his horror, that the little old man was
urging upon Orbasan the necessity of killing him, lest he should betray
them when he had regained his liberty. Mustapha felt sure that Hassan
hated him, because he had been the cause of the little fellow's being
handled so roughly the night before. Orbasan remained silent for some
moments, and then replied: "No, he is my guest, and the laws of
hospitality are sacred with me; neither does he look like an informer."

Thus saying, Orbasan flung aside the curtain and entered. "Peace be
with you, Mustapha," said he. "Let us take our morning draught, and
then prepare yourself to start." He handed my brother a glass of
sherbet, and when they had drunk, they saddled their horses, and with a
lighter heart than he had entered the camp, Mustapha swung himself into
his seat.

They had soon left the tents far behind, and followed a broad path that
led into the forest. Orbasan told my brother that the Pasha who had
been captured had promised that he would permit them to remain
undisturbed in his territory; yet but a few weeks after he took one of
their bravest men prisoner, and hanged him with the most horrible
torture. Orbasan had had spies on his track for a long time, and now he
must die. Mustapha did not venture to oppose his purpose, as he was
thankful to get away with a whole skin himself.

At the end of the forest Orbasan stopped his horse, described the way
to my brother, offered him his hand at parting, and said: "Mustapha,
you became the guest of the robber Orbasan under singular
circumstances. I will not require you to promise that you will not
betray what you have seen and heard. You were unjustly forced to suffer
the fear of death, and I am, therefore, in your debt. Take this dagger
as a keepsake, and if you are ever in need of help, send it to me, and
I will hasten to your assistance. This purse you may be able to use on
your journey."

My brother thanked him for his generosity, and took the dagger, but
refused the purse. Orbasan pressed his hand once more, letting the
purse fall to the ground, and sprang with the speed of the wind into
the forest. When Mustapha saw that Orbasan did not intend to return for
the purse, he dismounted and picked it up, starting at the generosity
of his host, as he found it contained a large sum of gold. He thanked
Allah for his rescue, recommended the generous robber to His mercy, and
continued on his way to Balsora with a lighter heart.

Lezah, the story-teller, paused, and looked inquiringly at the merchant
who had spoken so bitterly of Orbasan. The latter said--

"Well, if all that be so, I will cheerfully reverse my judgment of
Orbasan, for he really treated your brother handsomely."

"He behaved like a true Musselman," exclaimed Muley. "But I hope your
story was not ended there, for we are all curious to hear more; how
things went with your brother, and whether he rescued your sister
Fatima and the beautiful Zoraide."

"If I do not weary you, I will willingly continue," replied Lezah; "for
this story of my brother is certainly adventurous and wonderful."

With this, he continued his story.



At noon on the seventh day of his departure from home, Mustapha entered
the gate of Balsora. As soon as he had reached a caravansary, he made
inquiries as to when the slave auction, held there every year, opened.
He received in reply the dreadful news that he had arrived two days too
late. They deplored his delay, and told him that he had missed a fine
sight, for on the last day of the auction two female slaves had been
put up, of such extraordinary beauty as to attract the attention of all
bidders. There was sharp competition for their possession, and the
bidding ran up so high as to frighten off everybody but their present
owner. Mustapha made more particular inquiries, until he had satisfied
himself beyond a doubt that these slaves were the unfortunate objects
of his search. He learned further that the name of the man who had
bought them was Thiuli-Kos; that he lived a good forty-hours' journey
from Balsora, and was a rich and elderly man of rank, who had formerly
been senior Pasha of the Shah, but had now retired from official life
to live upon his means.

At first thought, Mustapha was about to mount his horse and hasten
after Thiuli-Kos, who had only a day the start of him; but, after
reflecting that, alone and unattended, he could hardly approach so
powerful and rich a man, and still less hope to rob him of his
possessions, he tried to devise some other plan, and soon hit upon one
that appeared feasible. The singular mistake of confounding him with
the Pasha of Sulieika, which had been so nearly fatal to him, suggested
the idea of visiting the house of Thiuli-Kos, under this name, and then
attempting the rescue of the unfortunate maidens. Accordingly he hired
horses and servants--for which purpose Orbasan's money proved very
useful--provided fine clothes for himself and servants, and set out for
Thiuli's castle.

In five days he reached the vicinity of the castle, which was situated
in a beautiful plain, enclosed within high walls, above which but
little could be seen of the buildings. Arriving there, Mustapha dyed
his hair and beard black, and painted his face with the juice of a
plant, that gave him quite as brown a complexion as the real Pasha had
possessed. Thereupon he sent one of his servants to the castle to
request a night's lodging, in the name of the Pasha of Sulieika. The
servant soon returned, and with him came four finely costumed slaves,
who took hold of the bridle of Mustapha's horse, and led him into the
court of the castle. There they assisted him to dismount, when four
others conducted him up the broad marble steps to the presence of
Thiuli. The latter proved to be a jovial old fellow, and he received my
brother with due honor, and set before him the best that his cook could
prepare.

After the table was cleared, Mustapha turned the conversation to the
new slaves, and Thiuli boasted of their beauty, while complaining of
their sadness; this, however, he believed would soon disappear. My
brother was well pleased with his reception, and betook himself to
rest, feeling very hopeful. He had slept perhaps an hour, when he was
awakened by the gleam of a lamp that dazzled his eyes. As he raised
himself in bed, he believed that he must still be dreaming, for before
him stood that little dark-skinned man whom he had seen in Orbasan's
tent. He held a lamp in his hand, and his broad mouth was distorted by
a horrible grimace. Mustapha pinched his own arm and pulled his nose,
in order to convince himself that he was awake; but the apparition
remained as before.

"What will you at my bed-side?" cried Mustapha, as soon as he had
recovered from his astonishment.

"Don't trouble yourself, Master," replied Hassan, "I have found out
your purpose in coming here; nor was your worthy face forgotten by me.
But really, if I had not helped to hang the Pasha with my own hands, I
might perhaps have been deceived. Now I have come to put a question."

"First of all, tell me how you came here," returned Mustapha, furious
at being betrayed.

"I will tell you," replied Hassan, "I could not get along with Orbasan
any longer; therefore I ran away. But you, Mustapha, was the cause of
our quarrel, and therefore you must give me your sister to wed, and I
will assist you in your flight. If you do not agree to this, I will go
to my new master and tell him something about the new Pasha."

Mustapha was beside himself with rage and terror. Now, just as he
believed himself about to attain his object, why must this wretch come
and thwart his designs? There was only one way left in which he could
carry out his plan: he must kill the ugly monster. With one spring he
leaped from the bed and tried to seize the ugly wretch; but he,
doubtless having expected such an attack, let the lamp fall and escaped
in the darkness, shrieking murderously for help.

He was now compelled to give up the young girls, and turn his attention
to his own safety. He went to the window to see whether he could jump
out, and found it was quite a distance to the ground, while opposite
stood a high wall. Suddenly he heard voices approaching his room. As
they reached his door, he grasped his clothes and dagger in
desperation, and swung himself out of the window. The fall was a hard
one, but he felt that no bones were broken, and sprang up to run to the
wall, which he climbed, to the astonishment of the pursuers, and was
soon at liberty. He ran until he reached a small wood, where he flung
himself down exhausted. Here he considered what was to be done.

His servants and horses he had been forced to leave, but the money
which he carried in his girdle was safe, and his ingenuity shortly
discovered another mode of rescue. He went on through the forest until
he came to a village, where for a little money he bought a horse that
quickly carried him to a city. Once there he inquired for a physician,
and an old and experienced man was recommended to him. By the aid of
some gold pieces, he induced this physician to furnish him with a
medicine that would produce a death-like sleep, that might, however, be
instantly dispelled by some other remedy. When he had procured these
medicines, he bought a false beard, a black gown, and all manner of
little boxes and alembics, so that he properly represented a traveling
physician--loaded his traps on an ass and journeyed back to the castle
of Thiuli-Kos. He was certain this time of not being known, as the
beard made such a complete change in his appearance that he felt
doubtful of his own identity.

On arriving at Thiuli's, he announced himself as the physician
Chakamankabudibaba. The result was as he had foreseen: the
high-sounding name recommended him so highly to the weak old Pasha that
he was at once invited to dinner. After an hour's conversation, the old
man resolved to submit all his female slaves to the treatment of the
wise physician. Mustapha could now hardly conceal his joy at the
prospect of seeing his beloved sister again, and followed Thiuli with a
beating heart, as he led the way to the seraglio. They came to a room
beautifully decorated but unoccupied.

"Chambaba, or whatever you call yourself, dear doctor," said
Thiuli-Kos, "look for a moment at yonder hole in the wall; each one of
my slaves will put her arm through it in succession, and you can
ascertain by the pulse who the sick are and who the well."

[Illustration]

Mustapha's objections to this arrangement were of no avail; he was not
permitted to see the slaves; still Thiuli consented to inform him of
each one's general state of health. Thiuli then drew out a long sheet
of paper from his sash, and began to call the roll of his female slaves
in a loud voice; and at each name a hand was thrust through the wall,
and the physician felt the pulse. Six were called off, and pronounced
in good health, when Thiuli called out the name "Fatima," as the
seventh, and a small white hand slipped through the wall. Trembling
with joy, Mustapha seized this hand and declared with an important air,
that Fatima was seriously sick. Thiuli became very anxious, and ordered
his wise Chakamankabudibaba to prepare at once some medicine for her.
The physician went out of the room, and wrote on a small piece of
paper:

"Fatima! I will save you, if you have the strength of will to take a
medicine that will deprive you of life for two days; still I possess a
remedy that will restore you to life again. If you are willing to do
this, speak these words: 'The medicine did not help me any,' and I
shall take it as a sign of your assent."

Mustapha returned to the room where Thiuli was awaiting him. He brought
with him a harmless drink, felt of Fatima's pulse once more, at the
same time tucking the note under her bracelet, and passed the drink
through the opening in the wall. Thiuli seemed to be very anxious about
Fatima, and put off the examination of the rest until a more favorable
opportunity. As he left the room with Mustapha, he said, in a sad tone:
"Chidababa, tell me the exact truth; what is your opinion of Fatima's
sickness?" Chakamankabudibaba replied with a deep sigh: "Oh Master! may
the good Prophet send you consolation; she has a stealthy fever that
may end her life." At this reply Thiuli's anger flamed up. "What's that
you say, you cursed dog of a doctor! Do you mean to say that she, for
whom I paid two thousand pieces of gold, will die on my hands like a
cow? Know, then, that if you do not save her, I will take your head
off!"

My brother at once saw that he had made a stupid mistake, so he
hastened to assure Thiuli there was still hope for Fatima. While they
were speaking together, a black slave came from the seraglio to say to
the physician that _the drink did not help her any_. "Put forth all
your art, Chakamdababelda, or whatever you call yourself, and I will
pay you whatever you ask," exclaimed Thiuli-Kos, wild with anxiety at
the prospect of losing so much money. "I will give her a little
decoction that will save her from danger," answered the physician.
"Yes! by all means, give her the medicine," cried old Thiuli.

Mustapha, in high spirits, went to fetch the sleeping potion, and after
handing it to the slave, with instructions as to the quantity to be
taken, he returned to Thiuli, and told him that now he must go down to
the sea and gather some healing herbs. He then hurried away to the sea,
that was not far off, where he took off his various disguises and flung
them into the water, where the waves tossed them about. He then
concealed himself in the bushes until evening, when he stole quietly up
to the burial vault of Thiuli's castle.

Hardly an hour after Mustapha had departed from the castle, word was
brought Thiuli that his slave Fatima was dying. He at once sent down to
the shore to have the physician brought back, but his messengers soon
returned with the information that the poor doctor had fallen into the
water and been drowned; his black cloak was floating on the waves, and
occasionally his magnificent black beard might be seen bobbing up and
down in the water.

When Thiuli saw there was no hope of her recovery, he cursed himself
and the whole world, tore out his beard, and butted his head against
the wall. But all this availed nothing, for Fatima, under the care of
the other women, soon ceased to breathe. When Thiuli heard of her
death, he ordered a coffin to be hastily made, as he could not suffer a
dead person to remain in the house, and had the body carried to the
tomb. The bearers carried the coffin there, dropped it hastily, and
fled, as they heard groans and sighs proceeding from the other coffins.

Mustapha, who had hidden behind the coffins and frightened away the
bearers of Fatima's coffin, now came out from his hiding place, and
lighted a lamp that he had provided for this purpose. Next he produced
a phial containing the restorative, and raised the lid of Fatima's
coffin. But what was his amazement when the rays of the lamp disclosed
features entirely strange to him! It was neither my sister nor Zoraide,
but quite another person, that lay in the coffin. It took him a long
time to recover from this latest blow of fate, but finally pity
overcame his vexation. He opened the phial, and poured some of the
contents into the mouth of the sleeper. She breathed, opened her eyes,
and seemed for a long time to be trying to make out her situation. At
last she recalled all that had happened, and, stepping out of the
coffin, flung herself at Mustapha's feet. "How can I thank you,
gracious being?" cried she, "for freeing me from my terrible prison!"
Mustapha interrupted her expressions of gratitude with the question how
it happened that she and not his sister Fatima had been rescued. She
looked at him in an astonished way before replying: "Now for the first
time I understand what before was incomprehensible to me. You must know
that I was called Fatima in the castle, and it was to me you gave the
note and medicine." My brother requested her to give him news of his
sister and Zoraide, and learned that they were both in the castle, but,
in accordance with a custom of Thiuli's, had received other names, and
were now called Mirza and Nurmahal.

When the freed slave, Fatima, saw that my brother was so cast down by
this mistake, she consoled him with the assurance that she could point
out another way by which both of the young girls might be rescued.
Aroused by what she said, he begged her to tell him her plan, to which
she replied--

"For some five months I have been Thiuli's slave; yet from the first I
have planned to escape, but it was too much of a task for me to attempt
alone. In the inner court of the castle you must have noticed a
fountain that throws the water in a cascade from ten pipes. This
fountain impressed me strongly, because I remembered a similar one in
my father's house, the water of which was brought through a large
aqueduct. In order to learn whether this fountain was built in the same
way, I one day praised its beauty to Thiuli, and asked who had
constructed it. 'I built it myself,' answered he; 'and what you see
here is the least part of the work, as the water is brought from a
brook, a thousand paces away, through an arched viaduct at least high
enough for a man to walk in. And the construction of all this I
directed myself.'

"Since hearing this, I have often wished for the strength of a man to
pull out a stone in the side of the fountain, and thereby escape. I
will now show you the aqueduct, through which you can obtain entrance
to the castle at night, and set your sister free. But you ought to have
at least two men with you, in order to overpower the slaves who watch
the seraglio at night."

My brother Mustapha, although he had seen his plans twice frustrated,
plucked up courage once more at these words, and hoped, with Allah's
assistance, to carry out the scheme of the slave. He promised to see
that she arrived safely at her home if she would assist him to enter
the castle. But one point caused him some little perplexity: where
should he obtain two or three men upon whom he could depend? Just then
Orbasan's dagger occurred to him, and the promise he had received from
the bandit that, in case of need, he would hasten to his assistance;
and he therefore left the vault, in company with Fatima, to hunt up the
robber.

In the same village which had witnessed his transformation into a
physician, he bought a horse with what money remained to him, and
procured a lodging for Fatima with a poor woman who lived in the
suburb. He then hastened toward the hills where he had first met
Orbasan, and arrived there in three days. He soon found their tents, and
appeared unexpectedly to Orbasan, who greeted him with friendliness. He
gave an account of his failures, at which the grave Orbasan could not
refrain from laughing now and then, especially when he thought of the
physician Chakamankabudibaba. But he was terribly enraged over the
treachery of the ugly little monster, Hassan, and swore he would hang
him up wherever he found him. He also promised that when my brother had
refreshed himself after the fatigue of his journey, he would be ready to
assist him.

Mustapha therefore spent the night in Orbasan's tent. With the early
dawn they rode off, accompanied by three of Orbasan's bravest men well
mounted and armed. They rode very fast and in two days' time reached
the place where Mustapha had left Fatima. They took her with them, and
journeyed on until they came to the small wood from whence Thiuli's
castle could be seen, where they went into camp until night should
come.

As soon as it was dark, guided by Fatima, they stole up to the brook
where the aqueduct began, and soon discovered the entrance. There they
left Fatima and a servant with the horses, and prepared to descend into
the conduit; but before they went in, Fatima repeated once more her
instructions to them--they would emerge from the fountain into the
inner court, in the right and left corners of which were towers, and in
the sixth door counting from the right tower, they would find Fatima
and Zoraide, guarded by two black slaves. Well provided with weapons and
crowbars, Mustapha, Orbasan, and two other men, descended into the
aqueduct. They sank to their hips in the water, but none the less did
they advance valiantly forward. In half an hour they came to the
fountain, and at once began to use their crowbars. The wall was thick
and solid but could not long withstand the united strength of the four
men, and they had soon made an opening large enough to crawl through.
Orbasan passed through first, and helped the others after him.

When they all stood in the court, they looked closely at the side of
the castle facing them, to pick out the door that had been described.
But they did not all agree on this point, for on counting from the
right tower toward the left, they found one door that had been walled
up, and they could not decide whether Fatima had passed this door by,
or had counted it in with the others. But Orbasan did not hesitate
long. "My good sword will open every door to me," exclaimed he, and
went to one of the doors followed by his companions. They opened the
door and discovered six black slaves lying on the floor asleep. They
were about to withdraw quietly, as they saw they had missed the right
door, when a man's form arose in the corner, and in a well-known voice,
called for help. It was Hassan, the deserter from Orbasan's camp. But
before the black guards could find out what had happened, Orbasan
rushed at the little wretch, tore his girdle into two pieces, with one
of which he bound his mouth, and with the other tied his hands behind
his back; then he turned on the slaves, some of whom were already
partially secured by Mustapha and his companions, and assisted to
completely overpower them. At the point of the dagger, the slaves
confessed that Nurmahal and Mirza were in the adjoining room. Mustapha
rushed in, and found Fatima and Zoraide, who were already aroused by
the noise. They quickly collected their clothing and ornaments, and
followed Mustapha. The two robbers now begged permission of Orbasan to
plunder whatever they found; but he forbade them, saying: "It shall
never be said of Orbasan that he broke into a house at night to steal
gold."

Mustapha and the young girls slid quickly into the aqueduct, Orbasan
promising to follow immediately; but as soon as the others were out of
sight, Orbasan and one of the robbers took Hassan out into the court,
and tying a silk cord around his neck, hung him to the highest point of
the fountain. After having inflicted this penalty on the wretch, they
descended into the aqueduct and followed Mustapha.

[Illustration]

With tears the two young girls thanked their noble rescuer Orbasan, but
he hurried them on in their flight, as it was quite probable that
Thiuli-Kos would pursue them in all directions. With deep emotion,
Mustapha and the rescued ones parted from Orbasan on the following day.
Of a truth, they will never forget him. Fatima, the freed slave,
disguised herself and went to Balsora to take passage for her home, and
all reached there safely after a short and agreeable journey.

The joy of seeing them again almost killed my father; but the day after
their arrival, he ordered an immense banquet, to which the whole town
came. My brother had then to repeat his story before a large number of
relatives and friends, and with one voice they praised him and the
noble Orbasan.

When my brother had finished, my father rose and led Zoraide up to him.
"Thus," said he in joyful tones, "do I lift the curse from thy head;
take her as the reward, which thou hast won through thy tireless zeal;
take my fatherly blessing; and may our city never be wanting in men
who, in brotherly love, in wisdom and zeal, resemble thee."



The caravan had reached the end of the desert, and the travelers
joyfully greeted the green meadows and the thick foliage of the trees;
a delightful view, of which they had been deprived for many days. In a
beautiful valley was situated a caravansary, which they chose for a
night's lodging; and although it offered poor accommodation and
refreshment, yet the whole company were in better spirits and more
confidential than ever, as the feeling that they had escaped all the
dangers and discomforts which a journey through the desert brings,
opened all hearts and disposed all minds to jests and sports. Muley,
the active young merchant, danced a comic dance, accompanying himself
with songs, until even the sad features of Zaleukos, the Greek, relaxed
into a smile. But not satisfied with having entertained his fellow
travelers with dances and games, he related, as soon as he had somewhat
recovered from his violent exercise, the story which he had promised
them.



                              LITTLE MUCK.


IN Nicæea, my dearly-loved native city, lived a man who was called
Little Muck, I can recall him distinctly, although I was quite young at
the time, chiefly because of a severe chastisement I received from my
father on his account. This Little Muck was already an old man when I
knew him, and yet he was not more than four feet in height. His figure
presented a singular appearance, as his body, small and childlike,
seemed but a slender support for a head much larger than the heads of
ordinary people. He lived all alone in a large house, and cooked his
own meals, and had it not been for the smoke that rose from his kitchen
chimney at midday, the townspeople would have remained in doubt as to
whether he still lived; for he went out but once a month. He was,
however, occasionally seen walking on the house-top, and to one looking
up from the street there was presented the singular sight of a head
moving to and fro. My companions and myself were rather bad boys, who
took delight in teasing and making sport of everybody; so it was always
a great holiday for us whenever Little Muck went out. We gathered
before his house on the appointed day, and waited; and when now the
door opened, and the large head, wrapped in a still larger turban,
peeped out, followed by the rest of his little body, done up in a
threadbare cloak, baggy breeches, and a wide sash, from which hung a
dagger so long that it could not be told whether Muck stuck on the
dagger or the dagger on Muck--when he thus made his appearance, the air
echoed with our shouts; we threw up our caps, and danced around him
like mad. Little Muck, however, returned our salute with a grave nod of
the head, and shuffled slowly down the street in such great, wide
slippers as I had never seen before. We boys ran behind him, shouting:
"Little Muck! Little Muck!" We also had a jolly little verse that we
now and then sang in his honor, which ran as follows:

[Illustration]

            Little Muck, little Muck,
            Living in a house so fair,
            Once a month you take the air,
            You, brave little dwarf, 'tis said,
            Have a mountain for a head;
            Turn around just once and look;
            Run and catch us, little Muck!

Thus had we often entertained ourselves, and, to my shame be it
confessed, I behaved the worst--often catching him by the cloak, and
once I trod on the heel of his slipper so that he fell down. This
struck me as a very funny thing, but the laugh stuck in my throat as I
saw him go to my father's house. He went right in and remained there
for some time. I hid myself near the front door, and saw Little Muck
come out again, accompanied by my father, who held his hand and parted
from him on the door-step with many bows. Not feeling very easy in my
mind, I remained for a long time in my hiding place; but I was at last
driven out by hunger, which I feared worse than a whipping, and,
spiritless and with bowed head, I went home to my father. "I hear that
you have been insulting the good Little Muck," said he, in a grave
tone. "I will tell you the story of Little Muck, and you will certainly
not want to laugh at him again; but before I begin, and after I am
through, you will receive '_the customary_.'" Now "the customary"
consisted of twenty-five blows, which he was accustomed to lay on
without making any mistake in the count. He took for this purpose the
long stem of a cherry pipe, unscrewing the amber mouth-piece, and
belaboring me harder than ever before. When the five-and-twenty strokes
were completed, he commanded me to pay attention, and told me the story
of Little Muck.

The father of Little Muck--whose proper name was Mukrah--was a poor but
respectable man, living here in Nicæa. He lived nearly as solitary a
life as his son now does. This son he could not endure, as he was
ashamed of his dwarfish shape, and he therefore allowed him to grow up
in ignorance. Little Muck, though in his sixteenth year, was only a
child; and his father continually scolded him, because he who should
have long since "put away childish things," still remained so stupid
and silly.

However, the old gentleman got a bad fall one day, from the effects of
which he shortly died, and left Little Muck poor and ignorant. The
unfeeling relatives, to whom the deceased had owed more than he could
pay, drove the poor little fellow out of the house, and advised him to
go out into the world and seek his fortune. Little Muck replied that he
was ready for the journey, but begged that he might be allowed to have his
father's clothes; and these were given him. His father had been a tall,
stout man, so that the clothes did not fit the little son very well; but
Muck knew just what to do in this emergency: he cut off every thing that
was too long, and then put the clothes on. He seemed, however, to have
forgotten that he should have cut away from the width as well; hence his
singular appearance just as he may be seen to-day--dressed in the large
turban, the broad sash, the baggy trousers, the blue cloak, all heirlooms
from his father, which he has ever since worn. The long Damascus poniard,
that had also belonged to his father, he stuck proudly in his sash, and,
supported by a little cane, wandered out of the city gate.

He tramped along merrily the whole day; for had he not been sent out to
seek his fortune? If he came across a broken bit of pottery glistening
in the sun, he straightway put it into his pocket, in the full belief
that it would prove to be the most brilliant diamond. When he saw in
the distance the dome of a mosque all ablaze with the sun's rays, or a
lake gleaming like a mirror, he made all haste to reach it, believing
he had arrived in an enchanted land. But alas, the illusions vanished
as he neared them, while weariness and an empty stomach forcibly
reminded him that he was still in the land of mortals. Thus hungry and
sorrowful, and despairing of ever finding his fortune, he wandered on
for two long days, with the fruits of the field for his only
nourishment, and the hard earth for his couch.

On the morning of the third day he discovered, from a hill, a large
city. The crescent shone brightly on its battlements, while gay banners
waving from the roofs seemed to beckon him on. In great surprise, he
stopped to look at the city and its surroundings. "Yes, there shall Little
Muck find his fortune," said he to himself; and summoning all his strength,
he started on towards the city. But, although the town seemed near by, it
was nearly noon when he reached it, as his little legs almost refused to
carry out his will, and he was forced to sit down in the shade of a palm
tree to rest. At last he reached the gate. There he arranged his cloak with
great care, gave a new fold to his turban, stretched out his sash to twice
its usual width, stuck the long poniard in a little straighter, and wiping
the dust from his shoes, grasped his stick more firmly and marched bravely
in.

He had wandered through several streets, but not a door opened to him;
nor did any one call out--as he had fancied would be done--:

            Little Muck! Come in and eat,
            And rest your weary little feet.

Once more he looked up very longingly at a large, fine house before
him, when suddenly a window was opened, and an old woman looked down,
calling out in a sing-song tone:

            O come, O come!
            The porridge is done,
            The table is spread,
            May you all be well-fed;
            O good neighbors, come,
            The porridge is done!

The door of the house opened, and Muck saw many dogs and cats enter. He
remained for some time in doubt whether he should accept the
invitation, but at last he mustered up courage and walked in. Before
him went two little kittens, and he concluded to follow them, as they
might know the way to the kitchen better than he did.

As Muck ascended the stairs, he met the same old woman who had looked
out from the window. She looked at him crossly, and asked him what he
wanted. "Why, you invited everybody in to partake of your porridge,"
answered Little Muck; "and as I was very hungry, I came in too." The
old woman laughed and said: "Where in the world do you come from, you
odd little fellow? The whole city knows that I cook for nobody but my
dear cats, and now and then I invite company for them out of the
neighborhood, as you see." Little Muck told the old woman how hardly it
had fared with him since his father's death, and begged that she would
permit him to eat with her cats to-day. The woman, who was pleased with
the simple-hearted manner in which the dwarf told his story, allowed
him to be her guest, and provided food and drink for him bountifully.

When he had eaten his fill, and felt much stronger, the old woman
looked at him for some time before saying: "Little Muck, remain in my
service; you will have little to do, and will be well provided for."
Little Muck, who had found the cats' soup very nice, consented, and
became the servant of Ahavzi. His duties were light, but quite
peculiar. Ahavzi had, for instance, six cats, and every morning Little
Muck had to comb their fur and rub in costly ointments; when the old
woman went out he had also to look after the cats; when they were to be
fed, he had to set the dishes before them; and at night it was his duty
to lay them on silken cushions and cover them with velvet blankets.
There were also a few small dogs in the house, which he had to wait
upon; still, these received but little attention as compared with the
cats, which Ahavzi considered as her own children. As for the rest,
Muck led as lonely a life as he had suffered in his father's house;
for, with the exception of the old woman, he saw only dogs and cats the
livelong day.

For a little while, however, all went well with him. He always had
enough to eat and but little to do, and the old woman found no fault
with him. But after a while the cats became unruly; when the old woman
had gone out, they would fly around the room as if possessed, throwing
things about, and breaking many a fine dish that stood in their way.
But whenever they heard the old woman coming up the stairs, they
crouched down on their cushions, and wagged their tails, as if nothing
had occurred. Ahavzi got very angry when she found her rooms in such
disorder, and laid it all to Muck's charge; and though he might protest
his innocence as much as he pleased, she believed her cats, which
looked so harmless, more than she did her servant.

Little Muck felt very sad that he had failed to find his fortune, and
secretly resolved to leave the service of Ahavzi. But, as he had
discovered on his first journey how poorly one lives without money, he
resolved to help himself to the wages which his mistress had often
promised but never given him. There was one room in Ahavzi's house that
was always kept locked, and whose interior Muck had never seen. But he
had often heard the old woman bustling about in there, and as often he
would have given his life to know what she had hidden there. When he
came to think about the money for his journey, it occurred to him that
the treasures of Ahavzi might be concealed in that room. But the door
was always locked, and therefore he was unable to get at the treasures.

One morning, when the old woman had gone out, one of the dogs--to whom
Ahavzi accorded little more than a step-mother's care, but whose favor
Muck had acquired by a series of kindly services--seized Muck by his
baggy trousers, and acted as if he wished the dwarf to follow him.
Muck, always ready for a game with the dog, followed him, and behold,
he was escorted to the bed-room of Ahavzi, and up to a small door that
he had never noticed before. The door was soon opened, and the dog
went in followed by Muck, who was greatly rejoiced to find that he was
in the very room that he had so long sought to enter. He searched
every-where for money, but found none. Only old clothes and strangely
shaped dishes were to be seen. One of these dishes attracted his
attention. It was crystal and in it were cut beautiful figures. He
picked it up and turned it about to examine all its sides. But,
horrors! he had not noticed that it had a lid which was insecurely
fastened. The cover fell off, and was broken into a thousand pieces!

For a long time Little Muck stood there, motionless from terror. Now
was his fate decided. Now he must flee, or the old woman would surely
strike him dead. His journey was decided on at once; and as he took one
more look around to see if there were nothing among the effects of
Ahavzi that he could make use of on his march, his eye was caught by a
pair of large slippers. They were certainly not beautiful; but those he
had on would not stand another journey, and he was also attracted by
this pair on account of their size, for when he once had these on his
feet, everybody, he hoped, would see that he had "put away childish
things." He therefore quickly kicked off his own shoes and stepped into
the large slippers. A walking stick ornamented with a finely cut lion's
head, seemed to him to be standing too idly in the corner; so he took
that along also, and hastened to his own bed-room, where he threw on
his cloak, placed his father's turban on his head, stuck the poniard in
his sash, and left the house and city as speedily as his feet would
carry him.

Once free of the town, he ran on, from fear of the old woman, until he
was ready to drop with exhaustion. Never before had he run so fast;
indeed it seemed to him that some unseen force was hurrying him on so
that he could not stop. Finally he observed that his power must have
connection with the slippers, as these kept sliding along, and carried
him with them. He attempted all kinds of experiments to come to a
stand-still, but was unsuccessful; when as a last resort, he shouted at
himself, as one calls to horses: "Whoa! whoa! stop! whoa!" Thereupon
the slippers halted, and Muck threw himself down on the ground utterly
exhausted.

The slippers pleased him very much. He had, after all, acquired
something by his service, that would help him along in the world, on
his way to find his fortune. In spite of his joy, he fell asleep from
exhaustion--as the small body of little Muck had so heavy a head to
carry that it could not endure much fatigue. The little dog, that had
helped him to Ahavzi's slippers, appeared to him in a dream, and said
to him: "Dear Muck, you don't quite understand how to use those
slippers; you must know that by turning around three times on the heel
of your slipper, you can fly to any point you choose; and with this
walking-stick you can discover treasures, as wherever gold is buried it
will strike three times on the earth, and if silver, twice!" Such was
the dream of Little Muck.

When he waked up, he recalled the wonderful dream, and resolved to test
its truth. He put on the slippers, raised one foot and attempted to
turn on his heel. But any one who will try the feat of turning three
times in succession on the heel of such a large slipper, will not
wonder that Little Muck did not at first succeed, especially if one
takes into account his heavy head, that was constantly causing him to
lose his balance. The poor little fellow got several hard falls on his
nose, but he would not be frightened off from repeating his efforts,
and at last he succeeded.

He whirled around like a wheel on his heel; wished himself in the
next large city, and the slippers steered him up into the air, rushed
him with the speed of the wind through the clouds, and before Little
Muck could think how it had all happened, he found himself in a
market-place, where many stalls had been put up, and a countless number
of people were busily running to and fro. He mixed somewhat with the
people but considered it wiser to take himself to a quieter street, as
on the market-place every now-and-then somebody stepped on his
slippers, so as to nearly throw him down, and then again, one and
another, in hurrying by, would get a stab from his projecting poniard,
so that he was continually in trouble.

Little Muck now began to think seriously of what he should do to earn
some money. To be sure, he had a stick that would point out hidden
treasures, but where might he hope to find a place where gold or silver
was buried? He might have exhibited himself for money; but for that he
was too proud. Finally his speed of foot occurred to him. Perhaps,
thought he, my slippers may procure me a livelihood; and he resolved to
hire himself out as a runner. Concluding that the king, who lived in
this city, would pay the best wages, he inquired for the palace. At the
door of the palace stood a guard, who asked him what business he had
there? On answering that he was seeking service, he was referred to the
head steward. To him he preferred his request, and begged him to give
him a place among the king's messengers. The steward measured him with
a glance from head to foot, and said: "How will you, with your little
feet, scarcely a hand's breadth in length, become a royal messenger?
Get away with you! I am not here to crack jokes with every fool."
Little Muck assured him that he meant every word he had said, and that
he would run a race with the fastest, on a wager. The steward took all
this as a bit of pleasantry, and in that spirit ordered him to hold
himself ready for a race that evening. He then took him into the
kitchen, and saw that he was given food and drink, and afterwards,
betook himself to the king, and told him about the little fellow, and
his offer to run a race.

The king was a merry gentleman, and well pleased with the steward for
affording him an opportunity of having some sport with Muck, and
ordered him to make such preparations for a race on the meadow, back of
the castle, that his whole court could view the scene in comfort; and
commanded him once more to pay every attention to the wants of the
dwarf. The king told the princes and princesses of the entertainment
that would be furnished in the evening, and they, in turn, informed
their servants, so that when evening set in, all was expectancy, and
every body who had feet to carry them, went streaming out to the
meadow, where staging had been erected in order that they might see the
vainglorious Muck run a race.

When the king with his sons and daughters had taken their seats on the
platform, Little Muck entered the meadow, and saluted the lords and
ladies with an extremely elegant bow; universal acclamation greeted the
appearance of the little fellow. Surely such a figure had never been
seen there before. The small body and the big head, the cloak and baggy
breeches, the long dagger stuck through the broad sash, the little feet
enclosed in such huge slippers--it was impossible to look at such a
droll figure and refrain from shouts of laughter. But Little Muck did
not permit himself to be disturbed by the merriment his appearance
caused. He stood, leaning proudly on his cane, awaiting his opponent.
The steward, in accordance with Muck's wish, had selected the king's
fastest runner, who now stepped up and placed himself beside the dwarf,
and both awaited the signal to start. Thereupon, Princess Amarza waved
her veil, as had been agreed on, and, like two arrows shot at the same
mark, the two runners flew over the meadow.

Muck's opponent took the lead at the start, but the dwarf chased after
him in his slipper-chariot and soon overtook him, passed him, and
reached the goal long before the other came up, panting for breath.
Wonder and astonishment for some moments held the spectators still; but
when the king clapped his hands, the crowd cheered and shouted: "Long
live Little Muck, the victor in the race!"

Meanwhile, Little Muck had been brought up before the king. He
prostrated himself and said: "Most High and Mighty King, I have given
you here only a small test of my art. Will you now permit my
appointment as one of your runners?" But the king replied: "No; you
shall be my body-messenger, dear Muck, and be retained about my person.
Your wages will be one hundred gold pieces a year, and you shall eat at
the head servants' table."

So Little Muck came to believe that at last he had found the fortune he
had so long been looking for, and in his heart he was cheerful and
content. He also rejoiced in the special favor of the king, who
employed him on his quickest and most secret messages, which the dwarf
executed with accuracy and the most inconceivable speed.

But the other servants of the king did not feel very cordial towards
him, because they found themselves superseded in the favor of
their master by a dwarf, who knew nothing except how to run fast.
They laid many plots to ruin him, but all these came to naught,
because of the implicit confidence that the king placed in his chief
body-messenger--for to this position had Little Muck been advanced.

Muck, who was quite sensible of this feeling against him, never once
thought of revenge, such was his goodness of heart, but tried to hit
upon some plan by which he might become useful to his enemies, and win
their love. He thought of his little stick, which he had neglected
since he had found his fortune, and he reflected that if he were to
find treasures, his companions would be more favorably disposed towards
him. He had often heard that the father of the present king had buried
a great deal of treasure, when his country had been overrun by the
enemy: and it was also said that the old king had died without being
able to reveal the secret to his son. From this time forward Muck
always carried his stick with him, in the hope of sometime passing over
the place where the old king had hidden his money.

One evening he went, by chance, into an outlying part of the palace
gardens, which he seldom visited; when suddenly he felt the stick
twitch in his hand, and it bent three times to the ground. Well did he
know what this betokened. He therefore drew out his poniard, made
some marks on the neighboring trees, and stole back into the castle,
where he provided himself with a spade, and waited until it was dark
enough for his undertaking.

The digging made Little Muck much more trouble than he had
anticipated. His arms were very weak, while his spade was large and
heavy; and he had worked a full two hours before he had dug as many
feet. Finally, he struck something hard, that sounded like iron. He
now dug very fast, and soon brought to light a large iron lid. This
caused him to get down in the hole to find out what the lid might
cover, and he discovered, as he had expected, a large pot filled with
gold pieces. But he had not sufficient strength to raise the pot,
therefore he put into his pockets, his cloak, and his sash, as much as
he wished to carry, covered up the remainder carefully, and took his
load on his back. But if he had not had his slippers on, he would never
have been able to move from the spot, so great was the weight of the
gold. However, he reached his room unnoticed, and secured the gold under
the cushions of his couch.

When Little Muck found himself in possession of such wealth, he
believed that a new leaf would be turned, and he should win many
friends and followers among his enemies: from which reasoning one may
readily perceive that the good Little Muck could not have received a
very good bringing up, or he would never have dreamed of securing true
friends through the medium of money. Alas, that he did not then step
into his slippers, and scamper off with his cloak full of gold!

The gold, which Little Muck from this time forth distributed so
generously, awakened the envy of the other court servants. The chief
cook, Ahuli, said: "He is a counterfeiter!" The steward, Achmet,
declared: "He coaxes it out of the king!" But Archaz, the treasurer,
and Muck's bitterest enemy, who occasionally dipped into the king's
cash box himself, exclaimed decidedly: "He has stolen it!"

In order to make sure of their case, they all acted in concert; and the
head cup-bearer placed himself in the way of the king, one day, looking
very sad and cast-down. So remarkably sad was his countenance, that the
king inquired the cause of his sorrow. "Alas!" replied he, "I am sad
because I have lost the favor of my master." "What fancy is that,
friend Korchuz? Since when have I kept the sun of my favor from
lighting on you?" asked the king. The head cup-bearer replied that the
king had loaded the confidential body-messenger with gold, but had
given nothing to his poor, faithful servants.

The king was very much surprised at this news, and listened to an
account of the liberal gifts of Little Muck, while the conspirators
easily created the suspicion in the royal mind that Muck had by some
means stolen the gold from the treasury. This turn of affairs was very
welcome to the treasurer, who, without it, would not have cared to
render an account of the cash in his keeping. The king, therefore, gave
an order that a secret watch should be kept on every step of Little
Muck, to catch him, if possible, in the act.

On the night following this unlucky day, as Little Muck took his spade
and stole out into the garden, with the intention of replenishing the
heap of gold in his chamber, which his liberality had so wasted, he was
followed at a distance by a guard, led by Ahuli, the cook, and Archaz,
the treasurer, who fell upon him at the very moment when he was
removing the gold from the pot, bound him, and took him straight before
the king. The king, who felt cross enough at having his slumber
disturbed, received his confidential chief body-messenger very
ungraciously, and at once began an examination of the case. The pot had
been dug from the earth, and, together with the spade and the cloak
full of gold, was placed at the king's feet. The treasurer stated that,
with his watchman, he had surprised Muck in the very act of burying
this pot full of gold in the ground.

The king asked the accused if this were true, and where he had got the
gold. Little Muck, conscious of his innocence, replied that he had
discovered it in the garden, and that he was attempting to dig it up,
and not to bury it. All present laughed loudly at his defense, but the
king, extremely enraged at what he believed to be the cool effrontery
of the dwarf, cried: "What, wretch! Do you persist in lying so
shamelessly to your king, after stealing from him? Treasurer Archaz, I
call upon you to say whether you recognize this as the amount of money
that is missing from my treasury?" The treasurer answered that, for his
part, he was sure that this much, and still more, had been missing from
the royal treasury for some time, and he would take his oath that this
was part of the stolen money. The king thereupon commanded that Little
Muck should be put in chains, and thrown into the tower; and handed the
money over to his treasurer to put back into the treasury.

Rejoiced at the fortunate outcome of the affair, the treasurer
withdrew, and counted over the gold pieces at home; but this wicked man
never once noticed, that in the bottom of the pot lay a scrap of paper,
on which was written: "The enemy has over-run my country, and therefore
I bury here a part of my treasure; whoever finds it will receive the
curse of a king if he does not at once deliver it to my son.--_King
Sadi_."

Little Muck, in his prison, was a prey to the most melancholy
reflections. He knew that the penalty for robbery of royal property was
death; and yet he hesitated to reveal to the king the magical powers of
his stick, because he rightly feared that it, and his slippers, would
then be taken away from him. But neither could his slippers give him
any aid in his present condition, for he was chained so closely to the
wall that, try as he might, he could not turn on his heel. But when
notice of death was served on him the following day, he thought better
of the matter, concluding it was wiser to live without the stick, than
to die with it. He, therefore, sent to the king, begging to make a
private communication, and disclosed the secret to him. The king would
not credit his confession; but Little Muck promised a test of the
stick's power, if the king would grant him his life. The king gave him
his word on it, and, unseen by Muck, had some gold buried in the
garden, and then ordered Muck to find it. After a few moments hunt,
Muck's stick struck three times on the ground. This assured the king
that his treasurer had deceived him, and he therefore sent him--as is
customary in the Levant--a silken cord, with which to strangle himself.
But to Little Muck he said: "It is true that I promised to spare your
life, but as I believe that you possess more than one secret in
connection with this stick, you will be imprisoned for life, unless you
confess what connection there is between this stick and your fast
running."

Little Muck, whose experience for a single night in the tower had given
him no desire for a longer imprisonment, acknowledged that his whole
art lay in the slippers; still he did not inform the king about the
three turns on the heel. The king tried on the slippers himself, in
order to test them, and run about the garden like a madman, making many
attempts to stop, but he did not know how to bring the slippers to a
stand-still, and Little Muck, who could not forego this bit of revenge,
let him run around till he fell senseless.

When the king recovered consciousness, he was fearfully enraged at
Little Muck, who had run him out of breath. "I have pledged my word to
give you life and liberty, but if you are within my territory in twelve
hours, I will have you imprisoned!" As for the stick and slippers, he
had them locked up in his treasury.

Poor as at first, Little Muck wandered out into the country, cursing
the folly that had led him to think he could play an important part at
court. The country from which he was driven was fortunately not a large
one, so that in the course of eight hours he had reached the boundary
line; although walking, after having been accustomed to his beloved
slippers, was no pleasant task to him.

As soon as he had crossed the border, he turned off from the highways
in order to reach the most desolate part of the wilderness, where he
might live alone by himself, as he was at enmity with all mankind. In
the dense forest he came across a place that seemed well suited to his
purpose. A clear brook, overgrown by large, shady fig trees, and with
banks of soft velvety turf, looked very inviting. Here he threw himself
down, with the firm resolve not to eat again, but to calmly await
death. While indulging in gloomy reveries, he fell asleep; but when he
waked up, and began to experience the pangs of hunger, he reflected
that starvation was rather an unpleasant thing, and therefore looked
about him to see whether any thing was to be had to eat.

Delicious ripe figs hung on the tree under which he had slept. He
climbed up to pick some, and found them just to his taste; and
afterwards he went down to the brook to slake his thirst. But how great
was his horror, when the brook reflected back his head, adorned with
two prodigious ears, and a long, thick nose! In great perplexity, he
seized the ears in his hands, and truly they were more than half a yard
long.

"I deserve an ass's ears!" cried he, "for like an ass I have trodden my
fortune underfoot." He strolled about under the trees, and when he once
more felt hungry, he again had recourse to the figs, as they were the
only eatable things to be found on the trees. After eating his second
meal of figs, while thinking whether he might not find a place for his
ears under his large turban, so that he would not appear too comical,
he became sensible of the fact that his enormous ears had disappeared.
He rushed down to the brook, and found it actually true; his ears had
resumed their former shape; his long, unshapely nose had vanished. He
now saw how all this had come about; the fruit of the first tree had
presented him with the long nose and ears, while that of the second had
healed him. Joyfully he perceived that his good luck had once more
suggested to him the means of getting satisfaction. He picked from each
tree as much as he could carry, and went back to the country he had so
lately left.

[Illustration]

In the first town he came to, he disguised himself with other clothes,
and went on to the city where the king lived. It was just at the season
when ripe fruits were not very plentiful, and Little Muck placed
himself under the palace gate, knowing from experience that the chief
cook was in the habit of purchasing delicacies here for the king's
table. Muck had not sat there long before he saw the cook coming
through the court, and examining the viands of the marketmen who were
ranged about the gate. Finally his glance fell on Muck's basket. "Ah! a
rare morsel," exclaimed he, "that will please His Majesty mightily;
what will you take for the whole basket?" Little Muck named a moderate
price, and the bargain was quickly made. The cook turned the basket
over to a slave and went on. Little Muck scampered off quickly, as he
was afraid that when the figs had done their work on the heads of the
court people, he might be hunted up and punished as the seller.

The king was in excellent spirits at table, and praised the cook
repeatedly for his successes, and for the solicitude with which he
always sought out the rarest dainties for him; but the cook, knowing
well what delicacy he was holding back, smirked in a satisfied way,
dropping now and then mysterious phrases, such as: "Don't crow till you
are out of the woods;" or "All's well that ends well," so that the
princesses were very curious to know what it was he was about to
produce. But when the beautiful, inviting figs were placed on the
table, an exclamation broke from the lips of all present "How ripe; how
appetizing!" cried the king. "Cook, you are a clever fellow, and
deserve our especial favor!" Thus speaking, the king, who was
accustomed to be rather economical with such delicacies, distributed
the figs around his table with his own hand; each prince and princess
received two, the court ladies and viziers one, while he placed the
rest before himself, and began to devour them with great delight.

"But, mercy on us, father! what makes you look so strange?" exclaimed
Princess Amarza, soon after. Everybody looked at the king in
astonishment. Monstrous ears were attached to his head, and a long nose
hung down over his chin. Then, too, they began to look at one another,
with horror and astonishment. All were more or less decorated with this
singular head-gear.

Fancy the horror experienced by the court! All the physicians in the
city were sent for, and came in great numbers, prescribed pills and
mixtures; but without effect on the ears and noses. An operation was
performed on one of the princes, but the ears grew right out again.

Muck heard the whole story in his hiding-place, and saw that now his
opportunity had come. With the money received from the sale of his
figs, he bought a costume suitable for a professional man, while a long
beard of goat's hair completed his disguise. With a small bag of figs,
he entered the king's palace, and offered his services as a foreign
physician. At first, his representations were scouted; but when Little
Muck restored the ears and nose of one of the princes to their natural
size, by giving him a fig to eat, all were anxious to be cured by this
strange physician. But the king took him by the hand, without speaking,
and conducted him into his own apartment, where he opened a door that
led into his treasury, and beckoned Muck to follow him. "Here is my
treasure," said the king; "choose for yourself, and let it be what it
will, it shall be preserved for you, if you will free me of this
disgraceful evil."

[Illustration]

This was sweet music in Little Muck's ears. No sooner had he entered
than he espied his slippers on the floor, and near them, his stick.
He walked up and down the room, as if wondering at the riches of the
king; but on coming to his slippers he slid into them, seized his
stick, and tore off his false beard, revealing to the astonished king
the well-known features of his exiled Muck. "Faithless King!" said he;
"you, who reward fidelity with ingratitude, may keep as a well-merited
punishment the deformity that you bear. I leave you those ears, that
you may think daily on Little Muck." Thus speaking, the dwarf turned
quickly on his heel, wished himself far away, and before the king could
call for help, Little Muck had flown away.

Since then, Little Muck has lived here in comfort, but without society,
as he disdains mankind. Through experience he has become a wiser man,
who, notwithstanding his external appearance may be unusual, is more
worthy of your admiration than your sport.


Such was the story my father told me. I assured him that I repented of
my rude behavior towards the good little man, and my father
administered the other half of the punishment he had designed for me. I
related to my playmates the wonderful events of the dwarf's life, and
we became so much attached to him that not one of us ever abused him
again. On the contrary, we honored him as long as he lived, and always
bowed as low to him as before the Cadi or Mufti.



The travellers decided to rest for a day at this caravansary, in order
to strengthen themselves and their beasts for the journey still before
them. The gaiety of the day before continued, and they amused
themselves with all kinds of games. After dinner, they called on the
fourth merchant, Ali Sizah, to perform his duty, as the others had
done, by giving them a story. He replied that his own life had been so
barren of incidents, that he could not interest them with any personal
anecdote, but, instead, he would relate to them the legend of "The
False Prince."



                           THE FALSE PRINCE.


There was once a respectable journeyman-tailor, named Labakan, who had
learned his trade of a clever master in Alexandria. It could not be
said that Labakan was unhandy with the needle; on the contrary, he was
able to do very fine work. Neither would one be justified in calling
him lazy; but still every thing was not just as it should be with the
workman, as he often sewed away by the hour at such a rate that the
needle became red-hot in his hands, and the thread fairly smoked, and
would then show a better piece of work than any one else. But, at
another time--and, sad to relate, this occurred more frequently--he
would sit plunged in deep thought, looking before him with a fixed
gaze, and with something so peculiar in his expression and conduct that
his master and the other journeymen were wont to say at such times:
"Labakan is putting on airs again."

But on Fridays, when other people were returning from prayers to their
work, Labakan came out of the mosque in a beautiful costume, which he
had taken great pains to prepare for himself. He walked slowly and with
proud steps through the squares and streets of the city, and whenever
he was greeted by any of his comrades with, "Peace be with you," or,
"How are you, friend Labakan?" he condescendingly waved his hand in
reply, or gave his superior a princely nod. If his master said to him,
"Ah, Labakan, what a prince was lost in you!" he, much flattered, would
respond, "Have you, too, remarked that?" or, "That has been my opinion
for a long time."

[Illustration]

After this manner had the journeyman conducted himself for a long time;
but his master indulged his folly, as otherwise he was a good fellow
and a clever workman. But one day, Selim, the brother of the sultan,
who was then traveling through Alexandria, sent a court costume to the
master, to have certain changes made in it; and the master gave it to
Labakan to make the alterations, as he did the best work. At night,
after the master and his journeymen had gone out to refresh themselves
after their day's work, an irresistible desire impelled Labakan to go
back into the shop where the costume of the sultan's brother hung. He
stood before it, lost in admiration over the splendor of the embroidery
and the various shades of velvet and silk. He could not refrain from
trying it on; and behold, it fitted him as perfectly as though it had
been made for him. "Am I not as good a prince as anybody?" said he to
himself, while striding up and down the room. "Has not the master said
that I was born to be a prince?" With the clothes, the journeyman
seemed to have adopted some quite royal sentiments; he could not banish
from his mind the fancy that he was the unacknowledged son of a king;
and as such, he resolved to travel about the world, leaving a place
where the people had been so foolish as not to recognize his true rank
under the cover of his present low position. The splendid costume
seemed to him sent by a good fairy. He therefore took care not to
slight so welcome a present, pocketed what little ready money he
possessed, and, favored by the darkness of the night, strolled out of
Alexandria's gate.

Wherever he appeared, the new prince created quite a sensation; as the
splendor of his dress and his grave and majestic air were hardly in
keeping with his mode of traveling. When he was questioned on this
subject, he was accustomed to reply, in a mysterious way, that there
were some very good reasons for his traveling afoot. But when he
noticed that he was making himself ridiculous by his foot wanderings,
he invested a small sum in an old horse, which was very well adapted to
his wants, as, by its lack of speed and spirit, he was never forced
into the embarrassing position of showing his skill as a rider--a thing
quite out of his line.

One day, as he walked Murva (such was the name he had given his horse)
along the road, he was overtaken by a horseman who requested permission
to travel with him, as the road would seem much shorter if he could
enjoy Labakan's company. The horseman was a merry young man, of
pleasing appearance and conversation. He began talking with Labakan,
asking where he had come from and where he was going; and it soon
appeared that he, too, like the journeyman-tailor, was traveling about
the world without any definite plan. He said that his name was Omar;
that he was the nephew of Elsi Bey, the unfortunate Pasha of Cairo, and
was traveling in order to execute a charge that his uncle had confided
to him on his death-bed. Labakan was not so communicative about his own
affairs, but gave Omar to understand that he was of high descent, and
was traveling for pleasure.

The two young gentlemen were well pleased with each other, and
continued their journey together. On the second day of their
acquaintance, Labakan inquired of his companion Omar about the trust he
had to execute, and learned to his astonishment that Elsi Bey. Pasha of
Cairo, had brought up Omar from his earliest childhood, and the boy had
never known his parents. Now, when Elsi Bey was attacked by his
enemies, and after three unfortunate battles, was forced to fly from
the field, mortally wounded, he disclosed to his pupil that he was not
his nephew, but the son of a mighty ruler, who, frightened by the
prophecies of his astrologist, had had the young prince removed from
the palace, with the oath not to see him again until the prince should
have reached his twenty-second birthday. Elsi Bey did not give him the
name of his father, but had most particularly charged him that he must
be present at the famous pillar El Serujah, a four days' journey east
of Alexandria, on the fourth day of the coming month of Ramadan, on
which day he would be twenty-two years old. Arriving there, he should
hold out a dagger to the men who would be standing on the column, with
the words: "Here am I whom you seek;" and if they answered, "Praised be
the Prophet, who preserved you," he should follow them, and they would
lead him to his father.

The journeyman-tailor, Labakan, was astonished at this communication.
He looked on Prince Omar, from this time forth, with envious eyes;
exasperated that fate should have selected his companion, who already
passed for the nephew of a powerful pasha, to shower on him the still
higher dignity of a prince's son, while he, Labakan, endowed with all
the qualities of a prince, was degraded by a low birth and a common
occupation. He made comparisons between himself and the prince, and was
forced to confess that the prince was a youth of prepossessing
appearance, with fine sparkling eyes, aquiline nose, a gentle and
obliging manner--in short, all the external marks of a gentleman. But
numerous as were the good traits he noticed in his companion, still, he
whispered to himself, a Labakan would be far more welcome to a princely
father than the real prince.

These reflections occupied Labakan's mind the whole day; and they were
present in his sleep, at their next lodging-place. And when he woke,
and his eye fell on the sleeping Omar at his side--sleeping so quietly,
and dreaming, perhaps, of his happy fortune--the idea came into
Labakan's brain to obtain, through stratagem or force, that which
unwilling fate had denied him. The dagger, the token by which the
home-returning prince was to be recognized, stuck in the sash of the
sleeper. He drew it forth lightly, to plunge it into the sleeping
breast of its owner. But the pacific soul of the tailor shrunk at the
thought of murder. He contented himself with taking possession of the
dagger, ordered Omar's fast horse to be saddled, and before the prince
had awaked, his faithless companion had gained a start of several
miles.

It was the first day of the sacred month of Ramadan when Labakan robbed
the prince; and he had, therefore, four days in which to reach the
pillar of El Serujah, the location of which he well knew. Although the
distance could be easily covered in two days, yet Labakan fearing to be
overtaken by the true prince, made all haste.

At the close of the second day, Labakan saw the column before him. It
stood upon a small hill, in a broad plain, and could be observed at a
distance of eight miles. Labakan's heart beat wildly at the sight.
Although he had had time enough, in the last two days, to think over
the part he was about to play, still his accusing conscience made him
uneasy; but the thought that he had been born to be a prince hardened
him once more, so that he went forward.

The region about the column El Serujah was uninhabited and desolate,
and the new prince would have found himself in sad straights for
sustenance, had he not made provision for a journey of several days. He
went into camp, with his horse, under some palm trees, and awaited
there his fate.

Near the middle of the following day, he saw a large procession of
horses and camels coming over the plain, to the column of El Serujah.
The train stopped at the foot of the hill on which the column stood;
splendid tents were pitched, and the whole had the appearance of a rich
pasha's or sheik's caravan. Labakan suspected that the many people whom
he saw were there on the Prince Omar's account, and he would willingly
have shown them their future ruler then and there; but he controlled
his desire to step forth as a prince, as the following morning would
certainly see his dearest hopes realized.

The morning sun woke the overjoyed tailor to the most important moment
of his life--the moment that should see him lifted from an ignoble
position to the side of a royal father. To be sure, the unlawfulness of
the steps he was taking, occurred to him, as he saddled his horse to
ride to the column; to be sure, he thought of the anguish Prince Omar
would suffer, betrayed in his fair hopes; but the die was cast, and he
could not undo what had already been done, and his vanity whispered to
him that he looked stately enough to be presented to the most powerful
king as a son. Encouraged by such thoughts, he swung himself into his
saddle, mustered all his courage to stand the ordeal of a gallop, and
in less than fifteen minutes he reached the foot of the hill. He
dismounted from his horse and tied it to a bush, and then drew out
Prince Omar's dagger and ascended the hill.

At the foot of the column stood six men around an aged man of kingly
appearance. A splendid kaftan of cloth of gold, with a white cashmere
shawl wound about it, and a white turban ornamented with sparkling
jewels, denoted him to be a man of wealth and rank.

Labakan went up to him, made a low obeisance, and offered him the
dagger, saying: "Here am I whom you seek."

[Illustration]

"Praised be the Prophet, who preserved you!" replied the old man with
tears of joy. "Embrace your old father, my beloved son Omar!" The good
tailor was much moved by these solemn words, and with a mixture of joy
and shame sank into the arms of the aged prince.

But only for an instant was he permitted to enjoy undisturbed the
delight of his new surroundings; for as he arose from the embrace of
the elderly prince, he saw a horseman hastening across the plain
towards the hill. The rider and his horse presented a singular
appearance. The horse, either from stubbornness or exhaustion, could
hardly be urged forward, but moved with a stumbling gait that could be
called neither a walk nor a trot, while his rider was using both hands
and feet to force him to a faster pace. Only too soon Labakan
recognized his horse, Murva, and the genuine Prince Omar; but the
wicked Father of Lies once more took possession of him, and he
determined that, whatever the result might be, he would maintain his
pretended rights with a bold face.

The rider's gestures had been seen while he was still at a distance;
but now, in spite of the feeble trot of his horse, he had arrived at
the foot of the hill, thrown himself from his horse, and rushed up the
hill.

"Stay, there!" cried he, "Stop, whoever you may be, and do not let
yourselves be misled by the shameful impostor! My name is Omar, and no
mortal may dare to assume my name!"

Deep astonishment was expressed in the faces of the bystanders, at the
turn affairs had taken, and the old prince was especially perplexed, as
he looked inquiringly from one to the other. But Labakan said, with
forced composure: "Most gracious Sire and Father, do not allow this
person to mislead you. He is, to my certain knowledge, a crazy tailor
from Alexandria, called Labakan, and more deserving of our pity than
our anger."

These words brought the prince to the verge of madness. Foaming with
rage he attempted to spring on Labakan, but the bystanders interposed,
and held him fast, while the old prince said: "Of a truth, my dear son,
the poor fellow is mad; let him be bound and placed on one of our
dromedaries; perhaps we may be able to render the unfortunate youth
some assistance."

The anger of the prince was past. He threw himself, weeping, at the
feet of his father: "My heart tells me that you are my father; by the
memory of my mother, I charge you to listen to me!"

"Eh, God preserve us!" answered the old man. "He is beginning to talk
strangely again; how does the fellow come by such stupid notions!"

Thereupon he took Labakan's arm, and was conducted down the hill by
him. They both mounted beautiful, richly-caparisoned horses, and rode
at the head of the caravan, over the plain. The hands of the prince
were bound, and he was tied fast on one of the dromedaries, while two
horsemen rode on each side, and kept a careful watch on all his
movements.

The elderly prince was Saaud, Sultan of Wechabiten. He had lived for
years without children, until finally a son, whom he had so ardently
desired, was born to him. But the astrologer of whom he inquired the
destiny of the boy, gave the opinion that "until his twenty-second
year the child would be in danger of being supplanted by an enemy,"
therefore to be on the safe side, the sultan had given the prince
to his tried and true friend, Elsi Bey, to be brought up, and for
twenty-two painful years had waited for his home-coming.

All this the sultan told his pretended son, and expressed himself as
well pleased with his figure and demeanor.

On arriving in the sultan's country they were everywhere received by
the inhabitants with acclamations, as the report of the prince's
arrival had spread like wildfire to all the cities and villages. Arches
covered with flowers and boughs were constructed in all the streets
through which they passed, brilliant carpets of all colors adorned the
houses, and the people praised God and His Prophets for sending them so
beautiful a prince. All this filled the heart of the tailor with
delight; but all the more unhappy did the real Omar feel, who, still
bound, followed the caravan in silent despair. In the universal joy
nobody troubled themselves about him who should have been the recipient
of their welcome. Thousands upon thousands shouted the name of Omar,
but he who rightly bore this name was noticed not at all. At the most,
one and another would ask who it was that was bound so securely; and
the reply of his escort, that it was a crazy tailor, echoed horribly in
his ears.

The caravan at last reached the capital of the sultan, where a still
more brilliant reception was awaiting them. The sultana, an elderly,
venerable lady, awaited them with the entire court, in the splendid
hall of the palace. The floor of this salon was covered with an immense
carpet, the walls were tastefully adorned with a light-blue cloth, hung
from great silver hooks with golden tassels and cords.

It was already night when the caravan arrived; therefore numerous round
colored lamps were lighted in the salon, making it light as day. But
the most lights were placed at the farther end of the salon, where the
sultana sat upon a throne. The throne stood upon a dais, and was inlaid
with pure gold, and set with large amethysts. Four of the most
distinguished emirs held a canopy over the sultana's head, while the
Sheik of Medina fanned her with a fan of peacock's feathers.

Under these surroundings, the sultana awaited her husband and her son.
She had not seen her son since his birth, but the longed-for son had
appeared in her dreams, so that she felt sure of knowing him amongst a
thousand. Now the noise of the approaching caravan was heard, trumpets
and drums mingled with the cheers of the crowd; the hoofs of the horses
beat in the court of the palace; nearer and nearer sounded the steps of
the expected ones; the doors of the salon flew open, and through the
rows of prostrate servants, the sultan hastened to the throne of the
sultana, leading his son by the hand.

"Here," said he, "I bring you the one for whom you have so long
yearned."

But the sultana interrupted him with: "That is not my son! Those are
not the features that the Prophet showed me in my dreams!"

Just as the sultan was about to upbraid her for her unbelief, the door
of the salon opened, and Prince Omar rushed in, followed by his guards,
from whom he had escaped by the exercise of all his strength. He threw
himself breathless before the throne with the words:

"Here will I die! Let me be killed, inhuman father, for I can no longer
endure this disgrace."

Everyone was amazed at this speech; they crowded about the unfortunate
youth, and the guards, from whom he had escaped, were about to lay hold
of him and bind him again, when the sultana, who had looked on all this
in speechless surprise, sprang up from the throne.

"Stay, there!" cried she; "this and no other is the real prince; this
is he whom my eyes have never beheld, and yet my heart has known!"

The guard had involuntarily released Omar, but the sultan, burning with
anger, called to them to bind the crazy fellow. "It is my business to
decide here," said he, in a commanding tone, "and here one does not
judge by the dreams of old women, but by certain reliable signs. This
youth (pointing to Labakan) is my son, for he brought me the dagger,
the true token of my friend Elsi."

"He stole the dagger!" exclaimed Omar. "He abused my unsuspecting
confidence with treachery!" But the sultan, accustomed to have his own
way in every thing, would not listen to the voice of his son, and had
the unhappy Omar forcibly dragged from the room. Then, accompanied by
Labakan, he went to his own room, very angry with the sultana, with
whom he had lived in peace for twenty-five years.

The sultana was very unhappy over these events. She was perfectly well
satisfied that an impostor had taken possession of the sultan's heart,
as the unfortunate youth who had been dragged away, had often appeared
in her dreams as her son.

When she had in a measure quieted her sorrow, she tried to hit upon
some method of convincing the sultan of his error. This was no easy
task, as he who had usurped their son's place, had brought the token of
recognition, the dagger, and had also, as she discovered, learned so
much about Omar's early life from the prince himself, that he played
his _role_ without betraying himself.

She summoned the men who had accompanied the sultan to the pillar of El
Serujah, in order to learn all the particulars, and then held a
consultation with her most trustworthy slave-women. They chose and then
rejected this and that expedient. At last Melechsalah, a wise old
woman, said: "If I have heard rightly, honored mistress, the one who
brought the dagger, called him whom you recognize as your son, Labakan,
a crazy tailor."

"Yes, that is true," answered the sultana; "but what can you make out
of that?"

"Suppose," continued the slave, "that this impostor had fastened his
own name on your son? And if this supposition is correct, there is a
fine way of catching the impostor, that I will tell to you as a
secret."

The sultana bent her head, and the slave whispered in her ear some
expedient that seemed to please the sultana, as she prepared to go at
once to the sultan.

The sultana was a prudent woman, who knew the weak sides of the sultan
and how to make use of them. She therefore appeared willing to submit
to his judgment, and to recognize the son he had chosen; asking in
return but one condition. The sultan, who was sorry for the anger he
had shown his wife, granted her request, and she said: "I should dearly
like to receive from both of these claimants a test of their
cleverness. Another person might very likely have them ride, fight, or
throw spears; but these are things that everybody can do, and I will
give them something that will require ingenuity to accomplish. Each one
shall make a kaftan, and a pair of trousers, and then we shall see who
will make the finest."

The sultan laughed, and said: "Well, you have devised something
extremely wise! The idea that my son should compete with your crazy
tailor at coat-making? No, it won't do."

The sultana, however, insisted that he was bound by the promise he had
made her in advance; and the sultan, who was a man of his word, finally
consented, although he swore that let the crazy tailor make his coat
ever so fine, he would never admit him to be his son.

The sultan went in person to his son, and requested him to humor the
caprice of his mother, who very much wished for a kaftan made by his
hands. Labakan was greatly pleased. If that is all that is wanted,
thought he to himself, then madame the sultana will soon have cause to
be proud of me.

Two rooms were prepared, one for the prince, the other for the tailor,
where they were to try their skill; and they were liberally provided
with silk cloth, scissors, needles and thread.

The sultan was very curious to see what sort of a thing his son would
bring to light for a kaftan; while the sultana was very nervous lest
her stratagem should fail. Two days had been given to them in which to
accomplish their task. On the morning of the third day, the sultan sent
for his wife, and when she had come, he sent into the two rooms for the
two kaftans and their makers.

Labakan entered triumphantly, and spread his kaftan before the
astonished eyes of the sultan. "Look here, father!" said he, "see,
honored mother, whether this is not a master-piece of a kaftan? I would
be willing to lay a wager with the cleverest court tailor that he could
not produce such an one as that."

The sultana smiled, and turned to Omar: "And what have you produced, my
son?" Impatiently he threw down the silk, cloth and scissors on the
floor. "I was brought up to break horses, and to the use of a sword,
and my spear will hit the mark at sixty paces; but the science of the
needle is strange to me, and would have been an unworthy study for a
pupil of Elsi Bey, the ruler of Cairo!"

"O thou true son of my heart!" exclaimed the sultana. "Now, I can
embrace thee, and call thee son! Pardon me, my Husband and Lord,"
continued she, turning to the sultan, "that I have plotted this
stratagem against you. Do you not now see which is the prince, and
which the tailor? Truly, the kaftan that your son has made is superb,
and I should like to ask him of what master he learned his trade."

The sultan sat in deep thought, glancing suspiciously now at his wife
and now at Labakan, who vainly tried to control his blushes and his
discomfiture at having so stupidly betrayed himself.

"Even this proof will not suffice," said the sultan. "But praised be
Allah, I know of a means of finding out whether I have been deceived or
not."

He ordered his fastest horse to be led out, swung himself into the
saddle, and rode into a forest near by, where lived, according to an
old legend, a kind fairy named Adolzaide, who had often stood by the
kings of his race with her counsel in the hour of need.

In the middle of the forest was an open place surrounded by tall
cedars. There lived--so the story ran--the fairy, and it was seldom
that a mortal ventured there, as a certain aversion to the spot had for
ages descended from father to son.

Arriving there, the sultan dismounted, tied his horse to a tree, placed
himself in the centre of the opening, and called out in a loud voice:
"If it be true that you have given my ancestors good advice in the hour
of need, then do not spurn the prayer of their grandson, and give me
advice on a point for which human understanding is too frail."

He had hardly spoken the last word, when one of the cedars opened, and
a veiled lady, in long white garments, stepped forth. "I know why you
come to me, Sultan Saaud. Your purpose is just; therefore, you shall
have my assistance. Take these two little boxes. Let each of the young
men who claim to be your son choose between these. I know that the true
prince will not fail to pick out the right one." Thus spake the fairy,
at the same time handing him two little ivory boxes richly set with
gold and pearls. On the lid, which the sultan vainly tried to open,
were inscriptions in diamond letters.

The sultan tried to think as he rode home what these little boxes might
contain; but all his efforts to open them failed. Nor did the
inscriptions throw any light on the matter, for one read--_Honor and
Fame_; the other--_Fortune and Riches_. The sultan thought to himself
that he would have great difficulty in making a choice between these
two things, that were alike desirable, alike alluring.

On arriving at his palace, he sent for the sultana, and told her of the
verdict of the fairy. A strange hope assured the sultana that he to
whom her heart drew her would choose the box that should make plain his
royal descent.

Two tables were placed before the throne of the sultan, upon which the
king placed the boxes with his own hand. He then ascended the throne,
and beckoned one of his slaves to open the doors of the salon. A
brilliant assembly of pashas and emirs of the realm, whom the sultan
had summoned, streamed through the opened doors. They took their places
on splendid cushions that were ranged lengthwise along the wall.

When they were all seated, the sultan beckoned a second time, and
Labakan was brought forward. With a proud step he walked up the hall,
prostrated himself before the throne, and said: "What are the commands
of my Lord and Father?"

The sultan rose from his throne, and said: "My son, doubts have been
raised as to the justness of your claim to this name; one of those
little boxes contains the proof of your real parentage. Choose; I do
not doubt that you will select the right one."

Labakan arose and stepped up to the tables, hesitated for some time as
to which he should choose, but finally said: "Honored Father! What can
be higher than the fortune to be your son? what nobler than the riches
of thy grace? I choose the box with the inscription--_Fortune and
Riches_."

"We shall presently know whether you have chosen the right one; in the
meantime sit down on the cushion by the side of the Pasha of Medina,"
said the sultan, and motioned to a slave.

Omar was brought forward. His look was gloomy, his air sad, and his
appearance created universal interest among those present. He
prostrated himself before the throne, and inquired after the commands
of the sultan. The sultan signified to him that he was to choose one of
the little boxes. Omar arose and approached the tables.

He read attentively both inscriptions, and then said: "The last few
days have taught me how fickle is fortune, how unstable are riches; but
they have also learned me that an indestructible gift dwells in the
breast of Honor, and that the shining star of Fame does not vanish with
fortune. And though I should renounce a crown, the die is cast: _Honor
and Fame_, I choose you!"

He placed his hand on the box he had chosen; but the sultan ordered him
to wait a moment, and beckoned Labakan to come forward, and lay his
hand on his box also. Then the sultan had a basin of water, of the holy
fountain of Zemzem in Mecca, brought, washed his hands for prayer,
turned his face to the East, prostrated himself and prayed: "God of my
fathers! Thou who for centuries hast preserved our race pure and
uncontaminated, do not permit that an unworthy one should bring to
shame the name of the Abasside; be near my true son with Thy
protection, in this hour of trial!"

The sultan arose, and once more ascended his throne. Universal
expectancy held those present in breathless attention; one could have
heard a mouse run over the floor, so still were they all. Those
farthest away stretched their necks to look over the heads of those in
front, that they might see the little boxes. Then the sultan spoke:
"Open the boxes!" and although no force could have opened them before,
they now flew open of themselves.

In the box chosen by Omar lay, on a velvet cushion, a small golden
crown, and a sceptre; in Labakan's box--a large needle and a little
package of thread! The sultan ordered them to bring their boxes to him.
He took the miniature crown in his hand, and wonderful was it to see
how, as he took it, it began to grow larger and larger until it had
attained the size of a genuine crown. He placed the crown on the head
of Omar, who knelt before him, kissed him on the forehead, and bade him
sit at his right hand. Then turning to Labakan, he said: "There is an
old proverb that the shoemaker should stick to his last. It looks as if
you should stick to the needle. To be sure, you do not deserve my
pardon; but some one has interceded for you, to whom I can refuse
nothing to-day; therefore I spare you your miserable life. But, to give
you some good advice--you had better make haste to get out of my
kingdom."

Ashamed, ruined as were all his pretensions, the poor journeyman-tailor
could not reply. He threw himself at the feet of the prince, in tears.
"Can you forgive me, Prince?" said he.

"Loyalty to a friend, magnanimity to a foe, is the boast of the
Abasside," replied the prince, as he raised him up. "Go in peace!"

"Oh, my true son!" cried the aged sultan, with deep emotion, and sank
on the breast of Omar. The emirs and pashas, and all the nobility of
the kingdom, rose from their seats, and cried: "Hail to the new son of
the king!" and amidst the universal joy, Labakan stole out of the room
with the little box under his arm.

He went below to the stables of the sultan, saddled his horse, Murva,
and rode out of the gate of the city towards Alexandria. His life as a
prince appeared to him as a dream, and the splendid little box, set
with pearls and diamonds, was the only thing left to remind him that he
had not dreamed.

[Illustration]

When he at length reached Alexandria, he rode up to the house of his
old master, dismounted, tied his horse near the door, and entered the
workshop. The master, not knowing him at first, made an obeisance, and
asked him what might be his pleasure But on taking a closer look, and
recognizing Labakan, he called to his journeymen and apprentices, and
they all rushed angrily at the poor Labakan, who was not expecting such
a reception, kicked and beat him with their irons and yard sticks,
pricked him with needles, and nipped him with sharp shears, until,
utterly exhausted, he sank down on a heap of old clothes.

While he lay there, the master gave him a lecture on the clothes he had
stolen. In vain did Labakan assure him that he had come back in order
to make restitution; all in vain did he offer him three-fold indemnity;
the master and his men fell upon him again, beat him black and blue,
and threw him out of the door. Torn and bruised, Labakan crawled on his
horse and rode to a caravansary. Then he laid his tired and aching head
on a pillow, and reflected on the sorrows of earth, on unappreciated
merit, and on the vanity and fickleness of riches. He fell asleep with
the resolution to forswear all greatness, and become a respectable
citizen.

The succeeding day found him still steadfast in his purpose, as the
heavy hands of the master and his men seemed to have beaten all his
grand notions out of him. He sold his little box to a jeweler for a
high price, bought a house with the proceeds, and fitted up a workshop
for his trade. When he had every thing arranged, and had also hung out
a sign before his window with the inscription, "_Labakan_, _Tailor_,"
he sat down, and with the needle and thread he had found in the little
box, began to mend his coat that had been so badly torn by his old
master. He was called away from his work, and when he returned to take
it up again, what a singular sight met his eyes! The needle was sewing
busily away without any one to guide it, making such fine, delicate
stitches, as even Labakan in his most artistic moments could not have
equaled!

Surely even the commonest gift of a kind fairy is useful and of great
value. Still another value was possessed by this present, namely: the
ball of the thread was never exhausted, let the needle sew as fast as
it would.

Labakan obtained many customers, and was soon the most famous tailor in
all that region. He would cut out the clothes, and make the first
stitch with the needle, and the needle would then instantly go on with
the work, never pausing until the garment was done. Master Labakan soon
had the whole town for customers, as his work was first-class, and his
prices low; and only over one thing did the people of Alexandria shake
their heads, namely: that he worked without journeymen, and with locked
doors.

Thus did the saying of the little box, promising _Fortune and Riches_,
come to pass. Fortune and riches, even though in moderate measure,
attended the steps of the good tailor; and when he heard of the fame of
the young sultan, Omar, that was on all lips; when he heard that this
brave man was the pride and love of his people, and the terror of his
enemies--then the false prince thought to himself: "It is after all
better that I remained a tailor, for the quest of honor and fame is
rather a dangerous business."

Thus lived Labakan, contented with his lot, respected by his
fellow-citizens; and if the needle in the meanwhile has not lost its
virtue, it still sews on with the endless thread of the kind fairy,
Adolzaide.



At sunset the caravan started on, and soon reached Birket-el-Had, or
Pilgrim's Fountain; from which it was only a three hours' journey to
Cairo. The caravan was expected about this time, and therefore the
merchants soon had the pleasure of seeing their friends coming
from Cairo to meet them. They entered the city through the gate
Bab-el-Falch, as it is considered a happy omen for those who come from
Mecca to pass through this gate, as the Prophet went out of it.

On the market-place the three Turkish merchants took leave of the
stranger Selim Baruch, and the Greek merchant Zaleukos, and went home
with their friends. But Zaleukos showed the stranger a good
caravansary, and invited him to take dinner with him. The stranger
accepted the invitation, and promised to come as soon as he had made
some changes in his dress.

The Greek made every preparation to entertain his guest, for whom he
had acquired a strong liking on the journey; and when the dishes were
all arranged in order, he sat down to await the coming of his guest.

At last he heard slow and heavy steps in the hall that led to his room.
He arose to go and meet him and welcome him on the threshold; but no
sooner had he opened the door, than he stepped back horrified, for that
terrible man with the red mantle stepped towards him! He looked at him
again; there was no illusion; the same tall, commanding figure, the
mask through which the dark eyes shone, the red mantle with the gold
embroidery, were only too closely associated with the most terrible
hours of his life.

Conflicting emotions surged in Zaleukos's breast. He had long since
become reconciled to this picture of memory, and had forgiven him who
had injured him; yet the appearance of the man himself opened all his
wounds afresh; all those painful hours when he had suffered almost the
pangs of death,--the remorse that had poisoned his young life,--all
this swept over his soul in the flight of a moment.

"What do you want, monster?" exclaimed the Greek, as the apparition
stood motionless on the threshold. "Vanish quickly, before I curse
you!"

"Zaleukos!" spoke a well-known voice, from beneath the mask, "Zaleukos!
is it thus you receive your guest?" The speaker removed the mask, and
threw the mantle back; it was Selim Baruch, the stranger.

But Zaleukos was not yet quieted. He shuddered at the stranger, for
only too plainly had he recognized the unknown man of the Ponte
Vecchio. But the old habit of hospitality prevailed; he silently
beckoned to the stranger to take a seat at the table.

"I perceive your thoughts," said the stranger, after they were seated.
"Your eyes look inquiringly at me. I could have remained silent, and
never more appeared to your vision; but I owe you an explanation, and
therefore I ventured to appear to you in my old form, knowing that I
run the risk of your cursing me. But you once told me: _The religion of
my fathers commands me to love him, and then he must be more unhappy
than I._ Believe that, my friend, and listen to my vindication.

"I must begin far back, in order to make my story quite clear. I was
born in Alexandria, of Christian parents. My father was the French
consul there, and was the younger son of a famous old French family.
From my tenth year up, I was under the care of my uncle, in France, and
left my fatherland some years after the breaking out of the Revolution,
with my uncle, who no longer felt safe in the land of his ancestors, in
order to find a refuge with my parents across the sea. We landed in
Alexandria, hopeful of finding in my parents' home that quiet and peace
that no longer obtained in France. The outside storms of this excitable
period had not, it is true, extended to this point, but from an
unexpected quarter came the blow that crushed our family to the ground.
My brother, a young man full of promise, and private secretary to my
father, had but recently married the daughter of a Florentine nobleman
who lived in my father's neighborhood. Two days before our arrival, my
brother's bride disappeared; and neither our family, nor yet her
father, could discover the slightest trace of her. We finally came to
the conclusion that she had ventured too far away for a walk, and had
fallen into the hands of brigands. This belief would have been a
consolation to my brother, in comparison with the truth that was only
too soon made known to us. The faithless woman had eloped with a young
Neapolitan, whom she had been in the habit of meeting at her father's
house. My brother, terribly excited by this act, used his utmost
endeavors to bring the guilty one to account; but in vain. His attempts
in this direction, which had aroused attention in Florence and Naples,
only served to bring down misfortune on us all. The Florentine nobleman
returned to his country under the pretext of assisting my brother, but
with the real design of destroying us all. He put an end to all the
investigations instituted by my brother in Florence, and used his
influence so effectually that my father and brother fell under the
suspicion of their government, were imprisoned in the most outrageous
manner, and taken to France, where they were guillotined. My mother
went crazy, and only after ten long months did death release her from
her terrible condition. But she recovered her sanity a few days before
her death. I was thus left all alone in the world, but only one thought
occupied my soul, only one thought overshadowed my grief: it was the
powerful flame of revenge that my mother kindled in my breast during
the last hours of her life.

"As I have said, she recovered her senses towards the last. She called
me to her side and spoke quietly of our fate and of her approaching
death. Then she sent everybody out of the room, raised herself with a
spirited air from her poor couch, and said that I could win her
blessing if I would swear to carry out what she should confide to me.
Influenced by the dying words of my mother, I bound myself with an oath
to do her bidding. She broke out in imprecations against the Florentine
and his daughter, and required me, under the penalty of incurring her
curse, to revenge our unfortunate family on him. She died in my arms.
The thought of revenge had long slumbered in my soul; now it was
aroused to action. I collected the balance of my patrimony, and
resolved to risk every thing on my revenge.

"I was soon in Florence, where I kept as quiet as possible. The
difficulty of executing my plan was much increased by the situation in
which I found my enemy. The old Florentine had become Governor, and had
the power, should he have the least suspicion of my presence, to
destroy me. An incident occurred just then that was of great assistance
to me. One evening I saw a man passing along the street, in a familiar
livery. His unsteady gait, sullen look, and manner of muttering _Santo
Sacramento_ and _Maledetto diavolo_, assured me that it was Pietro, a
servant of the Florentine's, whom I had known in Alexandria. I had no
doubt that it was his master whom he was cursing, and I therefore
determined to make use of his present frame of mind for my own benefit.
He seemed very much surprised to see me in Florence, and complained to
me that since his master had become Governor he could do nothing to
suit him; so that my gold, together with his anger, brought him over to
my side. The most difficult part of my plan had now been provided for.
I had in my pay a man who could open the door of my enemy to me at any
hour, and now my revenge seemed near its accomplishment. The life of
the old Florentine seemed to me of too little account to offset the
destruction of our family: he must lose the idol of his heart, his
daughter Bianca. Was it not she who treated my brother so shamefully?
Was it not she who was the chief cause of our misfortunes? The news
that she was about to be married a second time was very welcome to my
revengeful heart. This would but heighten the vengeance of my blow. It
was settled in my mind that she _must_ die. But I myself shrank from
the deed, and I did not credit Pietro with nerve enough; so we looked
about for a man who could accomplish the work. I did not dare approach
any of the Florentines, as none of them would have dared to undertake
such a thing against the Governor. It was then that the scheme I
afterward carried out, occurred to Pietro, who at the same time pitched
upon you, a stranger and physician, as being the most suitable person
to do the deed. The rest of the story you know. The only danger to the
success of my scheme lay in your sagacity and honesty; hence the affair
with the mantle.

"Pietro opened the side gate of the Governor's palace for us, and would
have shown us out as secretly, had not he and I fled, horrified by the
terrible sight we saw through a crack in the door. Pursued by terror
and remorse, I ran some two hundred paces, and sank down on the steps
of a church. There I collected my thoughts, and my first one was of you
and your fate, should you be found in the house. I stole to the palace,
but could find no trace of either you or Pietro. The side gate was
open, so I could at least hope that you had taken advantage of the
opportunity to flee. But when the day broke, fear of discovery and a
sensation of remorse drove me from Florence. I hastened to Rome. But
imagine my consternation when, in the course of a few days, this story
reached Rome, with the additional report that the murderer, a Greek
physician, had been captured! I returned to Florence with sad
apprehensions, for, if my revenge had before seemed too strong, I
cursed it now, as it would have been purchased too dearly with your
life. I arrived in Florence on the day you lost your hand. I will be
silent over what I felt as I saw you ascend the scaffold and suffer so
heroically. But as your blood streamed out, I made the resolve to see
that the rest of your life should be passed in comfort. What happened
afterwards, you know. It only remains for me to tell why I made this
journey across the desert with you. Like a heavy burden the thought
pressed on me that you had not yet forgiven me; therefore I resolved to
pass some days, with you, and at last give you an account of the
motives that had influenced my action."

The Greek had listened silently to his guest, and when he had finished,
with a gentle expression he offered him his hand. "I knew well that you
must be more unhappy than I, for that cruel deed, like a black cloud,
will forever darken your life. As for myself, I forgive you from my
heart. But permit me one more question: How did you happen to be in the
desert in your present character? What did you do after buying me the
house in Constantinople?"

"I went back to Alexandria. Hatred of all human kind raged in my
breast, but especially hatred of those nations which are called
civilized. Believe me, I was better pleased with my Moslems. I had been
in Alexandria only a few months, when it was invaded by my countrymen.
I saw in them only the executioners of my father and brother; therefore
I gathered some young people of my acquaintance, who entertained
similar views, and joined the brave Mameluke, who became the terror of
the French army. When the campaign was ended, I could not bring myself
to return to the arts of peace. With a few friends of similar
tendencies, I lived an unsettled fugitive life, devoted to battle and
the chase. I live contentedly with these people, who honor me as their
prince; for if my Asiatics are not so civilized as your Europeans, yet
envy and slander, selfishness and ambition are not their
characteristics."

Zaleukos thanked the stranger for his communication, but he did not
hide from him his opinion that it would be far better for one of his
rank and culture, were he to live and work in Christian and European
countries. He took the stranger's hand, and invited him to go with him,
and to live and die with him.

Zaleukos's guest was deeply moved. "From this I know," said he, "that
you have entirely forgiven me, that you even love me. Receive my
heartfelt thanks."

He sprang up, and stood in all his majesty before the Greek, who shrank
back at the warlike appearance, the dark glistening eyes, the deep
mysterious voice of his guest. "Your proposal is good," continued he;
"any other person might be persuaded; I can not accept it! My horse is
saddled, my followers await me: farewell, Zaleukos!"

The friends whom destiny had so strangely united, embraced each other
before parting.

"And what shall I call you? What is the name of my guest and friend who
will live forever in my memory?" asked the Greek.

The stranger gave him a parting look, pressed his hand once more, and
replied: "They call me the ruler of the desert; I am _the Robber
Orbasan_."



                                PART II

                           *   *   *   *   *

                           TALES OF THE INN.



                        THE INN IN THE SPESSART.


Many years ago, while yet the roads in the Spessart were in poor
condition and but little traveled, two young journeymen were making
their way through this wooded region. The one might have been about
eighteen years old, and was by trade a compass-maker; the other was a
goldsmith, and, judging from his appearance, could not have been more
than sixteen, and was most likely making his first journey out into the
world.

Evening was coming on, and the shadows of the giant pines and
beeches darkened the narrow road on which the two were walking. The
compass-maker stepped bravely forward, whistling a tune, playing
occasionally with Munter, his dog, and not seeming to feel much concern
that the night was near, while the next inn for journeymen was still
far ahead of them. But Felix, the goldsmith, began to look about him
anxiously. When the wind rustled through the trees, it sounded to him
as if there were steps behind him; when the bushes on either side of
the road were stirred, he was sure he caught glimpses of lurking faces.

The young goldsmith was, moreover, neither superstitious nor lacking in
courage. In Wuerzburg, where he had learned his trade, he passed among
his fellows for a fearless youth, whose heart was in the right spot;
but on this day his courage was at a singularly low ebb. He had been
told so many things about the Spessart. A large band of robbers were
reported as committing depredations there; many travellers had been
robbed within a few weeks, and a horrible murder was spoken of as
having occurred here not long before. Therefore he felt no little
alarm, as they were but two in number and could not successfully
resist armed robbers. How often he regretted that he had not stopped
over-night at the edge of the forest, instead of agreeing to accompany
the compass-maker to the next station!

"And if I am killed to-night, and lose all I have with me, you will be
to blame, compass-maker, for you persuaded me to come into this
terrible forest," said he.

"Don't be a coward," retorted the other. "A real journeyman should
never be afraid. And what is it you are afraid of? Do you think that
the lordly robbers of the Spessart would do us the honor to attack and
kill us? Why should they give themselves that trouble? To gain
possession of the Sunday-coat in my knapsack, or the spare pennies
given us by the people on our route? One would have to travel in a
coach-and-four, dressed in gold and silks, before the robbers would
think it worth their while to kill one."

"Stop! Didn't you hear somebody whistle in the woods?" exclaimed Felix,
nervously.

"That was the wind whistling through the trees. Walk faster, and we
shall soon be out of the wood."

"Yes, it's all well enough for you to talk that way about not being
killed," continued the goldsmith; "they would simply ask you what you
had, search you, and take away your Sunday-coat and your change. But
they would kill me because I carry gold and jewelry with me."

"Why should they kill you on that account? If four or five were to
spring out of the bush there now with loaded rifles pointed at us, and
politely inquire, 'Gentlemen, what have you with you?' or 'If
agreeable, we will help you carry it,' or some such elegant mode of
address, then you wouldn't make a fool of yourself, but would open your
knapsack and lay the yellow waist-coat, the blue coat, two shirts, and
all your necklaces, bracelets, combs, and whatever you had besides,
politely on the ground, and be thankful for the life they spared you."

"You think so, do you?" responded Felix warmly. "You think I would give
up the ornament I have here for my godmother, the dear lady countess?
Sooner would I part with my life! Sooner would I be hacked into small
pieces. Did she not take a mother's interest in me, and since my tenth
year bind me out as apprentice? Has she not paid for my clothes and
every thing? And now, when I am about to go to her, to carry her
something of my own handiwork that she had ordered of the master; now,
that I am able to give her this ornament as a sample of what I have
learned; now you think I would give that up, and my yellow waistcoat as
well, that she gave me? No, better death than to give to these base men
the ornament intended for my godmother!"

"Don't be a fool!" exclaimed the compass-maker. "If they were to kill
you, the countess would still lose the ornament; so it would be much
better for you to deliver it up and keep your life."

Felix did not answer. Night had settled down, and by the uncertain
gleam of the new moon he could not see more than five feet before him.
He became more and more nervous, kept close by the side of his
companion, and was uncertain whether he ought to approve of the
arguments of his friend or not. Thus they continued on, side by side
for another hour, when they saw a light in the distance. The young
goldsmith was of opinion that they should not prematurely rejoice, as
the light might come from a den of thieves; but the compass-maker
informed him the robbers had their houses or caves under ground, and
that this must be the inn that a man had told them of, as they entered
the forest.

It was a long, low house, before which a wagon stood; and adjoining
the house was a stable from which came the neighing of horses. The
compass-maker beckoned his comrade to a window whose shutters were
open; and by standing on their toes they were able to look into the
room. In a chair before the stove slept a man whose clothes bespoke him
a wagoner--very likely the owner of the cart before the door. On the
other side of the stove sat a woman and a girl, spinning. Behind the
table, close to the wall, sat a man with a glass of wine before him.
His head was supported in his hands so that his face could not be seen.
But the compass-maker judged from his clothes that he was a man of
rank. While they were peeping, a dog in the house began to bark;
Munter, the compass-maker's dog, barked a reply; and a servant-girl
appeared at the door and looked out at the strangers.

They were promised supper and a bed; so they entered, and laying their
heavy bundles, sticks, and hats in the corner, sat down at the table
with the gentleman. He looked up at their greeting, and they perceived
him to be a handsome young man, who returned their greeting pleasantly.

"You are late on the road," said he; "were you not afraid to travel
through the Spessart on so dark a night? For my part, I would have
stabled my horse in this tavern before I would have ridden an hour
longer."

"You are quite right in that, sir," responded the compass-maker. "The
hoof beats of a fine horse are music in the ears of these highwaymen,
and lure them from a great distance; but when a couple of poor
journeymen like us steal through the woods--people to whom the robbers
would sooner think of making a present than of taking any thing from
them--then, they do not lift a foot."

"That is very likely," chimed in the wagoner, who, awakened by the
arrival of the journeymen, had taken a seat at the table. "They could
not very well be attracted by a poor man's purse, but there have been
instances of robbers killing poor people, simply out of thirst for
blood, and of forcing others to join the band and serve as robbers."

"Well, if such are the deeds of these people in the forest, then this
house will not afford us very good protection," observed the young
goldsmith. "There are only four of us, or, counting the hostler, five;
and if ten men were to attack us here, what could we do against them?
And more than this," he added, in a low tone, "who can guarantee that
the people of this inn are honest?"

"Nothing to fear there," returned the wagoner. "I have known this
tavern for more than ten years, and have never seen any thing wrong
about it. The master of the house is seldom at home; they say he
carries on a wine trade; but his wife is a quiet woman who would not
harm any one. No, you do them a wrong, sir."

"And yet," interposed the young gentleman, "I should not like to brush
aside so lightly what he said. Don't you remember the reports about
those people who suddenly disappeared in this forest and left no trace
behind them? Several of them had previously announced their intention
of passing the night at this inn; and as two or three weeks passed by
without their being heard from, they were searched for, and inquiries
made at this inn, when they were assured that the missing men had never
been here. It looks suspicious, to say the least."

"God knows," cried the compass-maker, "we should do a much more
sensible thing if we were to camp out under the next best tree we came
to, than to remain within these four walls, where there is no chance of
running away when they are once at the door, for the windows are
grated."

All grew very thoughtful over these speeches. It did not seem so very
improbable, after all, that these tavern people in the forest, be it
under compulsion or of their free accord, were in league with the
robbers. The nighttime seemed particularly dangerous to them, for they
had all heard many stories of travellers who had been attacked and
murdered in their sleep; and even if their lives were not endangered,
yet most of the guests of the inn were possessed of such moderate means
that the robbery of even a part of their property would have: been a
very serious loss to them. They looked dolefully into their glasses.
The young gentleman wished himself on the back of his horse, trotting
through a safe open valley. The compass-maker wished for twelve of his
sturdy comrades, armed with clubs, for a body-guard. Felix, the
goldsmith, was more anxious for the safety of the ornament designed for
his benefactress, than for his own life. But the wagoner, who had been
blowing clouds of smoke before him, said softly: "Gentlemen, at least
they shall not surprise us asleep. I, for my part, will remain awake
the whole night, if one other will keep watch with me."

"I will"--"I too," cried the three others. "And I could not go to
sleep," added the young gentleman.

"Well we had better contrive some means of keeping awake," said the
wagoner. "I think while we number just four people, we might play
cards, that would keep us awake and while away the time."

"I never play cards," said the young gentleman, "therefore you would
have to count me out."

"Nor do I know any thing about cards," added Felix.

"What can we do, then, if we don't play cards," asked the
compass-maker. "Sing? That wouldn't do, for it would only attract the
attention of the robbers. Give one another riddles to guess? That would
not last very long. How would it do if we were to tell stories?
Humorous or pathetic, true or imaginative, they would keep us awake and
pass away the time as well as cards."

"I am agreed, if you will begin," said the young gentleman, smiling.
"You gentlemen of trades visit all countries, and have something to
tell; for every town has its own legends and tales."

"Yes, certainly, one hears a great deal," replied the compass-maker.
"But, on the other hand, gentlemen like you study diligently in books,
where really wonderful things are written; therefore, you would know
how to tell a wiser and more entertaining story than a plain
journeyman, such as one of us, could pretend to--for unless I am much
mistaken you are a student, a scholar."

"A scholar, no," laughed the young gentleman; "but certainly a student,
and am now on my way home for the vacation. But what one reads in books
does not answer for the purpose of a story nearly as well as what one
hears. Therefore begin, if the other gentlemen are inclined to listen."

"Still more than with cards," responded the wagoner, "am I pleased when
I hear a good story told. I often keep my team down to a miserably slow
pace, that I may listen to one who walks near by, and has a fine story
to tell; and I have taken many a person into my wagon, in bad weather,
with the understanding that he should tell me a story; and one of my
comrades I love very dearly, for the reason that he knows stories that
last for seven hours and even longer."

"That is also my case," added the young goldsmith. "I love stories as I
do my life; and my master in Wuerzburg had to forbid me books lest I
should neglect my work. So tell us something fine, compass-maker; I
know that you could tell stories from now until day-break before your
stock gave out."

The compass-maker complied by emptying his glass and beginning his
story.



                           THE HIRSCH-GULDEN.


In Upper-Suabia still stands the walls of a castle that was once the
stateliest of the surrounding country, Hohen-Zollern. It rose from the
summit of a round steep mountain, from whence one had a distant and
unobstructed view of the country. Farther than this castle could be
seen from the encircling horizon, was the brave race of the Zollerns
feared; and their name was known and honored in all German countries.

There lived several hundred years ago, in this castle, a Zollern, who
was by nature a singular man. One could not say that he oppressed his
subjects, or that he lived at war with his neighbors; yet no one
trusted him, on account of his sullen look, his knitted brow, and his
moody, crusty manner. There were few people, outside of the castle
servants, who had ever heard him speak properly like other people; for
when he rode through the valley, if one met him, gave him the road, and
said to him with uncovered head, "Good evening, Sir Count! It is a fine
day," he would answer, "Stupid stuff," or, "I know it already." If,
however, one had been inattentive to his wants or had neglected his
charger, or if a peasant with his cart met him on a narrow road, so
that the count could not pass him quickly enough, he broke out into a
torrent of curses. Yet it was never said of him on these occasions that
he had struck a peasant. But all through this region he was called "The
Tempest of Zollern."

The Tempest of Zollern had a wife who was a complete contrast to
himself, and as mild and pleasant as a May morning. Often by her
friendly words and her kind glance had she reconciled to her husband
people whom he, by his rude speech, had deeply insulted. To the poor
she did all the good in her power; nor could the warmest days of Summer
or the most terrible snow storms of Winter prevent her from descending
the steep mountain to visit poor people or sick children. If the count
met her on these errands, he would say in a surly manner, "Know
already--stupid stuff," and proceed on his way.

[Illustration]

Many ladies would have been discouraged or intimidated by such a crusty
manner; one would have thought, "why should I concern myself with poor
people when my husband calls it all stupid stuff?" another, through
pride or sorrow, might have lost her love for so moody a husband; but
not so with the Countess Hedwig of Zollern. She was constant in her
affection, strove to smooth the lines on his brow with her beautiful
white hand, and loved and honored him. And when after a long time
Heaven bestowed upon them the gift of a son, she loved her husband none
the less while conferring all the duties of a tender mother on her
little boy.

[Illustration]

Three years went by, and the Count of Zollern saw his son only on
Sunday afternoons, when the child was handed to him by the nurse. He
looked at him without changing a feature of his face, growled something
through his beard, and gave him back to the nurse. But when the boy was
able to say "father," the count gave the nurse a gulden, but showed no
pleasanter face to the boy.

On his third birthday, however, the count had his son put on the first
pair of breeches and had him dressed splendidly in velvet and silk.
Then he ordered his horse, and also another fine horse for his son,
took the child up on his arm, and began to descend the spiral
staircase. The countess was astonished as she saw this. She was not
accustomed to inquire where he was going and when he would return; but
this time anxiety for her child opened her lips.

"Are you going to ride out, Sir Count?" she asked. He made no reply.
"For what purpose do you take the child?" continued she, "Cuno will
take a walk with me."

"Know already," replied the Tempest of Zollern; and kept on his way
till he stood in the court-yard, where he took the boy by one of his
little feet and lifted him into the saddle, bound him fast, and then
swinging himself on his horse, trotted out of the castle gate with the
bridle of his son's horse in his hand.

At first the little fellow regarded it as a great treat to ride down
the mountain with his father. He clapped his hands, laughed, shook the
mane of his horse to make him go faster, all of which pleased the count
so much that he called out several times: "You will make a brave lad!"

But when they came to the foot of the mountain, and the count's horse
began to trot, the boy lost his courage, and begged, at first very
quietly, that his father would ride slower; but as the count spurred on
his horse, and the strong wind nearly took poor Cuno's breath away, the
boy began to cry, became more and more impatient, and finally howled at
the top of his lungs.

"Know already! stupid stuff!" began his father. "The young one howls on
his first ride; be still, or----"

But in the moment he was about to stop the boy's cries by a curse, his
horse reared, and the bridle of his son's horse slipped from his hand.
He gave his attention to quieting his horse, and when he had mastered
it and looked around for his child, he saw the other horse running up
the mountain without its little rider.

Stern and unfeeling as was the Count of Zollern, this sight struck him
to the heart. He believed his son had been dashed to the ground and
killed. He pulled his beard and groaned; but nowhere could he find a
trace of the boy. He had just began to think that the frightened horse
had thrown him into the ditch that ran along the road, full of water,
when he heard a child's voice call his name, and as he quickly turned,
there sat an old woman under a tree, not far from the road, rocking the
child on her knees.

"How do you come by that boy, old witch?" shouted the count angrily.
"Bring him to me at once."

"Not so fast, not so fast, your Honor!" laughed the ugly old woman, "or
you too might meet with an accident on your proud horse. How did I come
by the boy, did you ask? Well, his horse ran by and he was hanging down
by one little foot, with his hair touching the ground, when I caught
him in my apron."

"Know already!" cried the Count of Zollern, ill-humoredly. "Bring him
here now; I can not very well dismount, my horse is wild and might kick
him."

"Give me a hirsch-gulden, then," pleaded the woman humbly.

"Stupid stuff!" cried the count, and flung some copper coins to her
under the tree.

"Oh, no! Come, I could make good use of a hirsch-gulden," continued the
old woman.

"What, a hirsch-gulden! You are not worth that much yourself!" said the
count angrily. "Quick with that child, or I will set the dogs on you!"

"So, I am not worth a hirsch-gulden, eh?" replied the old woman with a
mocking laugh. "Well, it shall be seen what part of your heritage is
worth a hirsch-gulden; but there, keep your money!" So saying, she
tossed the three copper coins to the count; and so well could the old
woman throw, that all three of the coins fell into the purse that the
count still held in his hand.

The count was struck dumb with astonishment at this exhibition of
skill, but at last his surprise was changed into anger. He grasped his
gun, cocked it, and took aim at the old woman. But she, unmoved, hugged
and kissed the boy, holding him up before her so as to protect herself
from the bullet. "You are a good little fellow," said she. "Only remain
so, and you will never want for any thing." Then she let him go, shook
her finger threateningly at the count, and said: "Zollern, Zollern! you
owe me a hirsch-gulden!" With that she moved off slowly into the
forest, leaning on a staff of box-wood. Conrad, the attendant,
dismounted from his horse trembling, lifted his little master into the
saddle, vaulted up behind him, and followed the count up to the castle.

This was the first and last time that the Tempest of Zollern took his
son out riding with him; for because the boy had cried when his horse
broke into a trot, the count regarded him as a spiritless child out of
whom nothing was to be made, and looked on him with displeasure; and
when the boy, who loved his father dearly, came in a friendly, coaxing
way to his knee, he would motion him to go away, exclaiming: "Know it
already! Stupid stuff!"

The countess had patiently borne all the unpleasant caprices of her
husband, but this unfatherly behavior towards an innocent child
affected her deeply. She fell sick several times with terror, when the
sullen count had punished the boy severely for some trivial offense,
and died at last in her best years, and was mourned by her servants, by
the people for miles around, but especially by her little son.

From this time forth the aversion of the count for his son steadily
progressed. He turned the lad over to the nurse and the house-chaplain
to bring up, and looked after him but little himself--especially as
shortly after his wife's death he married a rich young lady, who in a
twelvemonth presented him with twins.

Cuno's favorite walk was to the house of the old woman who had once
saved his life. She told him many things about his dead mother, and how
much the countess had done for her. The men and maid-servants often
warned him that he should not visit the Frau Feldheimerin so often,
because she was nothing more nor less than a witch; but the boy was not
frightened by their tales, as the chaplain had taught him that there
were no witches, and that the stories that certain women could bewitch
one, and ride through the air on broomsticks to the Brocken Mountains,
were lies. To be sure, he had seen many things about Frau Feldheimerin
that he could not understand; the trick with the three coins that she
had thrown so cleverly into his father's purse, he remembered
distinctly. Then too she could prepare all manner of salves and
decoctions with which she healed people and cattle; but it was not
true, as was said of her, that she had a weather-pan, which, whenever
she placed it over the fire, produced a terrible thunder-storm. She
taught the little count much that was useful to him--various remedies
for sick horses, a drink to cure hydrophobia, a bait for fishes, and
many other things. The Frau Feldheimerin was soon his only company, for
his nurse died, and his step-mother did not trouble herself much about
him.

[Illustration]

With his half-brothers, Cuno had a more sorrowful life than before.
They had the good fortune to stick to their horses on their first ride,
and the Tempest of Zollern, therefore, regarded them as apt and
promising boys, and took them out to ride every day, and taught them
all that he knew himself.

But they did not learn much that was good from him, for he could
neither read nor write, and he would not have his two precious sons
wasting their time over such matters; but by the time they were ten
years old they could swear as terribly as their father, quarreled with
everybody, lived together as peacefully as would a dog and cat, and
only when they joined hands to do Cuno a wrong were they at all
friendly with each other.

[Illustration]

Their mother did not grieve over this state of things, as she
considered it healthful and strengthening for the boys to fight; but a
servant told the count about their quarrels one day, and although he
answered, "Know it already! stupid stuff!" yet he tried to hit upon
some plan for the future that would prevent his sons from killing each
other, as he dreaded that threat of the Frau Feldheimerin, whom he held
to be a witch: "Well, it shall be seen what part of your heritage is
worth a hirsch-gulden."

One day as he was hunting in the vicinity of his castle, his attention
was attracted by two mountains, which from their form seemed well
adapted for castles; and he at once resolved to build there. Upon one
of these mountains he built the Castle Schalksberg, naming it after the
smaller of the twins, who, on account of his many naughty tricks, had
long ago received the nickname of the little Schalk from his father.
The castle he built on the other hill he thought at first of calling
Hirschguldenberg, in order to propitiate the old witch, because she did
not esteem his heritage worth a hirsch-gulden; but he finally concluded
to give it the simple name of Hirschberg. Such are the names of the two
mountains to-day; and he who travels through the Suabian Alps can have
them pointed out to him.

The Tempest of Zollern had at first designed to make a will bequeathing
Zollern to his eldest son, Schalksberg to the little Schalk, and
Hirschberg to the other twin; but his wife did not rest until he had
changed it. "The stupid Cuno--" such was the way she spoke of the poor
boy, because he was not so wild and ungovernable as her sons--"the
stupid Cuno is rich enough from what he inherited from his mother,
without getting the beautiful castle of Zollern. And shall my sons get
only a castle, to which nothing belongs but a forest?"

It was in vain that the count represented to her that one could not
justly rob Cuno of his birthright; she wept and scolded, until the
Tempest of Zollern who never gave way to any one, at last, for the sake
of peace, surrendered to her, and willed Schalksberg to Schalk, Zollern
to Wolf, the larger of the twins, and Hirschberg, with the village of
Balinger, to Cuno. Soon afterwards he was taken severely ill. When the
doctor told him he was going to die, he replied, "Know it already;" and
when the chaplain begged him to prepare for the future life, he
answered, "Stupid stuff," cursed and stormed, and died, as he had
lived, a great sinner.

But before his body was laid to rest, the countess produced the will,
and sneeringly told Cuno that he might show his learning by reading
what was written therein--namely, that he no longer had any business at
Zollern. With her sons she rejoiced over the fine estate and the two
castles which they had taken away from him, the first-born.

Cuno submitted, without complaint, to the provisions of the will; but
with tears, he took leave of the castle where he was born, where his
mother lay buried, and where the good chaplain lived, while not far
away was the home of his only woman friend, Frau Feldheimerin. The
castle of Hirschberg was, it is true, a fine stately building; but
still it was so lonely and desolate for him, that he felt very
homesick.

The countess and the twin brothers, who were now eighteen years old,
sat one evening on the balcony looking down the mountain-side, when
they perceived a stately knight riding up the road, followed by several
servants and two mules bearing a sedan chair. They speculated for some
time as to who he might be, when at last the little Schalk cried out:
"Why, that is no other than our brother from Hirschberg!"

"The stupid Cuno!" said the countess in surprise. "Why, he is about to
do us the honor of inviting us to visit him, and has brought along that
splendid sedan to carry me to Hirschberg. Such kindness and politeness
I had not given my son, the stupid Cuno, the credit of possessing. One
politeness deserves another; let us go down to the gate to receive him;
look pleased to see him, and perhaps he will make us some presents at
Hirschberg--you a horse, and you a harness; and I have long wished to
own his mother's ornaments."

"I don't want any presents from the stupid Cuno," replied Wolf,
"neither will I appear glad to see him; and for aught I care, he might
follow our blessed father; then we should inherit Hirschberg and
everything, and to you, madame, we would sell those ornaments at a low
price."

"Indeed, you good-for-nothing!" exclaimed his mother angrily, "I should
have to buy the ornaments, should I? Is that your gratitude for my
procuring Zollern for you? Little Schalk, I can have the ornaments
free, can I not?

"No pay, no work, lady mother!" replied Schalk, laughing. "And if it be
true that the ornaments are worth as much as most castles are, we
certainly should not be fools enough to hang them around your neck. As
soon as Cuno shuts his eyes for good, we will ride over there, divide
every thing, and I will sell my part of the ornaments. Then if you will
give more than the Jew, you shall have them."

Thus speaking, they came to the castle gate, and the countess had great
difficulty in concealing the rage she felt, as Count Cuno rode over the
draw-bridge. When he saw his step-mother and brothers standing there,
he stopped his horse, dismounted, and greeted them politely; for
although they had done him much wrong, still he remembered that they
were his brothers and that his father had loved this woman.

"Well, this is nice to have my son visit us," said the countess, in a
sweet voice, and with a gracious smile. "How do you like Hirschberg?
Can one feel at home there? And you have furnished yourself with a
sedan. Why, how splendid it is! an empress would have no cause to be
ashamed of it; a wife will not be long wanting, I'm thinking, to ride
around the country in it."

"I have not thought about that yet, gracious mother," replied Cuno,
"and will therefore take home other company for my entertainment; for
this purpose I have brought along the sedan."

"Why, you are very kind and thoughtful," interrupted the countess, as
she bowed and smiled.

"For he can not ride a horse very well now," continued Cuno, quietly.
"Father Joseph, I mean, the chaplain. I will take him home with me, for
he is my old teacher, and we made that arrangement when I left Zollern.
I will also pick up the old Frau Feldheimerin at the foot of the
mountain. Why, bless me, she's as old as the hills, and saved my life
once when I rode out for the first time with my blessed father. I have
plenty of room in Hirschberg, and she shall live and die there." So
saying, he passed through the court-yard to call the chaplain.

The youngster Wolf bit his lips angrily; the countess became livid with
rage; while Schalk laughed aloud. "What will you give me for the horse
that I received as a present from him?" said he. "Brother Wolf, will
you trade off your harness for it? Is he going to take home the
chaplain and the old witch? They will make a fine pair; in the forenoon
he can learn Greek from the chaplain, and in the afternoon take lessons
in witchcraft from Frau Feldheimerin. Why, what kind of tricks is the
stupid Cuno up to!"

[Illustration]

"He is a low, vulgar fellow," cried the countess, "and you shouldn't
laugh about it, little Schalk. It is a shame for the whole family, and
we shall be the sport of the neighborhood when it is reported that the
Count of Zollern has fetched the old witch home to live with him in a
splendid sedan. He gets that from his mother, who was also familiar
with the sick and with miserable servants. Alas, his father would turn
in his coffin if he could know of it."

"Yes," added Schalk, "father would say in his grave: 'Know already!
stupid stuff!'"

"As sure as you live! there he comes now with the old man, and is not
ashamed to take him by the arm," exclaimed the countess, in disgust.
"Come, I don't wish to meet him again."

They went off, and Cuno conducted his old teacher to the drawbridge,
and assisted him into the sedan. They stopped at the foot of the
mountain, before the hut of Frau Feldheimerin, and found her waiting
with a bundle full of glasses, dishes, and medicines.

But Cuno's action was not looked at in the light prophesied by the
countess. It was thought to be noble and praiseworthy that he should
try to cheer the last days of the old Frau Feldheimerin, and that he
should take Father Joseph into his castle. The only ones who disliked
and slandered him were his brothers and his stepmother. But only to
their own hurt; for everybody took an aversion to such unnatural
brothers, and by way of retaliation the story went that they lived in
continual strife with their mother and did all they could to harm one
another. Count Cuno made several attempts to reconcile his brothers to
himself, for it was unbearable to him when they rode by his castle
without stopping, or when they met him in the field and forest and
greeted him as coldly as though he were a stranger. But his attempts
failed, and only increased their bitterness towards him.

One day a plan occurred to him by which he might perhaps win their
hearts, for he knew that they were miserly and avaricious. There was a
pond situated at about an equal distance from the three castles, but
lying in Cuno's domain. This pond contained the finest pike and carp
to be found any where; and it was one of the chief grievances of the
twin-brothers, who were fond of fishing, that their father had not
included this pond in the land he had given them. They were too proud
to fish there without their brother's knowledge, neither would they ask
permission of him. But Cuno knew that his brothers had set their hearts
on this pond, so he sent an invitation to them to meet him there on a
certain day.

It was a beautiful Spring morning, as, nearly at the same moment, the
three brothers from the three castles met.

"Why, look you!" said Schalk; "we are well met! I rode away from
Schalksberg just on the stroke of seven."

"So did I,"--"and I," repeated the brothers from Hirschberg and
Zollern.

"Well, then, the pond must lie precisely in the middle," continued
Schalk. "It is a beautiful sheet of water."

"Yes, and for that reason did I choose this spot for our meeting. I
know that you are both fond of fishing, and although I sometimes throw
a line myself, yet there are fish enough here for three castles, and on
these banks there is room enough for us three, even were we all to meet
here at the same time. Therefore, I propose from this time forth that
this pond shall be the common property of us three, and each one of you
shall have the same rights here that I do."

"Why, our brother is certainly graciously minded," said Schalk, in a
jeering way. "He really gives us six acres of water and a few hundred
little fishes! And what shall we have to give in return?"

"You shall have it free," said Cuno. "I should like to see and speak
with you at this pond now and then. We are the sons of one father."

"No," exclaimed Schalk; "that would not do at all, for there is nothing
more silly than to fish in company; one is always frightening off the
other's fishes. We might, however, decide on days for each one--say
Monday and Thursday for you, Cuno, Tuesday and Friday for Wolf, and
Wednesday and Saturday for me. Such an arrangement would suit me."

"But I won't agree to that," cried the surly Wolf. "I don't want any
free gift, neither will I divide my rights with any one. You were
right, Cuno, in making your offer, for in justice the pond belongs as
much to one as to the other; but let us throw the dice to decide who
shall have the entire ownership for the future, and if I am more
fortunate than you, then you will have to come to me for permission to
fish."

"I never throw," replied Cuno, sad at this display of obduracy on the
part of his brothers.

"Of course not," sneered Schalk. "Our brother is so pious that he
thinks it is a deadly sin to throw dice. But I will make another
proposal, to which the most religious recluse could offer no objection:
Let us get some bait and hooks, and he who shall have caught the most
fish this morning when the bell of Zollern strikes twelve, will be the
owner of the pond."

"I am truly a fool," responded Cuno, "to strive for that which is mine
by right of inheritance; but that you may see that my offer of a
division was made in earnest, I will fetch my fishing tackle."

They rode home, each one to his own castle. The twins sent their
servants out in all haste, with orders to turn over all the old stones
near by, and to collect what worms they found underneath them for bait.
But Cuno took his usual fishing tackle, together with the bait which
Frau Feldheimerin had once learned him to prepare, and was the first to
reach the pond again. On the arrival of the twins he allowed them the
first choice of position, and then threw in his own line. Then it was
as if the fish seemed to recognize in him the owner of the pond. Whole
schools of carp and pike drew near and swarmed about his line. The
oldest and largest crowded the small fry aside; every moment he landed
a fish, and each time he cast his line twenty or thirty darted at the
hook with open mouths. Before two hours had passed, the ground around
him was covered with fish; then he laid down his line and went over to
where his brothers sat, to see how they were getting along. Schalk had
one poor little carp and two paltry shiners; while Wolf had caught
three barbels and two little gudgeons, and both looked sadly down into
the water, for they had seen from their place the vast number that Cuno
had caught.

When Cuno approached his brother Wolf, the latter sprang up in a rage,
tore off his line, broke his rod into small pieces and flung them into
the pond. "I wish I had a thousand hooks to throw in there, instead of
one, and that a fish, was wriggling on every one of them," cried he;
"but this could never have occurred in a natural way, it is sorcery and
witchcraft, or how should you, stupid Cuno, catch more fish in one hour
than I could take in a year?"

"Yes, that's so," echoed Schalk. "I remember now that he learned how to
fish from that vile witch, Frau Feldheimerin; and we were fools to fish
with him; he will be a wizard himself one of these days."

"You wicked fellows!" returned Cuno, sadly. "I have had time enough
this morning to get an insight into your avarice, your shamelessness,
and your insolence. Go now, and never return here; and believe it would
be better for your souls if you were half as pious and good as she whom
you have called a witch."

"No, she is not a genuine witch," sneered Schalk. "Such wives can
prophesy; but Frau Feldheimerin is about as much of a prophetess as a
goose is a swan. Didn't she tell our father that one would be able to
buy a good part of his heritage for a hirsch-gulden? And yet at his
death everything within sight of the towers of Zollern belonged to him.
Frau Feldheimerin is nothing more than a silly old hag, and you the
stupid Cuno."

Thus saying, Schalk ran off as fast as he could, for he feared the
strong arm of his brother Cuno; and Wolf followed him, shouting back
all the cursed he had learned from his father.

Grieved to the soul, Cuno returned home; for he now saw plainly that
his brothers would never be reconciled to him. And he took their bitter
words so seriously to heart that he fell sick the next day, and only
the consoling words of good Father Joseph, and the strengthening
remedies of Frau Feldheimerin, rescued him from death.

But when his brothers heard that Cuno lay very sick, they sat down to a
jovial banquet, and over their cups made an agreement that the one who
should be the first to hear of his death was to fire off a cannon, in
order to notify the other of the event, and he who fired first might
take the best cask of wine in Cuno's cellar. From this time forth Wolf
stationed a watchman in the vicinity of Hirschberg, while Schalk bribed
one of Cuno's servants with a large sum of money, to inform him,
without delay, when Cuno was breathing his last.

But this servant was more faithful to his good and gentle master than
to the wicked Count of Schalksberg. He inquired one evening of Frau
Feldheimerin, very solicitously, after his master's health, and when
she told him that the count was doing quite well, he related to her the
project of the brothers of firing off guns when the Count Cuno should
die. The old woman was infuriated, and quickly repeated this story to
the count, who could hardly believe his brothers were so utterly
heartless; so she advised him to put the matter to the proof by
spreading a report of his death. The count summoned the servant to whom
his brother had given a bribe, questioned him closely, and then ordered
him to ride to Schalksberg and announce his approaching death.

As the servant was riding hastily down the hill, he was seen and
stopped by the servant of Count Wolf, who asked him where he was riding
to in such a hurry. "Alas!" was his reply, "my poor master will not
outlive the night, they have all given him up."

"Indeed! Has his time come?" cried the spy, as he ran to his horse,
'sprang on his back, and rode so fast towards Zollern, that his horse
sank down at the gate, and he was himself only able to call out: "Count
Cuno is dying!" before he fell down senseless. Thereupon, the cannon of
Hohen-Zollern thundered, and Count Wolf rejoiced with his mother, in
anticipation of the cask of wine, over the castle and its belongings,
the jewels, the pond, and the echo of his cannon.

But what he had taken for its echo, was the cannon of Schalksberg, and
Wolf said smilingly to his mother: "It seems Schalk has had a spy there
too, and therefore he and I will have to divide the wine equally, as
well as the rest of the property." With this he mounted his horse,
fearing lest Schalk should arrive at Hirschberg before he did, and
perhaps take away some of the jewels of the deceased. But the twins met
at the fish-pond, and each blushed before the other, so apparent was
the desire of both to be the first-comer at Hirschberg. They said not a
word about Cuno, as they continued on their way together, but discussed
in a brotherly manner how things should be arranged in the future, and
to which of them Hirschberg should belong. But as they rode over the
draw-bridge into the court, they saw their brother, safe and sound,
looking out of the window; but anger and scorn flashed from his
features.

The brothers shrank back in terror, taking him at first to be a ghost,
and crossed themselves; but when they saw that he was still in flesh
and blood, Wolf exclaimed:

"Stupid stuff! I thought you were dead."

"Omittance is no quittance," said Schalk, darting up at his
half-brother a venomous look.

Cuno replied in a threatening voice: "From this hour, all bonds of
brotherhood between us are broken. I heard the salute you fired; but
know this, that I have five field-pieces here in the court that were
loaded to do you honor. Take care to keep out of the range of my
cannon, or you shall have a sample of our shooting at Hirschberg."

They did not wait to be spoken to a second time, for they saw that
their brother was fully in earnest; so they gave their horses the spurs
and raced down the mountain, while their brother sent a parting shot
after them, that whistled above their heads, so that they both made a
low and polite bow together; but he only wished to frighten and not to
wound them.

"Why did you fire off your gun?" asked Schalk of his brother Wolf, in
an ill-humored lone. "I only shot because I heard your gun, you fool!"

"On the contrary," replied Wolf. "I'll leave it to mother if you were
not the first to shoot; and you have brought this disgrace on us, you
little badger."

Schalk returned all his brother's epithets with interest; and when they
came to the pond, they hurled at one another some of the choicest
curses that the "Tempest of Zollern" had bequeathed them, and parted in
hate and anger.

Shortly after this occurrence, Cuno made his will, and Frau
Feldheimerin said to Father Joseph: "I would wager something that he
has not left much to the twins." But with all her curiosity, and much
as she urged her favorite, he would not tell her what was written in
the will; nor did she ever learn, for a year afterwards the good woman
passed away in spite of her salves and potions. She died, not of any
disease, but of her ninety-eighth year, which might well bring even the
most healthy person to the grave. Count Cuno had her buried with as
much ceremony as if she had been his own mother and not a poor old
woman, and he grew more and more lonely in his castle, especially as
Father Joseph soon followed Frau Feldheimerin.

Still he did not suffer this solitude very long; for in his
twenty-eighth year the good Cuno died, and, as wicked people asserted,
of poison administered by Schalk. Be that as it may, some hours after
his death the thunder of cannon was heard once more from Zollern and
Schalksberg.

"This time he will have to acknowledge the truth of the reports," said
Schalk to his brother Wolf, as they met on the road to Hirschberg.

"Yes," answered Wolf; "but even if he should rise from the dead and
abuse us from the window as before, I have a rifle with me that will
make him polite and dumb."

As they rode up the castle hill, they were joined by a horseman with
his retinue, whom they did not know. They believed, however, that he
must be a friend of their brother's who had come to attend the funeral.
Therefore they demeaned themselves as mourners, were loud in their
praises of the deceased, lamented his early death, and Schalk even
managed to squeeze out a few crocodile tears. The stranger paid no
attention to what they said, but rode silently by their side up to the
castle. "Now, then, we will make ourselves comfortable; and, butler,
bring some wine, the very best!" cried Wolf, as he dismounted. They
went up the spiral staircase into the salon, where they were followed
by the silent stranger; and just as the twins had sat down to the
table, he took from his purse a silver coin, and throwing it down on
the slate table, where it rolled about and settled down with a ring,
said:

"Then and there you have your inheritance; it is a good piece of
silver, a hirsch-gulden."

The two brothers looked at one another in astonishment, laughed, and
asked him what he meant by this.

The stranger, by way of reply, produced a parchment, attached to which
were many seals, in which Cuno had recorded all the instances of
malevolence that his brothers had shown him in his life-time, and at
the close decreed and made known that his entire estate, real and
personal, with the exception of his mother's jewels, should, in the
event of his death, become the property of Wuertemberg, in
consideration of _a pitiful hirsch-gulden_! But with his mother's
jewels, a poor-house should be built in the town of Balingen.

The brothers were astonished anew; but instead of laughing this time,
they ground their teeth together, for they could not hope to dispute
the claim of Wuertemberg. They had lost the beautiful castle, the
forest and field, the town of Balingen, and even the fish-pond, and
inherited nothing but a miserable hirsch-gulden. This, Wolf stuck into
his purse with a defiant air, put on his cap, passed the Wuertemberg
officer without a word, sprang on his horse, and rode back to Zollern.

When, on the following morning, his mother reproached him with having
trifled away the estate and jewels, he rode over to Schalksberg and
said to his brother:

"Shall we gamble with our inheritance, or drink it up?"

"Let's drink it away," replied Schalk; "then we shall both have won. We
will ride down to Balingen and let the people see our disdain, even if
we have lost the village in a most outrageous manner."

"And at 'The Lamb' tavern they have as good red wine as any the emperor
drinks," added Wolf.

So they rode down together to "The Lamb," and inquired the cost of a
quart of this red wine, and drank the worth of the gulden. Then Wolf
got up, took from his purse the silver coin with the leaping stag
stamped on it, threw it down on the table, and said:

"There's your gulden, that will make it right."

But the landlord picked up the gulden, looked at it first on one side
and then on the other, and said smilingly:

"Yes, if it was any thing but a hirsch-gulden; but last night the
messenger came from Stuttgart, and early this morning it was proclaimed
in the name of the Count of Wuertemberg, to whom this town now belongs,
that these coins would be no longer current; so give me some other
money."

The brothers looked at one another in dismay. "Pay up," said one.
"Haven't you got any change?" replied the other; and, in short, they
were obliged to remain in debt to "The Lamb" for a gulden.

They started back "home without speaking to one another until they came
to the cross-road, where the road to the right ran to Zollern and the
one to the left to Schalksberg. Then Schalk said:

"How now? We have inherited less than nothing; and moreover, the wine
was miserable."

"Yes, to be sure," replied his brother, "but what Frau Feldheimerin
said, has come to pass: 'We shall see what part of your inheritance is
worth a hirsch-gulden.' And now we were not able to pay for even a
measure of wine with it."

"Know it already!" answered he of Schalksberg.

"Stupid stuff!" returned the Count of Zollern, as he rode off moodily,
towards his castle.



"That is the Legend of the Hirsch-Gulden," concluded the compass-maker,
"and said to be a true one. The landlord at Duerrwangen, which is
situated near the three castles, related it to one of my best friends,
who often acted as guide through the Suabian Alps, and always put up at
Duerrwangen."

The guests applauded the compass-maker's story. "What curious things
one hears in the world!" exclaimed the wagoner. "Really, I feel glad
now that we did not spoil the time with cards; this is much better, and
so interested was I in the story, that I can tell it to-morrow to my
comrades without missing a single word of it."

"While you were telling your story, something came into my mind," said
the student.

"Oh, tell it, tell it!" pleaded the compass-maker and Felix.

"Very well," replied he, "it makes no difference whether my turn comes
now or later. Still, what I tell you must be considered in confidence,
for the incidents are reported to have really occurred."

He changed his position to a more comfortable one, and was just about
to begin his story, when the landlady put away her distaff and went up
to her guests at the table. "It is time now, gentlemen, to go to bed,"
said she. "It has struck nine, and to-morrow will be another day."

"Well, go to bed then," said the student. "Set another bottle of wine
on the table for us, and we won't keep you up any longer."

"By no means," returned she, fretfully; "so long as guests remain in
the public-room, it is not possible for the landlady and servants to
retire. And once for all, gentlemen, I must request you to go to your
rooms; the time hangs heavy on me, and there shall be no carousing in
my house after nine o'clock."

"What's the matter with you, landlady?" said the compass-maker in
surprise. "What harm can it do you if we sit here even after you have
gone to sleep? We are honest people, and won't run off with any thing,
nor leave without paying. I won't be ordered around in this way in any
tavern."

The woman's eyes flashed angrily. "Do you suppose I will change the
rules of my house to suit every ragamuffin of a journeyman and every
vagrant who pays me only twelve kreuzers? I tell you for the last time
that I won't submit to this nuisance."

The compass-maker was about to make a retort, when the student gave him
a significant look, winked at the others, and said: "Very well, if the
landlady will have it so, then let us go up to our rooms. But we should
like some candles to find our way."

"I cannot accommodate you in that," responded the landlady, sullenly;
"the others can find their way in the dark, and this stump of a candle
will suffice for your needs; it's all I have in the house."

The young gentleman got up and took the light without replying. The
others followed him, the journeymen taking their bundles up with them
to keep them near their side.

When they got up to the head of the stairs, the student cautioned them
to step very lightly, opened his door, and beckoned them to come in.
"There can now be no doubt," said he, "that she means to betray us. Did
you not notice how anxious she was to have us go to bed, and the means
she took to prevent our remaining awake and together? She probably
thinks that we will go to bed now, and thus play into her hands."

"But do you think that escape is impossible?" asked Felix. "In the
forest one might more reasonably hope for rescue than in this room."

"These windows are also grated," said the student, vainly trying to
wrench out one of the iron bars. "There is but one way by which we can
get out, if we wish to escape, and that is by way of the front door;
but I do not believe that they would let us out."

"We might make the attempt," said the wagoner; "I will see whether I
can get into the yard. If it is possible then I will return for you."

The others assented to this proposal, so the wagoner took off his shoes
and stole on tiptoe to the stair-case, while his companions listened
anxiously from their room. He had got half-way down, safely and
unnoticed, when suddenly a bull-dog rose up before him, placed its paws
on his shoulders, and displayed a gleaming set of teeth right before
his face. He did not dare to step either forward or backward, for at
the least movement the dog would have seized him by the throat. At the
same time the dog began to growl and bark, until the landlady and
hostler appeared with lights.

"Where were you going? What do you want? cried the woman.

"I wanted to fetch something from my cart," answered the wagoner
trembling in every limb; for as the door opened he had caught a glimpse
of several dark suspicious faces of armed men in the room.

"You might have done that before you went upstairs," replied the woman
crossly. "Come here, Fassan! Jacob, lock the yard-gate and light the
man out to his wagon."

The dog drew back his muzzle from the wagoner's face, removed his paws
from the man's shoulders, and lay down once more across the stair-way.
In the meantime the hostler had secured the yard-gate, and now lighted
the wagoner to his cart. An escape was not to be thought of. But when
he came to consider what he should take from his wagon, he recollected
that he had a pound of wax candles that were to be delivered in the
next town. "That short piece of candle won't last more than fifteen
minutes longer," said he to himself, "and yet we must have light!" He
therefore took two wax candles from the wagon, concealed them in his
sleeve, and also took his cloak as an excuse for his errand, telling
the hostler that he needed it for a blanket.

Without further incident he got back to the room upstairs. He told his
companions about the big dog that guarded the stair-case, of the
glimpse he had caught of the armed men, and of all the precautions that
had been taken to prevent their escape; and concluded with a groan: "We
shall not survive the night."

"I don't think that," said the student. "I cannot believe that these
people would be so foolish as to take the lives of four men for the
sake of the few little things we have with us. But we had better not
try to defend ourselves. For my part I shall lose the most; my horse is
already in their hands, and it cost me fifty ducats only four weeks
ago; my purse and my clothes I will give up willingly, for after all my
life is dearer to me than all these."

"You talk sensibly," responded the wagoner. "Such things as you have
can be easily replaced; but I am the messenger from Aschaffenburg, and
have all kinds of goods in my wagon, and in the stable two fine horses,
all I possess in the world."

"I can hardly believe that they would harm you," said the goldsmith;
"the robbery of a messenger would cause an alarm to be given all
through the country. But then I agree with what the young gentleman
said: sooner would I give up every thing I possess, and bind myself
with an oath never to speak of this matter and never to make complaint
against them, than to attempt to defend my little property against
people who have rifles and pistols."

During these words, the wagoner had taken out his wax candles. He stuck
them on the table and lighted them. "Here let us await, in the name of
God, whatever may happen to us," said he; "let us sit down together
again, and banish sleep with stories."

"We will do that," answered the student; "and as the turn came to me
down-stairs, I will now begin."



                           THE MARBLE HEART.

                              FIRST PART.

Whoever travels through Suabia should not neglect to take a peep into
the Black Forest; not on account of the trees, although one does not
find every-where such a countless number of magnificent pines, but
because of the inhabitants, between whom and their outlying neighbors
there exists a marked difference. They are taller than ordinary people,
broad-shouldered and strong-limbed. It seems as though the balmy
fragrance exhaled by the pines had given them a freer respiration, a
clearer eye, and a more resolute if somewhat ruder spirit than that
possessed by the inhabitants of the valleys and plains. And not only in
their bearing and size do they differ from other people, but in their
customs and pursuits as well. In that part of the Black Forest included
within the Grand Duchy of Baden, are to be seen the most strikingly
dressed inhabitants of the whole forest. The men let nature have her
own way with their beards; while their black jackets, close-fitting
knee breeches, red stockings, and peaked hats bound with a broad sheaf,
give them a picturesque, yet serious and commanding appearance. Here
the people generally are occupied in the manufacture of glass; they
also make watches and sell them to half the world.

On the other side of the forest formerly dwelt a branch of this same
race; but their employment had given them other customs and manners.
They felled and trimmed their pine trees, rafted the logs down the
Nagold into the Neckar, and from the Upper-Neckar to the Rhine, and
thence far down into Holland, and even at the sea coast these raftsmen
of the Black Forest were known. They stopped on their way down the
rivers at each city that lined the banks, and proudly awaited
purchasers for their logs and boards, but kept their largest and
longest logs to dispose of for a larger sum, to the Mynheers for
shipbuilding purposes. These raftsmen were accustomed to a rough,
wandering life. Their joy was experienced in floating down the streams
on their rafts; their sorrow in the long walk back on the banks. Thus
from the nature of their occupation they required a costume entirely
different from that worn by the glass-makers on the other side of the
Black Forest. They wore jackets of dark linen, over which green
suspenders of a hand-breadth's width crossed over their broad breasts;
black leather knee breeches, from the pockets of which projected brass
foot-rules like badges of honor; but their joy and pride lay in their
boots, the largest perhaps that ever came into vogue in any part of the
world, as they could be drawn up two spans of the hand above the knee,
so that the raftsmen could wade around in a yard of water without
wetting their feet.

Up to quite a recent period, the inhabitants of this forest believed in
spirits of the wood. But it is somewhat singular that the spirits who,
as the legend ran, dwelt in the Black Forest, took sides in these
prevailing fashions. Thus, it was averred that the Little Glass-Man, a
good little spirit, only three-and-a-half feet high, never appeared
otherwise than in a peaked hat with a wide brim, as well as a jacket
and knee breeches and red stockings; whereas, Dutch-Michel, who haunted
the other part of the forest, was a giant-sized broad-shouldered fellow
in the dress of a raftsman, and several people who had seen him,
asserted that they would not care to pay for the hides that would be
used to make him a pair of boots. "And so tall," said they, "that an
ordinary man would not reach to his neck."

With these spirits of the forest, a young man of this region is
reported to have had a strange experience, which I will relate:

There lived in the Black Forest a widow by the name of Frau Barbara
Munkin; her husband had been a charcoal-burner, and after his death she
brought up her son to the same business. Young Peter Munk, a cunning
fellow of sixteen, was much pleased to sit all the week round on his
smoking piles of wood, just as he had seen his father do; or, all black
and sooty as he was, and a scarecrow to the people, he would go down to
the towns to sell his charcoal. But a charcoal-burner has plenty of
time to think about himself and others; and when Peter Munk sat on his
half-burned piles of wood, the dark trees about him and the deep
stillness of the forest disposed him to tears and filled his heart with
nameless longings. Something troubled him, and he could not well make
out what it was. Finally he discovered what it was that had so put him
out of sorts; it was his occupation. "A lonely black charcoal-burner,"
reflected he. "It is a miserable life. How respectable are the
glassmakers, the watchmakers, and even the musicians of a Sunday
evening! And when Peter Munk, cleanly-washed and brushed, appears
dressed in his father's best jacket with silver buttons and with
bran-new red stockings, and when one walks behind me and thinks, Who is
that stylish-looking fellow? and inwardly praises my stockings and my
stately walk--when he passes by me and turns around to look, he is sure
to say to himself: 'Oh, it's only Charcoal Pete!'"

The raftsmen on the other side of the forest also aroused his envy.
When these giants came over among the glass-makers, dressed in their
elegant clothes, wearing at least fifty pounds of silver in buttons,
buckles, and chains, when they looked on at a dance, with legs spread
wide apart, swore in Dutch, and smoked pipes from Cologne three feet
long in the stem, just like any distinguished Mynheer--then was Peter
convinced that such a raftsman was the very picture of a lucky man. And
when these fortunate beings put their hands into their pockets and
drew out whole handfuls of thalers and shook for half a-dozen at a
throw--five guldens here, ten there--then he would nearly lose his
senses, and would steal home to his hut in a very melancholy mood. On
many holiday nights he had seen one or another of these timber
merchants lose more at play than his poor father had ever been able to
earn in a year.

Distinguished above all others were three of these men and Peter was
uncertain which one of them was most wonderful. One was a large heavy
man, with a red face, who passed for the richest man of them all. He
was called Stout Ezekiel. He went down to Amsterdam twice a year with
timber, and always had the good fortune to sell it at so much higher a
price than others could sell theirs, that he could afford to ride back
home in good style, while the others had to return on foot. The second
man of the trio was the lankest and leanest person in the whole forest,
and was called Slim Schlurker. Peter envied him for his audacity; he
contradicted the most respectable people, occupied more room when the
inn was crowded than four of the stoutest, either by spreading his
elbows out on the table, or by stretching his legs out on the bench,
and yet no one dared to interfere with him, for he had an enormous
amount of money. But the third was a handsome young man, who was the
best dancer far and wide, and had, therefore, received the title of
King of the Ball. He had been a poor boy, and had been a servant to one
of the lumber dealers, when he suddenly became very rich. Some said
that he had found a pot of gold under an old pine tree, others asserted
that he had fished up a packet of gold pieces near Bingen on the Rhine,
with the pole with which the raftsmen sometimes speared for fish; and
that the packet was part of the great Nibelungen treasure that lies
buried there. In short, he had suddenly become a rich man, and was
looked upon by young and old with the respect due a prince. Charcoal
Pete often thought of these three men, as he sat so lonely in the
forest of pines. It is true that all three had a common failing that
made them hated by the people; this was their inhuman avarice--their
utter lack of sympathy for the poor and unfortunate; for the
inhabitants of the Black Forest are a kind-hearted people. But you know
how it goes in the world; if they were hated on account of their
avarice, they yet commanded deference by virtue of their money; for who
but they could throw away thalers as if one had only to shake them down
from the pines?

[Illustration]

"I won't stand this much longer," said Peter, dejectedly, to himself
one day; for the day before had been a holiday, and all the people had
been down to the inn. "If I don't make a strike pretty soon, I shall
make away with myself. Oh, if I were only as rich and respectable as
the Stout Ezekiel, or so bold and mighty as the Slim Schlurker, or as
famous and as well able to throw thalers to the fiddlers as the King of
the Ball! Where can the fellow get his money?" He thought over all the
ways by which one could make money, but none of them suited him.
Finally there occurred to him the traditions of people who had become
rich through the aid of Dutch Michel and the Little Glass-Man. During
his father's life-time, other poor people often came to visit them, and
Peter had heard them talk by the hour of rich people and of the way
their riches were acquired. The name of the Little Glass-Man was often
mentioned in these conversations, as one who had helped these rich men
to their wealth; and Peter could almost remember the verse that had to
be spoken at the Tannenbuehl in the centre of the forest in order to
summon him. It ran thus:

           "Schatzhauser im grünen Tannenwald,
            Bis schon viel' hundert Jahre alt,
            Dir gehört all' Land wo Tannen stehn--"

But strain his memory as he would, he could not recall another line. He
often debated within himself whether he should not ask this or that old
man what the rest of the rhyme was, but was held back by a certain
dread of betraying his thoughts--and then, too, the tradition of the
Glass-Man could not be very widely known, and the rhyme must be known
to but very few, for there were not many rich people in the forest;
and, strangest of all, why had not his father and the other poor people
tried their luck? He finally led his mother into speaking about the
Little Glass-Man; but she only told him what he knew before, and knew
only the first line of the rhyme, although she did add afterwards that
the spirit only showed himself to people who were born on a Sunday
between eleven and two o'clock. In that respect, she told him, he would
fill the requirements, if he could only remember the verse; as he was
born on a Sunday noon.

When Charcoal Pete heard this, he was almost beside himself with joy at
the thought of undertaking this adventure. It appeared to him
sufficient that he knew a part of the verse, and that he was born on a
Sunday; so he thought that the Glass-Man would appear to him.
Therefore, after he had sold his charcoal one day, he did not kindle
any more fires, but put on his father's best jacket, his new red
stockings and his Sunday hat, grasped his black-thorn cane, and bade
good-bye to his mother, saying: "I must go to town on business; we
shall soon have to draw lots again to see who shall serve in the army,
and I will once more call the justice's attention to the fact that I am
the only son of a widow."

His mother commended his resolution, and he started off for
Tannenbuehl. The Tannenbuehl lies on the highest point of the Black
Forest; and within a radius of a two-hours' walk, not a village nor
even a hut was to be found, for the superstitious people held the
Tannenbuehl to be an unsafe place. And tall and splendid as were the
trees in this region, they were now but seldom disturbed by the
woodman's ax; for often when the wood-choppers had ventured in there to
work, the axes had flown from the helves and cut them in the foot, or
the trees had fallen unexpectedly before they could get out of the way,
and had killed and injured many. Then, too, these magnificent trees
could only be sold for firewood, as the raftsmen would never take a
single log from this locality into their rafts, for the tradition was
current among them that both men and rafts would come to grief if they
were to do so. Therefore, it was that the trees of the Tannenbuehl had
been left to grow so thick and tall that it was almost as dark as night
there on the clearest day; and Peter Muck began to feel rather timid
there, for he heard not a voice, not a step save his own, not even the
ring of an ax, while even the birds appeared to shun these dark
shadows.

Charcoal Pete at last reached the highest point of the Tannenbuehl, and
stood before a pine of enormous girth, for which a ship-builder in
Holland would have given many hundred guldens, delivered at his yard.
"Here," thought he, "the Little Glass-Man would be most likely to
live." So he took off his Sunday hat, made a low bow before the tree,
cleared his throat, and said in a trembling voice: "I wish you a very
good afternoon, Mr. Glass-Man." But there was no answer, and every
thing about was as still as before. "Perhaps I have to speak the verse
first," thought he, and mumbled:

           "Schatzhauser im grünen Tannenwald,
            Bist schon viel' hundert Jahre alt,
            Dir gehört all' Land wo Tannen stehn--"

As he spoke these words, he saw, to his great terror, a very small,
strange figure peep out from behind the great tree. To Peter it seemed
to be the Little Glass-Man, just as he had heard him described: a black
jacket, red stockings, a peaked hat with a broad brim, and a pale but
fine and intelligent little face. But alas, as quickly as the Little
Glass-Man had looked around the tree, so quickly had he disappeared
again. "Mr. Glass-Man," cried Peter Munk after a long pause, "be so
kind as not to make a fool of me. Mr. Glass-Man, if you think I didn't
see you, you are very much mistaken. I saw you very plainly when you
looked around the tree." Still no answer; but occasionally Peter
believed he heard a low, amused chuckle behind the tree. Finally his
impatience conquered the fear that had held him back. "Wait, you little
fellow," cried he; "I will soon catch you." With one leap he sprang
behind the tree, but there was no

           "Schatzhauser im grünen Tannenwald,"

and only a small squirrel ran up the tree.

Peter Munk shook his head; he saw that he had the method of conjuration
all right up to a certain point, and that perhaps only another line was
needed to induce the Little Glass-Man to appear. He thought over this
and that, but found nothing to the purpose. The squirrel was to be seen
on the lower branches of the tree, and acted as if it were either
trying to cheer him up or was making sport of him. It smoothed down its
fur, waved its fine bushy tail, and looked at him with intelligent
eyes. But at last he was afraid to remain here alone with this little
creature; for now the squirrel would appear to have a human head and a
three-peaked hat, and then again it would be just like other squirrels,
with the exception of red stockings and black shoes on its hinder legs.
In short, it was a merry creature; but nevertheless Charcoal Pete stood
in dread of it, believing that there was some magic in all this.

Peter left the spot at a much faster pace than he had approached it.
The shadows of the pine wood seemed to deepen, the trees to be taller,
and such terror took possession of him that he broke into a run, and
experienced a sense of security only when he heard dogs barking in the
distance, and saw between the trees the smoke rising from a hut. But
when he came nearer, and perceived the dress worn by the people in the
hut, he found that in his alarm he had taken the wrong direction, and
instead of arriving among the glass-makers, he had come to the
raftsmen. The people who dwelt in the hut were wood-choppers; an old
man, his son, who was the owner of the house, and some grandchildren.
They gave Charcoal Pete a hospitable reception, without asking for his
name and residence; brought him cider to drink, and for supper a large
blackcock, the most tempting dish in the Black Forest, was set on the
table.

After supper the housewife and her daughters gathered, with their
distaffs, around the light which the children fed with the finest
resin; the grandfather, the guest, and the master of the house smoked
and looked at the busy fingers of the women, while the boys were
occupied in cutting out wooden forks and spoons. Out in the forest a
storm was raging; one heard every now and then heavy peals of thunder,
and often it sounded as though entire trees had been snapped off and
crushed together. The fearless children wanted to go out into the
forest to view this wild and beautiful scene; but their grandfather
restrained them by a sharp word and look. "I would not advise any one
to go outside the door," exclaimed he; "he would never come back again,
for Dutch Michel is cutting a fresh link of logs to-night."

The children all stared at him. They might have heard the name of Dutch
Michel mentioned before, but now they begged their grandfather that he
would tell them all about him. And Peter Munk, who had heard Dutch
Michel spoken of on the other side of the forest only in a vague way,
joined in the children's request, and asked the old man who Dutch
Michel was and where he was to be seen. "He is the master of this
forest; and, judging from such an inquiry from a man of your age, you
must live on the other side of the Tannenbuehl, or even farther away,
not to have heard of him. I will tell you what I know about Dutch
Michel, and the stories that are circulated regarding him:

"About a hundred years ago--at least so my ancestors said--there was
not a more honorable race of people on the face of the earth than the
inhabitants of the Black Forest. But now, since so much money has come
into the country, the people are dishonest and wicked; the young
fellows dance and sing on Sunday, and swear most terribly. But at the
time of which I speak there was a very different state of things; and
even though Dutch Michel is looking in at the window now, I say, just
as I have often said before, that he is to blame for all this woful
change. There lived a hundred years or more ago, a rich timber
merchant, who employed a large number of men. He traded far down the
Rhine, and his business prospered, as he was a God-fearing man. One
evening a man came to his door, the like of whom he had never seen
before. His clothing did not differ from that of the Black Forest
workingmen, but he was a good head taller than any of them, and it had
not been believed that such a giant existed any where. He asked for
work, and the timber merchant, seeing that he was strong and so well
adapted to carrying heavy loads, made a bargain with him. Michel was a
workman such as this man had never had before. As a wood-chopper he was
the equal of any other three men; and he would carry one end of a tree
which required six men to carry the other end.

"But after cutting trees for six months, he went to his employer and
said: 'I have cut wood here long enough now, and should like to see
where my tree-trunks go to; so how would it do if you were to let me go
down on the rafts?' The timber merchant replied: 'I will not stand in
the way of your seeing a little of the world, Michel. To be sure, I
need strong men to fell the trees, while on the raft more cleverness is
required; but it shall be as you wish for this time.'

"The raft on which he was to go, consisted of eight sections, the last
of which was made up of the largest timbers. But what do you think
happened? On the evening before they started, the tall Michel brought
eight more logs to the water, thicker and longer than any that had ever
been seen before, and each one he had carried as lightly on his
shoulder as if it were simply a raft pole, so that all were amazed.
Where he had cut them remains a mystery to-day. The heart of the timber
merchant rejoiced as he saw them, and began to reckon up what they
might be worth; but Michel said: 'There, those are for me to travel on.
I shouldn't get very far on those other chips.' His master, by way of
thanks, presented him with a pair of high boots; but Michel threw them
aside, and produced a pair that my grandfather assured me weighed a
hundred pounds and stood five feet high.

[Illustration]

"The raft was started off, and if Michel had astonished the
wood-choppers before, it was now the turn of the raftsmen to be
surprised; for instead of the float going more slowly down the stream,
as had been expected on account of these enormous logs, as soon as they
touched the Neckar they flew down the river with the speed of an arrow.
If they came to a curve in the Neckar, that had usually given the
raftsmen much trouble to keep the raft in the middle of the stream and
prevent it from grounding on the gravel or sand, Michel would spring
into the water and push the raft to the right or the left, so that it
passed by without accident. But if they came to a stand-still, he would
run forward to the first section, have all the other men throw down
their poles, stick his own enormous beam into the gravel, and with a
single push the float flew down the river at such a rate that the land
and trees and villages seemed to be running away from them.

"Thus in half the time usually consumed, they reached Cologne on the
Rhine, where they had been accustomed to sell their float. But here
Michel spoke up once more: 'You seem to be merchants who understand
your own interests. Do you then think that the people of Cologne use
all this timber that comes from the Black Forest? No, they buy it of
you at half its cost, and sell it to Holland merchants at an immense
advance. Let us sell the smaller logs here, and take the larger ones
down to Holland; what we receive above the usual price will be our own
gain.'

"Thus spake the crafty Michel, and the others were content to do as he
advised--some because they had a desire to see Holland, and others on
account of the money they would pocket. Only one of the men was honest,
and tried to dissuade his companions from exposing their master's
property to further risks, or to cheat him out of the higher price they
might receive; but they would not listen to him, and forgot his words.
Dutch Michel, however, did not forget them. They continued on down the
Rhine, and Michel conducted the raft and soon brought it to Rotterdam.
There they were offered four times the former price, and the enormous
logs that Michel had brought sold for a large sum. When these raftsmen
found themselves the possessors of so much money, they could hardly
contain themselves for joy. Michel made the division, one part for the
timber merchant and the three others among the men. And now they
frequented the taverns with sailors and other low associates, gambled
and threw away their money; but the brave man who had advised against
their going to Holland was sold to a slave-dealer by Dutch Michel, and
was never again heard of. From that time forth Holland was the paradise
of the raftsmen of the Black Forest, and Dutch Michel was their king.
The timber merchants did not learn of the swindle practiced on them for
some time; and money, oaths, bad manners, drunkenness and gambling were
gradually imported from Holland unnoticed.

"When the story of these doings came out, Dutch Michel was nowhere to
be found. But he is not by any means dead. For a hundred years he has
carried on his ghostly deeds in the forest, and it is said that he has
been the means of enriching many; but at the cost of their souls. How
that may be, I will not say; but this much is certain: that on these
stormy nights he picks out the finest trees in the Tannenbuehl, where
none dare to chop, and my father once saw him break off a tree four
feet thick as easily as if it had been a reed. He makes a present of
these trees to those who will turn from the right and follow him; then
at midnight they bring down these logs to the river, and he goes with
his followers down to Holland. But if I were the King of Holland, I
would have him blown to pieces with grape-shot; for every ship that has
in it any of Dutch Michel's timber, even if it be only a single stick,
must go to the bottom. This is the cause of all the shipwrecks we hear
of; for how else could a fine strong ship, as large as a church, be
destroyed on the water? And whenever Dutch Michel fells a pine in the
Black Forest on a stormy night, one of his timbers springs from a
ship's side, the water rushes in, and the ship is lost with all her
crew. Such is the legend of Dutch Michel; and it is sure that all that
is bad in the Black Forest may be ascribed to him. But oh, he can make
one rich!" added the old man mysteriously; "yet I wouldn't have any
thing to do with him--I would not for any money stand in the shoes of
the Stout Ezekiel or in those of the Slim Schlurker; and the King of
the Ball is reported to belong to him also."

During the recital of the old man's story, the storm had ceased. The
girls now timidly lighted their lamps and went off to bed; while the
man gave Peter a bag of leaves for a pillow on the settee, and wished
him goodnight.

Never before did Charcoal Pete have such dreams as on this night. Now
the sullen giant, Dutch Michel, would raise the window and hold out
before him with his enormously long arm a purse full of gold pieces,
which he chincked together; then he would see the good-natured Little
Glass-Man riding about the room on a monstrous green bottle, and he
could hear his merry laugh just as it sounded in the Tannenbuehl; then
again there was hummed into his left ear:

           "In Holland there is gold;
            You can have it if you will
            For very little pay;
            Gold, Gold!"

then in his right ear he heard the song of the "Schatzhauser im grünen
Tannenwald," and a soft voice whispered: "Stupid Charcoal Pete! stupid
Peter Munk can't think of any thing to rhyme with _stehen_, and yet was
born on Sunday at twelve o'clock. Rhyme, stupid Peter, rhyme!"

He sighed and groaned in his sleep. He tried his best to think of a
rhyme for that word; but as he had never made a rhyme in his life, all
his efforts in his dream were fruitless. But on awaking with the early
dawn, his dream recurred to his mind. He sat himself down behind the
table with folded arms, and thought over the whispers he could still
hear. "Rhyme, stupid Charcoal Pete, rhyme," said he to himself,
meanwhile tapping his forehead with his finger; but the rhyme would not
come forth at his bidding.

While he was sitting thus, looking sadly before him with his mind
intent on a rhyme for _stehen_, three fellows passed by the house, one
of whom was singing:

           "Am Berge that ich stehen
            Und schaute in das Thal,
            Da hab' ich sie gesehen
            Zum allerletzten Mal."

That struck Peter's ear instantly, and springing up he rushed hastily
out of the house, ran after the three men, and seized the singer
roughly by the arm. "Stop, friend," cried he, "what was your rhyme for
_stehen_? Be so kind as to recite what you sang."

"What's the trouble with you, young fellow?" retorted the singer. "I
can sing what I please, so let go of my arm, or----"

"No, you must tell me what you sang!" shouted Peter, taking a firmer
grip on his arm. The two others did not hesitate long on seeing this
but fell upon Peter with their hard fists and gave him such a beating
that he was forced to let go his hold on the first man and sank
exhausted to his knees. "You have got your share now," said they
laughing, "and mind you, stupid fellow, never to jump upon people again
on the highway."

"Oh, I will surely take care!" replied Charcoal Pete sighing; "but now
that I have had the blows, be so good as to tell me plainly what it was
that man sang."

They began to laugh again, and made sport of him; but the one who had
sung the song repeated it to him, and laughing and singing they
continued on their way.

"Also _gesehen_," said the beaten one, as he raised himself up with
some difficulty; "_gesehen_ rhymes with _stehen_. Now then, Little
Glass-Man, we will speak a word together." He went back to the hut,
took his hat and stick, and bade farewell to the inmates of the hut,
and started on his way back to the Tannenbuehl.

He walked on slowly and thoughtfully, for he had a line to make up;
finally as he came into the neighborhood of the Tannenbuehl, and the
pines grew taller and thicker, he had completed the verse, and in his
joy made a leap into the air. Just then appeared a man of giant size,
who held in his hand a pole as long as a ship's mast. Peter's courage
failed him as he saw this giant walking along very slowly near him;
for, thought he, that is none other than Dutch Michel. But the giant
remained silent, and Peter occasionally took a half-frightened look at
him. He was fully a head taller than the largest man Peter had ever
seen; his face was neither young nor old, and yet full of lines; he
wore a linen jacket, and the enormous boots drawn over the leather
breeches, Peter recognized from the legend he had heard the night
before.

"Peter Munk, what are you doing in the Tannenbuehl?" inquired the King
of the Wood, in a deep threatening voice.

"Good morning, neighbor," replied Peter, with an effort to hide his
uneasiness: "I was going back home through the Tannenbuehl."

"Peter Munk," returned the giant, darting a piercing look at him, "your
way does not lie through this grove."

"Well, no, not directly," said Peter; "but it is warm to-day, and I
thought it would be cooler up here."

"Don't tell a lie. Charcoal Pete!" cried Dutch Michel, in a voice of
thunder, "or I will beat you to the ground with my pole. Do you think I
didn't hear you pleading with the Little Glass-Man?" continued he more
gently. "Come, come, that was a foolish thing to do, and it is
fortunate that you did not know that verse; he is a niggard, the little
churl, and doesn't give much, and those to whom he does give don't
enjoy life very much. Peter, you are a poor simpleton, and it grieves
me to the soul to see such a lively, handsome fellow, who might do
something in the world, burning charcoal. While others are throwing
about great thalers or ducats, you can hardly raise a sixpence: 'tis a
miserable life."

"That's all true, and you are right; it is a miserable life."

"Well, I shouldn't mind giving you a lift," continued the terrible
Michel. "I have already helped many a brave fellow out of his misery,
so you would not be the first. Speak up, now; how many hundred thalers
do you want to start with?"

With these words, he shook the gold pieces in his immense pocket, and
they jingled as Peter had heard them last night in his dream. His heart
beat wildly and painfully; he was warm and cold by turns, and Dutch
Michel did not look as if he was in the habit of giving away money in
compassion without receiving something in return. The mysterious words
of the old man in the hut recurred to his mind, and driven by
unaccountable anxiety and terror, he cried: "Best thanks, master; but I
won't have any dealings with you, for I know you too well," and ran off
at the top of his speed.

But Dutch Michel strode after him muttering in a hollow, threatening
voice: "You will regret it, Peter; it is written on your forehead and
can be read in your eye, you will not escape me. Don't run so fast;
listen to just one word of reason. There is my boundary line now." But
when Peter heard this, and saw not far ahead of him a small trench, he
increased his speed in order to get beyond the line, so that Michel,
too, had to run much faster and followed him with curses and threats.
The young man made a desperate leap over the trench, as he saw Dutch
Michel raise his pole to destroy him. He landed safely on the other
side, and saw the pole shattered in the air as though it had struck an
invisible wall, and a long splinter fell at Peter's feet. He picked it
up triumphantly with the intention of hurling it back at Michel; but at
that moment he felt it moving in his hand, and discovered, to his
horror, that it was an enormous snake, which with darting tongue and
glistening eyes reared its head to strike at him. He let go his hold,
but the reptile had coiled itself tightly about his arm, and its fangs
were already close to his face, when of a sudden a blackcock swooped
down, seized the snake's head in its bill and flew up into the air with
its prey, while Dutch Michel, who had seen all this from the boundary
line, howled and stormed as the snake was carried off by its more
powerful enemy.

Trembling and staggering, Peter continued on his way. The path became
steeper, the region wilder, and soon he found himself at the base of
the large pine tree. He made his obeisance as yesterday to the
invisible Little Glass-Man, and then recited his verse:

           "Schatzhauser im grünen Tannenwald,
            Bist schon viel' hundert Jahre alt,
            Dein is all' Land, wo Tannen stehen,
            Läßt Dich nur Sonntagskindern sehn."

"You haven't quite hit it, but seeing it's you, Charcoal Pete, we'll
let it pass," said a low soft voice near him. He looked around him in
surprise, and beneath a splendid pine sat a little old man, dressed in
a black jacket and red stockings, with a large hat on his head. He had
a delicate, pleasing face, and a beard as fine as a spider's web. He
smoked from a pipe of blue glass; and on approaching nearer, Peter saw,
to his astonishment, that the clothing, shoes, and hat of the little
man were all made of colored glass, but it was as flexible as though
still hot, for it bent like cloth with every movement of the little
man.

"You have met that churl, Dutch Michel?" said the little man, coughing
peculiarly after every word. "He meant to scare you badly; but I have
taken away his magic pole and he will never recover it again."

"Yes, Mr. Schatzhauser," replied Peter, with a low bow. "I was in a
pretty bad fix. Then you must have been the blackcock who killed the
snake! My best thanks for your kindness. But I have come here to
counsel with you. Things are in a bad way with me; a charcoal burner
doesn't get ahead any, and as I am still young I thought that perhaps
something better might be made out of me. When I look at others, I see
how they have progressed in a short time--the stout Ezekiel for
instance, and the King of the Ball; they have money like hay."

"Peter," said the little man, gravely blowing the smoke from his pipe
to a great distance, "do not talk to me in that way. How much would you
be benefitted by being apparently happy for a few years, only to be
still more unhappy afterwards? You must not despise your calling; your
father and grandfather were honorable people, and followed the same
pursuit. Peter Munk! I will not think that it is laziness that brings
you to me."

Peter shrank back before the earnestness of the little man, and
reddened. "Idleness, Herr Schatzhauser im Tannenwald, is, I well know,
the beginning of all burdens; but you should not think poorly of me for
desiring to better my condition, A charcoal burner is of very little
account in the world, while the glass-makers and raftsmen and
watchmakers are all respectable."

"Pride often comes before a fall," replied the master of the pine wood,
in a more friendly manner. "You mortals are a strange race. Seldom is
one of you contented with the lot to which he was born and brought up.
And what would be the result of your becoming a glass-maker? You would
then want to be a timber merchant; and if you were a timber merchant,
the life of the ranger or the magistrate's dwelling would seem more
attractive still. But it shall be as you wish, provided you promise to
work hard. I am accustomed to grant every Sunday child who knows how to
find me three wishes; the first two are free, the third I can set aside
if it is a foolish one. So announce your wishes, Peter, but let them be
something good and useful."

"Hurrah! You are an excellent Little Glass-Man, and you are rightly
called Schatzhauser, for with you the treasures are always at home.
Well, if I am at liberty to wish for what my heart longs, my first wish
shall be that I could dance better than the King of the Ball, and that
I had as much money in my pocket as the Stout Ezekiel."

[Illustration]

"You fool!" exclaimed the little man scornfully; "What a pitiful wish
is that, to dance well and have money to gamble with! Are you not
ashamed, stupid Peter, to fool away your chance in such a fashion? Of
what use will your dancing be to you and your poor mother? Of what use
will money be to you, when, as can be seen from your wish, it is
destined for the tavern, and like that of the miserable King of the
Ball, will remain there? Then you would have nothing for the rest of
the week, and will suffer want as before. I will give you another wish
free; but look to it that you choose more intelligently?"

Peter scratched his head, and said, after some hesitation: "Well, I
wish for the most beautiful and costly glass-works in the whole Black
Forest, together with suitable belongings for it, and money to keep it
going."

"Nothing else?" inquired the little man in an apprehensive manner;
"nothing else, Peter?"

"Well, you might add a horse and carriage to all this."

"Oh, you stupid Charcoal Pete!" cried the little man, and threw his
glass pipe in a fit of anger at a large pine tree, so that it broke
into a hundred pieces. "Horses? Wagons? Intellect, I tell you,
intellect, a sound human understanding and foresight, you should have
wished for, and not horses and wagons. Well, don't look so sad; we will
see that you don't come to much harm by it, for your second wish was
not such a bad one. Glass-works will support both man and master; and
if you had wished for foresight and understanding with it, wagons and
horses would have followed as a matter of course."

"But, Herr Schatzhauser," returned Peter, "I have one more wish left,
and if you think that intellect is such a desirable thing, why, I might
wish for it now."

"Not so. You will get into many difficulties when you will rejoice that
you still have one wish left. And so you had better now start on your
way home. Here," said the little man, drawing a purse from his pocket,
"are two thousand guldens, and it should be enough, so don't come
back to me begging for more money, or I should have to hang you up
to the highest pine tree. Three days ago old Winkfritz, who had the
glass-works in the valley, died. Go there to-morrow early, and make a
suitable bid for the business. Conduct yourself well, be diligent, and
I will visit you occasionally and assist you with word and deed, as you
did not wish for understanding. But--and I say this to you in all
seriousness--your first wish was a bad one. Take care, Peter, how you
run to the tavern; no one ever received any good thereby."

While thus speaking, the little man had produced a second pipe of
alabaster glass, filled it with crushed pine cones, and lighted it by
holding a large burning-glass in the sun. When he had done this, he
shook Peter's hand in a friendly manner, accompanied him a short
distance on his way, giving him some valuable advice, meanwhile blowing
out thicker and thicker volumes of smoke, and finally disappearing in a
cloud of smoke, that, as if from genuine Dutch tobacco, curled slowly
about the tops of the pine trees.

When Peter arrived at home, he found his mother in a state of great
alarm about him, for the good woman could believe nothing else but that
her son had been drawn as a soldier. He, however, was in a very happy
mood, and told her how he had met a good friend in the forest, who had
advanced him money to undertake a better business than that of charcoal
burning. Although his mother had lived in this hut for thirty years,
and was as much accustomed to the sight of sooty faces as every
miller's wife is to the flour on her husband's face, yet she was vain
enough when Peter held out the prospect of a more brilliant life, to
despise her early condition, and said: "Yes, as mother of a man who
owns the glassworks, I am somewhat better than neighbor Grete and Bete,
and for the future I shall take a front seat in the church among
respectable people."

Peter soon concluded a bargain with the heirs for the glass-works. He
retained the workmen whom he found there, and made glass by day and
night. In the beginning he was much pleased with the business. He was
accustomed to walk proudly about the works, with his hands in his
pockets, looking into this and that, advising here and there, over
which his workmen laughed not a little; but his great delight was to
see the glass blown, and he often attempted this work himself, forming
the most singular shapes out of the molten mass. But before long he
tired of the business, and spent only an hour a day at the works; then
only an hour in two days, and finally he went only once a week, so that
his workmen did what they pleased.

All this resulted from his visits to the tavern. The Sunday after he
had met the little man in the wood, he went to the tavern, and found
the King of the Ball already leading the dance, while the Stout Ezekiel
was sitting down to his glass and shaking dice for crown-thalers. Peter
put his hand in his pocket to see if the Little Glass-Man had kept
faith with him, and behold, his pockets were bulged out with silver and
gold. His legs, too, began to twitch and move as though they were about
to dance and leap; and when the first dance was over, he placed himself
with his partner opposite, near the King of the Ball, and if this man
sprang three feet high, Peter would fly up four, and if the other
accomplished wonderfully intricate steps, Peter would throw out his
legs in such a marvelous style that all present were beside themselves
with delight and amazement. But as soon as it was known that Peter had
bought a glass-factory, and as the dancers saw him tossing sixpences to
the musicians every time he passed them in the dance, their
astonishment knew no bounds. Some thought he must have found treasure
in the forest; others, that he had inherited an estate; but all
deferred to him and looked upon him as a great man, simply because he
had money. On the same evening he lost twenty guldens at play; and
still the coins chinked in his pocket as though there were still a
hundred guldens there.

When Peter saw how important a person he had become, he could not
contain himself for joy and pride He threw his money right and left,
and divided it generously among the poor, remembering how sorely
poverty pressed on him. The skill of the King of the Ball was brought
to shame by the supernatural art of the new dancer, and Peter was
dubbed Emperor of the Ball. The most adventurous gamblers of a Sunday
did not risk as much as he; but neither did they lose as much. And yet
the more he lost the more he won. This happened through the agency of
the Little Glass-Man. He had wished always to have as much money in his
pocket as the Stout Ezekiel had in his; and the latter was the very man
to whom Peter lost his money. And when he lost twenty or thirty guldens
at a throw, he had just as many more when Ezekiel pocketed them.

By degrees, however, he got deeper into gambling and drinking than the
worst topers in the Black Forest, so that he was oftener called Gambler
Pete than Emperor of the Ball, for he played now nearly every work-day
as well. Hence it was that his business was soon ruined, and Peter's
lack of understanding was to blame for it. He had as much glass made as
the works could possibly produce; but he had not bought with the
business the secret of how to dispose of the glass. He did not know
what in the world to do with his stock, and finally sold it to peddlers
at half the cost price, in order to pay the men's wages.

One evening he was returning home as usual from the tavern, and in
spite of the wine he had drunk in order to make himself merry, he
reflected with terror and anguish on the ruin of his glass-works
business, when suddenly he felt conscious that some one was walking at
his side. He turned around and, behold, it was the Little Glass-Man. At
once Peter fell into a passion, and protested with high and boastful
words that the little man was to blame for his misfortunes.

"What do I want now with a horse and wagon?" cried he. "Of what use is
the glass-foundry and all my glass? Even when I was a poor charcoal
burner, I was far happier, and had no cares. Now I do not know how soon
the magistrate will come and seize my property for debt!"

"Indeed?" replied the Little Glass-Man, "indeed? I should bear the
blame for your misfortunes? Is this your gratitude for what I have done
for you? Who advised you to wish so foolishly? You were bound to be a
glass-manufacturer, and yet did not know where to sell your wares.
Didn't I caution you to wish wisely? Judgment, Peter, and wisdom, you
were lacking in."

"What do you mean by judgment and wisdom?" demanded Peter. "I am as
wise a man as any body. Little Glass-Man, and will prove it to you."
With these words he seized the Little Glass-Man violently by the neck,
shouting: "Now I have you, Schatzhauser im grünnen Tannenwald! and now
I will make my third wish, which you must grant me. I want right here
on the spot two hundred thousand thalers, and a house and----oh dear!"
shrieked he, as he wrung his hands, for the Little Glass-Man had
transformed himself into a glowing glass that burned his hand like
flaming fire. And nothing more was to be seen of the little man.

For many days Peter's blistered hand reminded him of his folly and
ingratitude; but when his hand healed his conscience became deadened,
and he said: "Even if my glass-works and every thing I have should be
sold, I still have the Stout Ezekiel to fall back on. As long as he has
money of a Sunday I shall not want for it."

True, Peter! But if he should have none? And this very thing happened
one day. For one Sunday Peter came down to the tavern, and the people
stretched their necks out of the window, one saying, "There comes
Gambler Pete!" and another, "Yes, the Emperor of the Ball, the
rich glass-manufacturer!" while a third one shook his head, saying,
"Every-where his debts are spoken of, and in the town it is said
that the magistrate will not be put off much longer from seizing his
glass-works." The rich Peter greeted the guests at the window politely
as he stepped out of his wagon, and called out: "Good evening,
landlord! has the Stout Ezekiel come yet?" And a deep voice replied:
"Come right in, Peter. We have already set down to the cards, and have
kept a place for you." So Peter entered the public room, put his hand
into his pocket and found that the Stout Ezekiel must be pretty well
provided with money, for his own pocket was crammed full.

He sat down at the table with the others, and played and won, losing
now and then; and so they played until evening came on, and all the
honest folk went home, and then they continued to play by candle-light,
until two other players said: "Come, we've had enough, and must go home
to our wife and children." But Gambler Pete challenged the Stout
Ezekiel to remain. For some time Ezekiel would not consent to do so,
but finally he said: "Very well, I will just count my money and then we
throw for five gulden stakes, for less than that would be child's
play." He took out his purse and counted out one hundred guldens, so
Gambler Pete knew how much money he had without troubling himself to
count. But although Ezekiel had won all the afternoon, he now began to
lose throw after throw, and swore fearfully over his losses. If he
threw threes, Peter would immediately throw fives. At last he flung
down his last five guldens on the table, and said: "Once more, and even
if I lose these I won't quit, for you must lend me from your winnings
Peter; one honest fellow should help another!"

"As much as you like, even if it was a hundred guldens," said the
Emperor of the Ball, pleased with his gains; and the Stout Ezekiel
shook the dice and threw fifteen. "Three fives!" cried he, "now we will
see!" But Pete threw eighteen, and a hoarse well-known voice behind him
said: "There, that was the last!"

He turned about, and behind him stood the giant form of Dutch Michel.
Horrified, he let the money he had just grasped fall from his hand.
Ezekiel, however, did not see Michel, but requested a loan of ten
guldens from Gambler Pete. Quite dazed, Peter put his hand in his
pocket, but found no money there. He searched his other pocket but
found none there; he turned his pockets inside out, but not a farthing
rolled out. Now for the first time he remembered that his first wish
had been to always have as much money in his pocket as the Stout
Ezekiel had. It had all disappeared like smoke.

The landlord and Ezekiel looked on in surprise while he was searching
for his money; they would not believe him when he declared that he had
no more money, but finally, when they felt in his pockets themselves,
they got very angry and denounced him as a base sorcerer who had wished
all his winnings and his own money at home. Peter defended himself as
well as he could, but appearances were against him. Ezekiel declared
that he would tell this terrible tale to every body in the Black
Forest, and the landlord promised Ezekiel that he would go to town
early in the morning and enter a complaint against Peter Munk as a
sorcerer, and he would live to see Peter burned, he added. Thereupon
they fell upon Peter, tore off his jacket, and pitched him out of
doors.

Not a star was to be seen in the sky as Peter stole sadly back towards
his home; yet in spite of the darkness he could perceive a form that
walked near him, and finally heard it say: "It's all up with you, Peter
Munk! All your magnificence is at an end; and I could have told you how
it would turn out when you would not listen to me but ran over to the
Little Glass-Man. Now you can see what comes of despising my advice.
But try me once; I have pity on your hard fate. Not one who has come to
me has regretted it; and if you are not afraid of the road, you can
speak to me any time to-morrow in the Tannenbuehl."

Peter knew well who it was that spoke to him, and he shuddered. He made
no reply, but walked on to his house.



The story-teller was interrupted just here by a commotion before the
inn. A wagon was heard to drive up; several voices called for a light;
there was a loud rapping on the yard gate, and the barking of several
dogs. The room occupied by the wagoner and the journeymen looked out on
the street. The four men sprang up and rushed in there in order to see
what had happened. As nearly as they could make out by the gleam of a
lantern, a large traveling carriage stood before the inn, and a tall
man was assisting two veiled ladies to alight from it, while a coachman
in livery was taking out the horses and a servant was unstrapping the
trunk. "God be merciful to them!" sighed the wagoner. "If they leave
this inn with a whole skin I shall cease to feel uneasy about my cart."

"Keep still!" whispered the student. "I have a suspicion that it is not
for us, but for these ladies that the ambush has been laid. Probably
the people below had information of the journey these ladies were to
take. If we could only contrive to warn them of their danger! Stop a
moment. In the whole inn there is but one room that would be fit for a
lady, and that one adjoins mine. They will be conducted there. Remain
quietly in this room, and I will try to let their servants know the
state of affairs."

The young man stole silently to his room and blew out the wax candles,
leaving only the light that the landlady had given them. Then he
listened at the door.

Presently the landlady came up the stairs with the ladies, and
conducted them in a most obsequious manner to their room. She besought
her guests to retire soon, as they must be exhausted by their ride, and
then went down-stairs again. Soon afterwards, the student heard the
heavy steps of a man ascending the stairs; he opened the door
cautiously a little ways, and peering through the crack saw the tall
man who had helped the ladies from the wagon. He wore a hunter's
costume, with a hunting knife in his belt, and was most likely the
equerry of the ladies.

As soon as the student could make sure that this man was alone, he
opened his door quickly and beckoned the man to come in. The equerry
came up to him with a surprised look, but before he could ask what was
wanted, the student whispered to him: "Sir, you have been led into a
den of thieves to-night."

The man shrank back, but the student drew him inside of the room and
related to him all the suspicious circumstances about the house.

The huntsman was much alarmed as he heard this, and informed the young
man that the ladies, a countess and her maid, were at first anxious to
travel right through the night; but they were met a short distance from
this inn by a horseman who had hailed them and asked where they were
bound. When he learned that their intention was to travel through the
Spessart all night, he advised them against doing so, as being very
unsafe at the present time. "If you will take the advice of an honest
man," he had added, "you will give up that purpose; there is an inn not
far from here, and poor and inconvenient as you may find it, it is
better for you to pass the night there than to expose yourself
unnecessarily to danger." The man who thus advised them appeared to be
honest and respectable, and the countess, fearing an assault from
robbers, had given orders to have the carriage stopped at this inn.

The huntsman considered it his duty to inform the ladies of the danger
that threatened them. He went into their room, and shortly afterwards
opened the door connecting with the student's room. The countess, a
lady some forty years of age, came in to the student, pale with terror,
and had him repeat his suspicions to her. Then they consulted together
as to what steps they had better take in this critical situation,
finally deciding to summon the two servants, the wagoner and the
journeymen, so that in case of an attack they might all make common
cause.

The door that opened on the hall in the countess's room was locked and
barricaded with tables and chairs. She, with her maid, sat down on the
bed, and the two servants kept watch by her, while the huntsman, the
student, the journeyman and the wagoner sat around the table in the
student's room, and resolved to await their fate.

It was now about ten o'clock; every thing was quiet in the house,
and still no signs were made of disturbing the guests, when the
compass-maker said: "In order to remain awake it would be best for us
to take up our former mode of passing the time. We were telling all
kinds of stories; and if you, Mr. Huntsman, have no objections, we
might continue." The huntsman not only had no objections, but to show
his entire acquiescence he promised to relate something himself, and
began at once with the following tale:



                           SAID'S ADVENTURES.


In the time of Haroun-al-Raschid, the ruler of Bagdad, there lived in
Balsora a man named Benezar. He was possessed of considerable means,
and could live quietly and comfortably without resorting to trade. Nor
did he change his life of ease when a son was born to him. "Why should
I, at my time of life, dicker and trade?" said he to his neighbors,
"just to leave Said a thousand more gold pieces if things went well,
and if they went badly a thousand less? 'Where two have eaten, a third
may feast,' says the proverb; and if he is only a good boy, Said shall
want for nothing." Thus spake Benezar, and well did he keep his word,
for his son was brought up neither to a trade nor yet to commerce.
Still Benezar did not omit reading with him the books of wisdom, and as
it was the father's belief that a young man needed, with scholarship
and veneration for age, nothing more than a strong arm and courage, he
had his son early educated in the use of weapons, and Said soon passed
among boys of his own age, and even among those much older, for a
valiant fencer, while in horsemanship and swimming he had no superior.

When he was eighteen years old, his father sent him to Mecca, to the
grave of the Prophet, to say his prayers and go through his religious
exercises on the spot, as required by custom and the commandment.
Before he departed, his father called him to his side and praised his
conduct, gave him good advice, provided him with money, and then said:

"One word more, my son Said. I am a man above sharing in the
superstitions of the rabble. I listen with pleasure to the stories of
fairies and sorcerers as an agreeable way of passing the time; still I
am far from believing, as so many ignorant people do, that these genii,
or whatever they may be, exert an influence on the lives and affairs of
mortals. But your mother, who has been dead these twelve years,
believed as devoutly in them as in the Koran; yes, she even confided to
me once, after I had pledged her not to reveal the fact to any one but
her child, that she herself from her birth up had had association with
a fairy. I laughed at her for entertaining such a notion; and yet I
must confess, Said, that certain things happened at your birth that
caused me great astonishment. It had rained and thundered the whole
day, and the sky was so black that nothing could be seen without a
light. But at four o'clock in the afternoon I was told that I was the
father of a little boy. I hastened to your mother's room to see and to
bless our first-born; but all her maids stood before the door, and in
response to my questions, answered that no one would be allowed in the
room at present, as Zemira (your mother) had ordered every body out of
her chamber because she wished to be alone. I knocked on the door, but
all in vain; it remained locked. While I waited somewhat indignantly,
before the door, the sky cleared more quickly than I had ever seen it
do before,--but the most wonderful thing about it was, that it was only
over our loved city of Balsora that the clear blue sky appeared, for
the black clouds rolled back, and lightning flashed on the outskirts of
this circle. While I was contemplating this spectacle curiously, my
wife's door flew open. I ordered the maids to wait outside, and entered
the chamber alone to ask your mother why she had locked herself in. As
I entered, such a stupefying odor of roses, pinks, and hyacinths
greeted me that I almost lost my senses. Your mother held you up to me,
at the same time pointing to a little silver whistle that was attached
to your neck by a golden chain as fine as silk. 'The good woman of whom
I once spoke to you has been here,' said your mother, 'and has given
your boy this present.' 'And was it the old witch also who swept away
the clouds and left this fragrance of roses and pinks behind her?' said
I with an incredulous laugh. 'But she might have left him something
better than this whistle: say a purse full of gold, a horse, or
something of the kind.' Your mother besought me not to jest, because
the fairies, if angered, would transform their blessings into
maledictions. To please her, and because she was sick, I said no more;
nor did we speak again of this strange occurrence until six years
afterwards, when, young as she was, she felt that she was going to die.
She gave me then the little whistle, charging me to give it to you only
when you had reached your twentieth year, and before that hour not to
let it go out of my possession. She died. Here now is the present,"
continued Benezar, producing from a little box a small silver whistle,
to which was attached a long gold chain; "and I give it to you in your
eighteenth, instead of your twentieth year, because you are going away,
and I may be gathered to my fathers before you return home. I do not
see any sensible reason why you should remain here another two years
before setting out, as your anxious mother wished. You are a good
and prudent young man, can wield your weapons as bravely as a man of
four-and-twenty, and therefore I can as well pronounce you of age
to-day as if you were already twenty; and now go in peace, and think,
in fortune and misfortune--from which last may heaven preserve you--on
your father."

Thus spake Benezar of Balsora, as he dismissed his son. Said took leave
of him with much emotion, hung the chain about his neck, stuck the
whistle in his sash, swung himself on his horse, and rode to the place
where the caravan for Mecca assembled. In a short time eighty camels
and many hundred horsemen had gathered there; the caravan started off,
and Said rode out of the gate of Balsora, his native city, that he was
destined not to see again for a long time.

The novelty of such a journey, and the many strange objects that
obtruded themselves upon his attention, at first diverted his mind; but
as the travelers neared the desert and the country became more and more
desolate, he began to reflect on many things, and among others, on the
words with which his father had taken leave of him. He drew out his
whistle, examined it closely, and put it to his mouth to see whether it
would give a clear and fine tone; but, lo! it would not sound at all.
He puffed out his cheeks, and blew with all his strength; but he could
not produce a single note, and vexed at the useless present, he thrust
the whistle back into his sash. But his thoughts shortly returned to
the mysterious words of his mother. He had heard much about fairies,
but he had never learned that this or that neighbor in Balsora had had
any relations with a supernatural power; on the contrary, the legends
of these spirits had always been located in distant times and places,
and therefore he believed there were to-day no such apparitions, or
that the fairies had ceased to visit mortals or to take any interest in
their fate. But although he thought thus, he was constantly making the
attempt to believe in mysterious and supernatural powers, and wondering
what might have been their relations with his mother; and so he would
sit on his horse like one in a dream nearly the whole day, taking no
part in the conversation of the travellers, and deaf to their songs and
laughter.

Said was a very handsome youth; his eye was clear and piercing, his
mouth wore a pleasing expression, and, young as he was, he bore himself
with a certain dignity that one seldom sees in so young a man, and his
grace and soldierly appearance in the saddle commanded the attention of
many of his fellow-travellers. An old man who rode by his side was much
pleased with his manner, and sought by many questions to become more
acquainted with him. Said, in whom reverence for old age had been early
inculcated, answered modestly, but wisely and with circumspection, so
that the old man's first impressions of him were strengthened. But as
the young man's thoughts had been occupied the whole day with but one
subject, it followed that the conversation between the two soon turned
upon the mysterious realm of the fairies; and Said finally asked the
old man bluntly whether he believed in the existence of fairies, who
took mortals under their protection, or sought to injure them.

The old man shook his head thoughtfully, and stroked his beard, before
replying: "It can not be disputed that there have been instances of the
kind, although I have never seen a dwarf of the spirits, a giant of the
genii, a sorcerer, or a fairy." He then began to relate so many
wonderful stories that Said's head was fairly in a whirl, and he could
believe nothing else than that everything, which had happened at his
birth--the change in the weather, the sweet odor of roses and
hyacinths--were the signs that he was under the special protection of a
kind and powerful fairy, and that the whistle was given him for no less
a purpose than to summon the fairy in case of need. He dreamed all
night of castles, winged horses, genii and the like, and dwelt in a
genuine fairy realm.

But, sad to relate, he was doomed to experience on the following day
how perishable were all his dreams, sleeping or waking. The caravan had
made its way along in easy stages for the greater part of the day, Said
keeping his place at the side of his elderly companion, when a dark
cloud was seen on the horizon. Some held it to be a sand-storm, others
thought it was clouds, and still others were of opinion that it was
another caravan. But Said's companion, who was an old traveller, cried
out in a loud voice that they should be on their guard, for this was a
horde of Arab robbers approaching. The men seized their weapons, the
women and the goods were placed in the centre, and everything made
ready against an attack. The dark mass moved slowly over the plain,
resembling an immense flock of storks taking their flight to distant
lands. By-and-by, they came on faster, and hardly was the caravan able
to distinguish men and lances, when, with the speed of the wind, the
robbers swarmed around them.

The men defended themselves bravely, but the robbers, who were over
four hundred strong, surrounded them on all sides, killed many from a
distance, and then, made a charge with their lances. In this fearful
moment, Said, who had fought among the foremost, was reminded of his
whistle. He drew it forth hastily, put it to his lips, and blew; but
let it drop again in disappointment, for it gave out not the slightest
sound. Enraged over this cruel disillusion, he took aim at an Arab
conspicuous by his splendid costume, and shot him through the breast.
The man swayed in his saddle, and fell from his horse.

"Allah! what have you done, young man?" exclaimed the old man at his
side. "Now we are all lost!" And thus it seemed, for no sooner did the
robbers see this man fall, than they raised a terrible cry, and closed
in on the caravan with such resistless force that the few who remained
unwounded were soon scattered. In another moment. Said found himself
surrounded by five or six of the enemy. He handled his lance so
dexterously, however, that not one of them dared approach him very
closely; at last one of them bent his bow, took aim, and was just about
to let the arrow fly, when another of the robbers stopped him. The
young man prepared for some new mode of attack; but before he saw their
design, one of the Arabs had thrown a lasso over his head, and, try as
he might to remove the rope, his efforts were unavailing--the noose was
drawn tighter and tighter, and Said was a prisoner.

The caravan was finally captured, and the Arabs, who did not all belong
to one tribe, divided the prisoners and the remaining booty between
them, and left the scene of the encounter, part of them riding off to
the South and the remainder to the East. Near Said rode four armed
guards, who often glared at him angrily, uttering savage oaths. From
all this, Said concluded, that it must have been one of their leaders,
very likely a prince, whom he had slain. The prospect of slavery was to
him much worse than that of death; so he secretly thanked his stars
that he had drawn the vengeance of the whole horde on himself, for he
did not doubt that they would kill him when they reached their camp.
The guards watched his every motion, and if he but turned his head,
they threatened him with their spears; but once, when the horse of one
of his guards stumbled, he turned his head quickly, and was rejoiced at
the sight of his fellow-traveller whom he had believed was among the
dead.

Finally, trees and tents were seen in the distance; and as they drew
nearer, they were met by a crowd of women and children, who had
exchanged but a few words with the robbers, when they broke out into
loud cries, and all looked at Said, shook their fists, and uttered
imprecations on his head. "That is he," shrieked they, "who has killed
the great Almansor, the bravest of men! he shall die, and we will throw
his flesh to the jackals of the desert for prey." Then they rushed at
Said so ferociously, with sticks and whatever missiles they could lay
their hands on, that the robbers had to throw themselves between the
women and the object of their wrath. "Be off, you scamps! away you
women!" cried they, dispersing the rabble with their lances; "he has
killed the great Almansor in battle, and he shall die; not by the hand
of a woman, but by the sword of the brave."

On coming to an open place surrounded by the tents, they halted. The
prisoners were bound together in pairs, and the booty carried into the
tents, while Said was bound separately and led into a tent larger than
the others, where sat an elderly and finely dressed man, whose proud
bearing denoted him to be the chief of this tribe. The men who had
brought Said in approached the chief with a sad air and with bowed
heads. "The howling of the women has informed me of what has happened,"
said their majestic leader, looking from one to the other of his men;
"your manner confirms it--Almansor has fallen."

"Almansor has fallen," repeated the men, "but here, Selim, Ruler of the
Desert, is his murderer, and we bring him here that you may decide as
to the form of death that shall be inflicted on him. Shall we make a
target of him for our arrows? shall we force him to run the gauntlet of
our lances? or do you decree that he shall be hung or torn asunder by
horses?"

"Who are you?" asked Selim, looking darkly at the prisoner, who,
although doomed to death, stood before his captors with a courageous
air.

Said replied to his question briefly and frankly.

"Did you kill my son by stealth? Did you pierce him from behind with an
arrow or a lance?"

"No, Sire!" returned Said. "I killed him in an open fight, face to
face, while he was attacking our caravan, because he had killed eight
of my companions before my eyes."

"Does he speak the truth?" asked Selim of the men who had captured
Said.

"Yes, Sire, he killed Almansor in a fair fight," replied one of the
men.

"Then he has done no more and no less than we should have done in his
place," returned Selim; "he fought his enemy, who would have robbed him
of liberty and life, and killed him; therefore, loose his bonds at
once!"

The men looked at him in astonishment, and obeyed his order in a slow
and unwilling manner.

"And shall the murderer of your son, the brave Almansor, not die?"
asked one of them, casting a look of hate at Said. "Would that we had
disposed of him on the spot!"

"He shall not die!" exclaimed Selim. "I will take him into my own tent,
as my fair share of the booty, and he shall be my servant."

Said could find no words in which to express his thanks. The men left
the tent grumbling; and when they communicated Selim's decision to the
women and children, who were waiting outside, they were greeted by
terrible shrieks and lamentations, and threats were made that they
would avenge Almansor's death on his murderer themselves, because his
own father would not take vengeance.

The other captives were divided among the tribe. Some were released, in
order that they might obtain ransom for the rich merchants; others were
sent out as shepherds with the flocks; and many who had formerly been
waited upon by ten slaves, were doomed to perform menial services in
this camp. Not so with Said, however. Was it his courageous and heroic
manner, or the mysterious influence of a kind fairy, that attached
Selim to him so strongly? It would be hard to say; but Said lived in
the chief's tent more as a son than as servant. Soon, however, the
strange partiality of the old chief drew down on Said the hatred of the
other servants. He met everywhere only savage looks, and if he went
alone through the camp he heard on all sides curses and threats
directed against him, and more than once arrows had flown by close to
his breast--and that they did not hit him he ascribed to the silver
whistle that he wore constantly in his bosom. He often complained to
Selim of these attempts on his life; but the chiefs efforts to discover
the would-be assassin were in vain, for the whole tribe seemed to be in
league against the favored stranger. So Selim said to him one day: "I
had hoped that you might possibly replace the son who fell by your
hand. It is not your fault or mine that this could not be. All feel
bitter hatred toward you, and it is not in my power to protect you for
the future, for how would it benefit either you or myself to bring the
guilty ones to punishment after they had stealthily killed you?
Therefore, when the men return from their present expedition, I will
say to them that your father has sent me a ransom, and I will send you
by some trusty men across the desert."

"But could I trust myself with any of these men?" asked Said in
amazement. "Would they not kill me on the way?"

"The oath that they will take before me will protect you; it has never
yet been broken," replied Selim calmly.

Some days after this the men returned to camp, and Selim kept his
promise. He presented the young man with weapons, clothes and a horse,
summoned all the available men, and chose five of their number to
conduct Said across the desert, and bound them by a formidable oath not
to kill him, and then took leave of Said with tears.

The five men rode moodily and silently through the desert with Said,
who noticed how unwillingly they were fulfilling their commission; and
it caused him not a little anxiety to find that two of them were
present at the time he killed Almansor. When they were about an eight
hours' journey from the camp. Said heard the men whispering among
themselves, and remarked that their manner was more and more sullen. He
tried to catch what they were saying, and made out that they were
conversing in a language understood only by this tribe, and only
employed by them in their secret or dangerous undertakings. Selim,
whose intention it had been to keep the young man permanently with him
in his tent, had devoted many hours to teaching the young man these
secret words; but what he now overheard was not of the most comforting
nature.

"This is the spot," said one; "here we attacked the caravan, and here
fell the bravest of men by the hand of a boy."

"The wind has covered the tracks of his horse," continued another, "but
I have not forgotten them."

"And shall he who laid hands on him still live and be at liberty, and
thus cast reproach on us? When was it ever heard before that a father
failed to revenge the death of his only son? But Selim grows old and
childish."

"And if the father neglects it," said a fourth, "then it becomes the
duty of the fallen man's friends to avenge him. We should cut the
murderer down on this spot. Such has been our law and custom for ages."

"But we have bound ourselves by an oath to the chief not to kill this
youth," said the fifth man, "and we cannot break our oath."

"It is true," responded the others; "we have sworn, and the murderer is
free to pass from the hands of his enemies."

"Stop a moment!" cried one, the most sullen of them all. "Old Selim has
a wise head, but is not so shrewd as he is generally credited with
being. Did we swear to him that we would take this boy to this or that
place? No; our oath simply bound us not to take his life, and we will
leave him that; but the blistering sun and the sharp teeth of the
jackals will soon accomplish our revenge for us. Here, on this spot, we
can bind and leave him."

Thus spake the robber; but Said had now prepared himself for a last
desperate chance, and before the final words were fairly spoken he
suddenly wheeled his horse to one side, gave him a sharp blow, and flew
like a bird across the plain. The five men paused for a moment in
surprise; but they were skilled in pursuit, and spread themselves out,
chasing him from the right and left, and as they were more experienced
in riding on the desert, two of them had soon overtaken the youth, and
when he swerved to one side he found two other men there, while the
fifth was at his back. The oath they had taken prevented them from
using their weapons against him, so they lassoed him once more, pulled
him from his horse, beat him unmercifully, bound his hands and feet,
and laid him down on the burning sands of the desert.

Said begged piteously for mercy; he promised them a large ransom, but
with a laugh they mounted their horses and galloped off. He listened
for some moments to the receding steps of their horses, and then gave
himself up for lost. He thought of his father and of the old man's
sorrow if his son should never more return; he thought on his own
misery, doomed to die so young; for nothing was more certain than that
he must suffer the torments of suffocation in the hot sands, or that he
should be torn to pieces by jackals.

[Illustration]

The sun rose ever higher, and its hot rays burnt into his forehead;
with considerable difficulty he rolled over, but the change of position
gave him but little relief. In making this exertion, the whistle fell
from his bosom. He moved about until he could seize it in his mouth,
then he attempted to blow it; but even in this terrible hour of need it
refused to respond to his will. In utter despair, he let his head fall
back, and before long the sun had robbed him of his senses.

After many hours, Said was awakened by sounds close by him, and
immediately after was conscious that his shoulder had been seized. He
uttered a cry of terror, for he could believe nothing else than that a
jackal had attacked him. Now he was grasped by the legs also, and
became sensible that it was not the claws of a beast of prey but the
hands of a man who was trying to restore his senses, and who was
speaking with two or three other men. "He lives," whispered they, "but
he believes that we are his foes."

At last Said opened his eyes, and perceived above his own the face of a
short, stout man, with small eyes and a long beard, who spoke kindly to
him, helped him to get up, handed him food and drink, and while he was
partaking of the refreshments told him that he was a merchant from
Bagdad, named Kalum-Bek, and dealt in shawls and fine veils for ladies.
He had made a business journey, and was now on his way home, and had
seen Said lying half-dead in the sand. The splendor of the youth's
costume, and the sparkling stone in his dagger had attracted his
attention; he had done all in his power to revive him, and his efforts
had finally succeeded. The youth thanked him for his life, for he saw
clearly that without the interposition of this man he would have
perished miserably; and as he had neither the means of getting away,
nor the desire to wander over the desert on foot and alone, he
gratefully accepted the offer of a seat on one of the merchant's
heavily-laden camels, and decided to go to Bagdad with the merchant,
with the chance of finding there a company bound for Balsora, which he
could join.

On the journey, the merchant related to his travelling companion
a great many stories about the excellent Ruler of the Faithful,
Haroun-al-Raschid. He told anecdotes showing the caliph's love of
justice and his shrewdness, and how he was able to smooth out the
knottiest questions of law in a simple and admirable way; and among
others he related the story of the rope-maker, and the story of the jar
of olives,--tales that every child now knows, but which astonished
Said.

"Our master, the Ruler of the Faithful," continued the merchant, "is a
wonderful man. If you have an idea that he sleeps like the common
people, you are very much mistaken. Two or three hours at day-break is
all the sleep he takes. I am positive of that, for Messour, his head
chamberlain, is my cousin; and although he is as silent as the grave
concerning the secrets of his master, he will now and then let a hint
drop, for kinship's sake, if he sees that one is nearly out of his
senses with curiosity. Instead, then, of sleeping like other people,
the caliph steals through the streets of Bagdad at night; and seldom
does a week pass that he does not chance upon an adventure; for you
must know--as is made clear by the story of the jar of olives, which is
as true as the word of the Prophet,--that he does not make his rounds
with the watch, or on horseback in full costume, his way lighted by a
hundred torch-bearers, as he might very well do if he chose, but he
goes about disguised sometimes as a merchant, sometimes as a mariner,
at other times as a soldier, and again as a mufti, and looks around to
see if every thing is right and in order. And therefore it happens that
in no other town is one so polite towards every fool upon whom he
stumbles on the street at night, as in Bagdad; for it would be as
likely to turn out the caliph as a dirty Arab from the desert, and
there is wood enough growing round to give every person in and around
Bagdad the bastinado."

Thus spake the merchant; and Said, strong as was his desire to see his
father once more, rejoiced at the prospect of seeing Bagdad and its
famous ruler, Haroun-al-Raschid.

After a ten-days' journey, they arrived at their destination; and Said
was astonished at the magnificence of this city, then at the height of
its splendor. The merchant invited him to go with him to his house, and
Said gladly accepted the invitation; as it now occurred to him for the
first time, among the crowd of people, that with the exception of the
air, the water of the Tigris, and a lodging on the steps of the mosque,
nothing could be had without money.

The day after his arrival in Bagdad, as soon as he had dressed
himself--thinking that he need not be ashamed to show himself on the
streets of Bagdad in his splendid soldierly costume--the merchant
entered his room, looked at the handsome youth with a knavish smile,
stroked his beard and said: "That's all very fine, young man! but what
shall be done with you? You are, it appears to me, a great dreamer,
taking no thought for the morrow; or have you money enough with you to
support such style as that?"

"Dear Kalum-Bek," replied the young man, greatly disconcerted, "I
certainly have no money, but perhaps you will furnish me with the means
to reach home; my father would surely repay you."

"Your father, fellow?" cried the merchant, with a loud laugh. "I think
the sun must have scorched your brain. Do you think I would take your
simple word for that yarn you spun me in the desert--that your father
was a rich citizen of Balsora, you his only son?--and about the attack
of the robbers, and your life with the tribe, and this, that, and the
other? Even then I felt very angry at your frivolous lies and utter
impudence. I know that all the rich people in Balsora are traders; I
have had dealings with all of them, and should have heard of a Benezar,
even if he had not been worth more than six thousand Tomans. It is,
therefore, either a lie that you hail from Balsora, or else your father
is a poor wretch, to whose runaway son I would not lend a copper. Then,
too, the attack in the desert! Who ever heard, since the wise Caliph
Haroun has made the trade routes across the desert safe, that robbers
dared to plunder a caravan and lead the men off into captivity? And
then, too, it would have been known; but on my entire journey, as well
as here in Bagdad, where people gather from all parts of the world,
there has not been a word said about it. That is the second lie, you
shameless young fellow!"

Pale with anger, Said tried to interrupt the wicked little man, but the
merchant talked still louder, and gesticulated wildly with his arms.
"And the third lie, you audacious liar, is the story of your life in
Selim's camp. Selim's name is well known by every body who has ever
seen an Arab, but Selim has the reputation of being the most cruel and
relentless robber on the desert, and you pretend to say that you killed
his son and was not at once hacked to pieces; yes, you even pushed your
impudence so far as to state the impossible,--that Selim had protected
you against his own tribe, had taken you into his own tent, and let you
go without a ransom, instead of hanging you up to the first good tree;
he who has often hanged travellers just to see what kind of faces they
would make when they were hung up. O you detestable liar!"

"And I can only repeat," cried the youth, "that by my soul and the
beard of the Prophet, it was all true!"

"What! you swear by your soul?" shouted the merchant, "by your
black, lying soul? Who would believe that? And by the beard of the
Prophet,--you that have no beard? Who would put any trust in that?"

"I certainly have no witnesses," continued Said; "but did you not find
me bound and perishing?"

"That proves nothing to me," replied the merchant. "You were yourself
dressed like a robber, and it might easily have happened that you
attacked some one stronger than yourself, who conquered and bound you."

"I should like to see any one, or even two," returned Said, "who could
floor and bind me, unless they came up behind me and flung a noose over
my head. Staying in your bazar as you do, you cannot have any notion of
what a single man is able to do when he has been brought up to arms.
But you saved my life, and my thanks are due you. What would you have
me do? If you do not support me I must beg; and I should not care to
ask a favor of any one of my station. I will go to see the caliph."

"Indeed!" sneered the merchant, "you will ask assistance of no one but
our most gracious master? I should call that genteel begging! But look
you, my fine young gentleman! access to the caliph can be had only
through my cousin Messour, and a word from me would acquaint him with
your capacity for lying. But I will take pity on your youth, Said. You
shall have a chance to better yourself, and something may be made out
of you yet. I will take you into my shop at the bazar; you can serve me
there for a year; and when that time is past, if you don't choose to
remain with me any longer, I will pay you your wages and let you go
where you will, to Aleppo or Medina, to Stamboul or Balsora, or, for
aught I care, to the Infidels. I will give you till noon to decide; if
you agree to my proposal, well and good; if you do not, I will make out
an estimate of the expense you put me to on the journey, and for your
seat on the camel, pay myself by taking your clothes and all you
possess, and then throw you into the street; then you can beg where you
like, of the caliph or the mufti, at the mosque or in the bazar."

With these words the wicked man left the unfortunate youth. Said looked
after him with loathing. He rebelled against the wickedness of this
man, who had designedly taken him to his house so that he might have
him in his power. He looked about to see if he could escape, but found
the windows grated and the door locked. Finally, after his spirit had
long revolted at the idea, he decided to accept the merchant's proposal
for the present. He saw clearly that nothing better remained for him to
do; for even if he were to run away, he could not reach Balsora without
money. But he made up his mind to seek the caliph's protection as soon
as possible.

On the following day, Kalum-Bek led his new servant to his shop in the
bazar. He showed Said the shawls, veils, and other wares in which he
dealt, and instructed the youth in his strange duties. These required
that Said, stripped of his soldierly costume and clad like a merchant's
servant, should stand in the doorway of the shop, with a shawl in one
hand and a splendid veil in the other, and cry out his wares to the
passers-by, name the price, and invite the people to buy. And now, too
it became evident to Said why Kalum-Bek had selected him for this
business. The merchant was a short, ugly-looking man, and when he
himself stood at the door and cried his wares, many of the neighbors,
as well as the passersby, would make fun of his appearance, or the boys
would tease him, while the women called him a scarecrow; but everybody
was pleased with the appearance of young Said, who attracted customers
by his graceful deportment and by his clever and tasteful way of
exhibiting his shawls and veils.

When Kalum-Bek saw that customers thronged to his shop since Said had
taken his stand at the door, he became more friendly with the young
man, gave him better things to eat than before, and was careful to keep
him finely dressed. But Said was little touched by this display of
mildness in his master; and the whole day long, and even in his dreams,
tried to hit upon some means of returning to his native city.

One day when the sales had been very large, and all the errand boys who
delivered parcels at the houses were out on their rounds, a woman
entered and made several purchases. She then wanted some one to carry
her packages home. "I can send them all up to you in half an hour,"
said Kalum-Bek; "you will either have to wait that long or else take
some outside porter."

"Do you pretend to be a merchant and advise your customers to employ
strange porters?" exclaimed the woman. "Might not such a fellow run off
with my parcels in the crowd? And then whom should I look to? No, you
are bound by the practice of the bazar to send my bundles home for me,
and I insist on your doing it!"

"But wait for just half an hour, worthy lady!" exclaimed the merchant
excitedly. "All my errand boys have been sent out."

"It's a poor shop that don't have errand boys constantly at
hand," interrupted the angry woman. "But there stands one of your
good-for-nothings now! Come, young fellow, take my parcel and follow
after me."

"Stop! Stop!" cried Kalum-Bek. "He is my signboard, my crier, my
magnet! He cannot stir from the threshold!"

"What's that!" exclaimed the old lady, thrusting her bundle under
Said's arm without further parley. "It is a poor merchant that depends
on such a useless clown for a sign, and those are miserable wares that
cannot speak for themselves. Go, go, fellow; you shall earn a fee
to-day."

"Go then, in the name of Ariman and all evil spirits!" muttered
Kalum-Bek to his magnet, "and see that you come right back; the old hag
might give me a bad name all over the bazar if I refuse to comply with
her demands."

Said followed the woman, who hastened through the square and down the
streets at a much quicker pace than one would have believed a woman
of her age capable of. At last she stopped before a splendid house,
and knocked; the folding doors flew open, and she ascended a marble
stair-case, beckoning Said to follow. They came shortly to a high and
wide salon, more magnificent than any Said had ever seen before. The
old woman sank down exhausted on a cushion, motioned the young man to
lay down his bundle, handed him a small silver coin, and bade him go.

He had just reached the door, when a clear, musical voice called:
"Said!" Surprised that any one there should know him, he looked around
and saw, in place of the old woman, an elegant lady sitting on the
cushion, surrounded by numerous slaves and maids. Said, mute with
astonishment, crossed his arms and made a low obeisance.

"Said, my dear boy," said the lady, "much as I deplore the misfortune
that is the cause of your presence in Bagdad, yet this was the only
place decided on by destiny where you might be released from the fate
that would surely follow you if you left the homestead before your
twentieth year. Said, have you still your whistle?"

"Indeed I have," cried he joyfully, drawing out the golden chain, "and
you perhaps are the kind fairy who gave me this token at my birth?"

"I was the friend of your mother, and will be your friend also as long
as you remain good. Alas! would that your father--unthinking man--had
followed my counsel! You would then have been spared many sorrows."

"Well, it had to come to pass!" replied Said. "But, most gracious
fairy, harness a strong northeast wind to your carriage of clouds, and
take me up with you, and drive me in a few minutes to my father in
Balsora; I will wait there patiently until the six months are passed
that close my nineteenth year."

The fairy smiled. "You have a very proper mode of addressing us,"
answered she; "but, poor Said! it is not possible. I cannot do anything
wonderful for you at present, because you left your homestead. Nor can
I even free you from the power of the wretch, Kalum-Bek. He is under
the protection of your worst enemy."

"Then I have not only a kind female friend but a female enemy as well?"
said Said. "I believe I have often experienced her influence. But at
least you might assist me with your counsel. Had I not better go to the
caliph and seek his protection? He is a wise man, and would protect me
from Kalum-Bek."

"Yes, Haroun is a wise man," replied the fairy; "but, sad to say, he is
also only a mortal. He trusts his head chamberlain, Messour, as much as
he does himself; and he is right in that, for he has tried Messour and
found him true. But Messour trusts his friend Kalum-Bek as he does
himself; and in that he is wrong, for Kalum is a bad man, even if he is
a relative of Messour's. Kalum has a cunning head, and as soon as he
had returned from his trip he made up a very pretty fable about you,
which he confided to his cousin the chamberlain, who in turn told it to
the caliph, so that you would not be very well received were you to go
to the palace. But there are other ways and means of approaching him,
and it is written on the stars that you shall experience his mercy."

"That is really too bad," said Said, mournfully. "I must then serve for
a long time yet as the servant of that scoundrel Kalum-Bek. But there
is one favor, honored fairy, that is in your power to grant me. I have
been educated to the use of arms, and my greatest delight is a
tournament where there are some sharp contests with the lance, bow and
blunt swords. Well, every week just such a tournament takes place in
this city between the young men. But only people of the finest costume,
and besides that only _free_ men will be allowed to enter the lists,
and clerks in the bazar are particularly excluded. Now if you could
arrange that I could have a horse, clothes and weapons every week, and
that my face would not be easily recognizable----"

"That is a wish befitting a noble young man," interrupted the fairy.
"Your mother's father was the bravest man in Syria, and you seem to
have inherited his spirit. Take notice of this house; you shall find
here every week a horse, and two mounted attendants, weapons and
clothes, and a lotion for your face that will completely disguise you.
And now, Said, farewell! Be patient, wise and virtuous. In six months
your whistle will sound, and Zulima's ear will be listening for its
tone."

The youth separated from his strange protectress with expressions of
gratitude and esteem. He fixed the house and street clearly in his
mind, and then went back to the bazar, which he reached just in the
nick of time to save his master from a terrible beating. A great crowd
was gathered before the shop, boys danced about the merchant and jeered
at him, while their elders laughed. He stood just before the shop,
trembling with suppressed rage, and sadly harassed--in one hand a
shawl, in the other a veil. This singular scene was caused by a
circumstance that had occurred during Said's absence. Kalum had taken
the place of his handsome clerk at the door, but no one cared to buy of
the ugly old man. Just then two men came to the bazar wishing to buy
presents for their wives. They had gone up and down the bazar several
times, looking in here and there, and Kalum-Bek, who had observed their
actions for some time, thought he saw his chance, so he called out:
"Here, gentlemen, here! What are you looking for? Beautiful veils,
beautiful wares?"

[Illustration]

"Good sir," replied one of them, "your wares may do very well, but our
wives are peculiar, and it has become the fashion in this city to buy
veils only of the handsome clerk, Said. We have been looking for him
this half-hour, but cannot find him; now if you can tell us where we
will meet him, we will buy from you some other time."

"Allah il Allah!" cried Kalum-Bek with a smirk. "The Prophet has led
you to the right door. You wish to buy veils of the handsome Said?
Good, just step inside; this is his place."

One of the men laughed at Kalum's short and ugly figure, and his
assertion that he was the handsome clerk; but the other, believing that
Kalum was trying to make sport of him, did not remain long in his debt,
but paid the merchant back in his own coin. Kalum-Bek was beside
himself; he called his neighbors to witness that his was the only shop
in the bazar that went by the name of "the shop of the handsome clerk;"
but the neighbors, who envied him the run of custom he had enjoyed for
some time, pretended not to know anything about the matter, and the two
men then made an attack upon the old liar, as they called him. Kalum
defended himself more with shrieks and curses than by the use of his
fists, and thus attracted a large crowd before his shop. Half the city
knew him to be a mean, avaricious old miser, nor did the bystanders
grudge him the cuffs he received; and one of his assailants had just
plucked the old man by the beard, when his arm was seized, and with a
sudden jerk he was thrown to the ground with such violence that his
turban fell off and his slippers flew to some distance.

The crowd, which very likely would have been rejoiced to see Kalum-Bek
well punished, grumbled loudly. The fallen man's companion looked
around to see who it was that had ventured to throw his friend down;
but when he saw a tall, strong youth, with flashing eyes and courageous
mien, standing before him, he did not think it best to attack him,
especially as Kalum regarding his rescue as a miracle, pointed to the
young man and cried: "Now then! what would you have more? There he
stands beyond a doubt, gentlemen; that is Said, the handsome clerk."
The people standing about laughed, while the prostrate man got up
shamefacedly, and limped off with his companion without buying either
shawl or veil.

"O you star of all clerks, you crown of the bazar!" cried Kalum,
leading his clerk into the shop; "really, that is what I call being on
hand at the right time, and the right kind of interference too. Why,
the fellow was laid out as flat on the ground as if he had never stood
on his legs, and I--I should have had no use for a barber again to comb
and oil my beard, if you had arrived two minutes later! How can I
reward you?"

It had been only a momentary sensation of pity which had governed
Said's hand and heart; but now that that feeling had passed, he
regretted that he had saved this wicked man from a good chastisement. A
dozen hairs from his beard, thought Said, would have kept him humble
for twelve days. And now the young man thought best to make use of the
favorable disposition of the merchant, and therefore asked to be given
one evening in each week for a walk or for any other purpose he
pleased. Kalum consented, knowing full well that his clerk was too
sensible to run off without money or clothes.

On the following Wednesday, the day on which the young men of the best
families assembled in the public square in the city to go through their
martial exercises. Said asked Kalum if he would let him have this
evening for his own use; and on receiving the merchant's permission, he
went to the fairy's house, knocked, and the door was immediately
opened. The servants seemed to have prepared everything before his
arrival; for without questioning him as to his desire, they led him
upstairs to a beautiful room, and there handed him the lotion that was
to disguise his features. He moistened his face with it, and then
glanced into a metallic mirror; he hardly recognized himself, for he
was now sunburnt, wore a handsome black beard, and looked to be at
least ten years older than he really was.

He was now conducted into a second room, where he found a complete and
splendid costume, of which the Caliph of Bagdad need not have been
ashamed, on the day when he reviewed his army in all his magnificence.
Together with a turban of the finest texture, with a clasp of diamonds
and a long heron's plume, Said found a coat of mail made of silver
rings, so finely worked that it conformed to every movement of his
body, and yet was so firm that neither lance nor sword could find a way
through it. A Damascus blade in a richly ornamented sheath, and with a
handle whose stones seemed to Said to be of priceless value, completed
his warlike appearance. As he came to the door, armed at all points,
one of the servants handed him a silk cloth and told him that the
mistress of the house sent it to him, and that when he wiped his face
with it, the beard and the complexion would disappear.

In the court-yard stood three beautiful horses; Said mounted the
finest, and his attendants the other two, and rode off with a light
heart to the square where the contest was to be held. The splendor of
his costume and the brightness of his weapons drew all eyes upon him,
and a general buzz of astonishment followed his entrance into the ring.
It was a brilliant assemblage of the bravest and noblest youths of
Bagdad, where even the brothers of the caliph were seen flying about on
their horses and swinging their lances. On Said's approach, as no one
seemed to know him, the son of the grand vizier, with some of his
friends, rode up to him, greeted him politely, and invited him to take
part in their contests, at the same time inquiring his name and whence
he came. Said represented to them that his name was Almansor, and he
hailed from Cairo; that he had set out upon a journey, but having heard
so much said about the skill and bravery of the young noblemen of
Bagdad, he could not refrain from delaying his journey in order to get
acquainted with them. The young men were highly pleased with the
bearing and courageous appearance of Said-Almansor; handed him a lance,
and had him select his opponent,--as the whole company were divided
into two parties, in order that they might assault one another both
singly and in groups.

[Illustration]

But the attention which had been attracted by Said was now concentrated
upon the unusual skill and dexterity which he displayed in combat. His
horse was swifter than a bird, while his sword whizzed about in still
more rapid circles. He threw the lance at its mark as easily and with
as much accuracy as if it had been an arrow shot from a bow. He
conquered the bravest of the opposing force, and at the end of the
tournament was so universally recognized as the victor, that one of the
caliph's brothers and the son of the grand vizier, who had both fought
on Said's side, requested the pleasure of breaking a lance with him.
Ali, the caliph's brother, was soon conquered by Said; but the grand
vizier's son withstood him so bravely that after a long contest they
thought it best to postpone the decision until the next meeting.

The day after the tournament, nothing was spoken of in Bagdad but the
handsome, rich, and brave stranger. All who had seen him, even those
over whom he had triumphed, were charmed by his well-bred manners. He
even heard his own praises sounded in the shop of Kalum-Bek, and it was
only deplored that no one knew where he lived.

The next week, Said found at the house of the fairy a still finer
costume and still more costly weapons. Half Bagdad had rushed to the
square, while even the caliph looked on from a balcony; he, too,
admired Almansor, and at the conclusion of the tournament he hung a
large gold medal, attached to a gold chain, about the youth's neck, as
a mark of his favor.

It could not very well be otherwise than that this second and still
more brilliant triumph of Said's should excite the envy of the young
men of Bagdad. "Shall a stranger," said they to one another, "come here
to Bagdad, and carry off all the laurels? He will now boast in other
places that among the flower of Bagdad's youth there was not one who
was a match for him." They therefore resolved, at the next tournament,
to fall upon him, as if by chance, five or six at a time.

These tokens of discontent did not escape Said's sharp eye. He noticed
how the young men congregated at the street corners, whispered to one
another, and pointed angrily at him. He suspected that none of them
felt very friendly toward him, with the exception of the caliph's
brother and the grand vizier's son, and even they rather annoyed him by
their questions as to where they might call on him, how he occupied his
time, what he found of interest in Bagdad, etc., etc. It was a singular
coincidence that one of these young men, who surveyed Said-Almansor
with the bitterest looks, was no other than the man whom Said had
thrown down when the assault was made on Kalum-Bek a few weeks before,
just as the man was about to tear out the unfortunate merchant's beard.
This man looked at Said very attentively and spitefully. Said had
conquered him several times in the tournament; but this would not
account for such hostile looks, and Said began to fear lest his figure
or his voice had betrayed him to this man as the clerk of Kalum-Bek--a
discovery that would expose him to the sneers and anger of the people.

The project which Said's foes attempted to carry out at the next
tournament failed, not only by reason of Said's caution and bravery,
but by the assistance he received from the caliph's brother and the
grand vizier's son. When these two young men saw that Said was
surrounded by five or six who sought to disarm or unseat him, they
dashed up, chased away the conspirators, and threatened the men who had
acted so treacherously with dismissal from the course.

For more than four months, Said had excited the astonishment of Bagdad
by his prowess, when one evening, on returning home from the
tournament, he heard some voices which seemed familiar to him. Before
him walked four men at a slow pace, apparently discussing some subject
together. As Said approached nearer, he discovered that they were
talking in the dialect which the men in Selim's tribe had used in the
desert, and suspected that they were planning some robbery. His first
thought was to draw back from these men; but when he reflected that he
might be the means of preventing some great wrong, he stole up still
nearer to listen to what they were saying.

"The gate keeper expressly said it was the street to the right of the
bazar," said one of the men; "he will certainly pass through it
to-night, in company with the grand vizier."

"Good!" added another. "I am not afraid of the grand vizier; he is old,
and not much of a hero; but the caliph wields a good sword, and I
wouldn't trust him; there would be ten or twelve of the body-guard
stealing after him."

"Not a soul!" responded a third. "Whenever he has been seen and
recognized at night, he was always unattended except by the vizier or
the head chamberlain. He will be ours to-night; but no harm must be
done him."

"I think," said the first speaker, "that the best plan would be to
throw a noose over his head; we may not kill him, for it would be but a
small ransom that they would pay for his body, and, more than that, we
shouldn't be sure of receiving it."

"An hour before midnight, then!" exclaimed they, and separated, one
going this way, another that.

Said was not a little horrified at this scheme. He resolved to hasten
at once to the caliph's palace and warn him of the threatened danger.
But after running through several streets, he remembered the caution
that the fairy had given him--that the caliph had received a bad report
about him. He reflected that his warning might be laughed at, or
regarded as an attempt on his part to ingratiate himself with the
Caliph of Bagdad; and so he concluded that it would be best to depend
on his good sword, and rescue the caliph from the hands of the robbers
himself.

So he did not return to Kalum-Bek's house, but sat down on the steps of
a mosque and waited there until night had set in. Then he went through
the bazar and into the street mentioned by the robbers, and hid himself
behind a projection of one of the houses. He might have stood there an
hour, when he heard two men coming slowly down the street. At first he
thought it must be the caliph and his grand vizier; but one of the men
clapped his hands, and immediately two other men hurried very
noiselessly up the street from the bazar. They whispered together for a
while, and then separated; three hiding not far from Said, while the
fourth paced up and down the street. The night was very dark, but
still, so that Said had to depend almost entirely upon his acute sense
of hearing.

Another half-hour had passed, when footsteps were heard coming from the
bazar. The robber must have heard them too, for he stole by Said
towards the bazar. The steps came nearer, and Said was just able to
make out some dark figures, when the robber clapped his hands, and, in
the same moment, the three men waiting in ambush rushed out. The
persons attacked must have been armed, for Said heard the ring of
clashing swords. At once he drew his own Damascus blade, and sprang
upon the robber's with the cry: "Down with the enemies of the great
Haroun!" He struck one of them to the ground with the first blow, and
turned upon two others, who were just in the act of disarming a man
over whom they had thrown a rope. Said lifted the rope blindly in order
to cut it, but in the effort to use his sword he struck one of the
robber's arms such a blow, as to cut off his hand, and the robber fell
to his knees with cries of pain. The fourth robber, who had been
fighting with another man, now came towards Said, who was still engaged
with the third, but the man who had been lassoed no sooner found
himself free than he drew his dagger, and, from one side, plunged it
into the breast of the advancing robber. When the remaining robber saw
this, he threw away his sword and fled.

Said did not remain long in doubt as to whom he had saved, for the
taller of the two men said: "The one thing is as strange as the other;
this attack upon my life or liberty, as the incomprehensible assistance
and rescue. How did you know who I was? Did you know of the scheme of
these robbers?"

"Ruler of the Faithful," answered Said, "for I do not doubt that you
are he, I walked down the street El Malek this evening behind some men,
whose strange and mysterious dialect I had once learned. They spoke of
taking you prisoner and of killing your vizier. As it was too late to
warn you, I resolved to go to the place where they would lie in ambush
for you, and give you my assistance."

"Thank you," said Haroun; "but it is not best to remain long in this
place; take this ring, and come in the morning to my palace; we will
then talk over this affair, and see how I can best reward you. Come,
vizier, it is best not to stop here; they might come back again."

Thus saying, he placed a ring on Said's finger, and attempted to lead
off the grand vizier, but the latter, begging him to wait a moment,
turned and held out to the astonished Said a heavy purse: "Young man,"
said he, "my master, the caliph, can do anything for you that he feels
inclined to do, even to making you my successor; but I myself can do
but little, and that little had better be done to-day, rather than
to-morrow. Therefore, take this purse. That does not, however, cancel
my debt of gratitude; so whenever you have a wish, come in confidence
to me."

Overpowered with his good fortune, Said hurried home. But here he was
not so well received. Kalum-Bek was at first angry at his long absence,
and then anxious, for the merchant thought he might easily lose the
handsome sign of his shop. Kalum therefore received him with abusive
words, and raved like a madman. But Said--who had taken a look into his
purse and found it filled with gold pieces, and reflected that he could
now travel home, even without the caliph's favor, which was certainly
not worth less than the gratitude of his vizier--declared roundly that
he would not remain in his service another hour. At first Kalum was
very much frightened by this declaration; but shortly he laughed
sneeringly and said:

"You loafer and vagabond! You miserable creature! Where would you run
to, if I were to give up supporting you? Where would you get a dinner
or a lodging?"

"You need not trouble yourself about that, Mr. Kalum-Bek," answered
Said audaciously. "Farewell; you will never see me again!"

With these words, Said left the house, while Kalum-Bek looked after him
speechless with astonishment. The following morning, however, after
thinking over the matter well, he sent out his errand boys, and had the
runaway sought for every-where. For a long time their search was a vain
one; but finally one of the boys came back and reported that he had
seen Said come out of a mosque and go into a caravansary. He was,
however, much changed, wore a beautiful costume, a dagger sword, and
splendid turban.

When Kalum-Bek heard this, he shouted with an oath: "He has stolen from
me, and bought clothes with the money. Oh, I am a ruined man!" Then he
ran to the chief of police, and as he was known to be a relative of
Messour, the head chamberlain, he had no difficulty in having two
policemen sent out to arrest Said. Said sat before a caravansary,
conversing quietly with a merchant whom he had found there, about a
journey to Balsora, his native city, when suddenly he was seized by
some men, and his hands tied behind his back before he could offer any
resistance. He asked them whose authority they were acting under, and
they replied that they were obeying the orders of the chief of police,
on complaint of his rightful master, Kalum-Bek. The ugly little
merchant then came up, abused and jeered at Said, felt in the young
man's pocket, and to the astonishment of the bystanders, and with a
shout of triumph, drew out a large purse filled with gold.

"Look! He has robbed me of all that, the wicked fellow!" cried he, and
the people looked with abhorrence at the prisoner, saying: "What! so
young, so handsome, and yet so wicked! To the court, to the court, that
he may get the bastinado!" Thus they dragged him away, while a large
procession of people of all ranks followed in their wake, shouting:
"See, that is the handsome clerk of the bazar; he stole from his master
and ran away; he took two hundred gold pieces!"

The chief of police received the prisoner with a dark look. Said tried
to speak, but the official told him to be still, and listened only to
the little merchant. He held up the purse, and asked Kalum whether this
gold had been stolen from him. Kalum-Bek swore that it had; but his
perjury, while it gained him the gold, did not help to restore to him
his clerk, who was worth a thousand gold pieces to him, for the judge
said: "In accordance with a law that my all-powerful master, the
caliph, has recently made, every theft of over a hundred gold pieces
that transpires in the bazar, is punished with banishment for life to a
desert island. This thief comes at just the right time; he makes the
twentieth of his class, and so completes the lot; to-morrow they will
be put on a vessel and taken out to sea."

Said was in despair. He besought the officers to listen to him, to
let him speak only one word with the caliph; but he found no mercy.
Kalum-Bek, who now repented of his oath, also pleaded for him, but the
judge said: "You have your gold back, and should be contented; go home
and keep quiet, or I will fine you ten gold pieces for every
contradiction." Kalum quieted down; the judge made a sign, and the
unfortunate Said was led away.

He was taken to a dark and damp dungeon, where nineteen poor wretches,
scattered about on straw, received him as their companion in
misfortune, with wild laughter and curses on the judge and caliph.
Terrible as was the fate before him, fearful as was the thought of
being banished to a desert island, he still found consolation in the
thought that the morrow would take him out of this horrible prison. But
he was very greatly in error in supposing that his situation would be
bettered on the ship. The twenty men were thrown into the hold, where
they could not stand upright, and there they fought among themselves
for the best places.

The anchor was weighed, and Said wept bitter tears as the ship that was
to bear him far away from his fatherland began to move. They received
bread and fruits, and a drink of sweetened water, but once a day: and
it was so dark in the ship's hold, that lights always had to be brought
down when the prisoners were to be fed. Every two or three days one of
their number was found dead, so unwholesome was the air in this
floating prison, and Said's life was preserved only by his youth and
his splendid health.

They had been on the sea for fourteen days, when one day the waves
roared more violently than ever, and there was much running to and fro
on the deck. Said suspected that a storm was at hand, and he welcomed
the prospect of one, hoping that then he might be released by death.

The ship began to pitch about, and finally struck on a ledge with a
terrible crash. Cries and groans were heard on the deck, intermingled
with the roar of the storm. At last all was still again; but at the
same time one of the prisoners discovered that the water was pouring
into the ship. They pounded on the hatch-door, but could get no answer;
and as the water poured in more and more rapidly, they united their
strength and managed to break the hatch open.

They ascended the steps, but found not a soul on board. The whole crew
had taken to the boats. Most of the prisoners were in despair, for the
storm increased in fury, the ship cracked and settled down on the
ledge. For some hours they sat on the deck and partook of their last
repast from the provisions they found in the ship, then the storm began
to rage again, the ship was torn from the ledge on which it had been
held, and broken up.

Said had climbed the mast, and held fast to it when the ship went to
pieces. The waves tossed him about, but he kept his head up by paddling
with his feet. Thus he floated about, in ever-increasing danger, for
half an hour, when the chain with whistle attached once again fell out
of his bosom, and once more he tried to make it sound. With one hand he
held fast to the mast, and with the other put the whistle to his lips,
blew, and a clear musical tone was the result. Instantly the storm
ceased, and the waves became as smooth as if oil had been poured on
them. He had hardly looked about him, with an easier breath, to see
whether he could discern land, when the mast beneath him began to
expand in a very singular manner, and to move as well; and, not a
little to his terror, he perceived that he was no longer riding on a
wooden mast, but upon the back of an enormous dolphin. But after a few
moments his courage returned; and as he saw that the dolphin swam along
on his course quietly and easily, although swiftly, he ascribed his
wonderful rescue to the silver whistle and to the kind fairy, and
shouted his most earnest thanks into the air.

[Illustration]

His wonderful horse carried him through the waves with the speed of an
arrow; and before night he saw land, and also a broad river, into which
the dolphin turned. Up stream it went more slowly, and, that he might
not starve, Said, who remembered from old stories of enchantment how
one should work a charm, took out the whistle again, blew it loudly and
heartily, and wished that he had a good meal. The dolphin stopped
instantly, and out of the water rose a table, as little wet as if it
had stood in the sun for eight days, and richly furnished with the
finest dishes. Said attacked the food like a famished person, for his
rations during his imprisonment were scant and of miserable quality;
and when he had eaten to his fill, he expressed his thanks; the table
sank down again, while he jogged the dolphin in the side, and the fish
at once responded by continuing on its course up stream.

The sun was setting when Said perceived in the dim distance a large
city, whose minarets seemed to bear a resemblance to those of Bagdad.
This discovery was not a pleasant one; but his confidence in the kind
fairy was so great that he felt sure she would not permit him to fall
again into the clutches of the unscrupulous Kalum-Bek. To one side,
about three miles distant from the city, and close to the river, he
noticed a magnificent country house, and, to his astonishment, the fish
seemed to be making directly towards this house.

Upon the roof of the house stood a group of handsomely dressed men, and
on the bank of the river Said saw a large crowd of servants, who were
looking at him in wonder. The dolphin stopped at some marble steps that
led up to the house, and hardly had Said put foot on the steps when the
dolphin disappeared. A number of servants now ran down the steps, and
requested him in the name of their master to come up to the house, at
the same time offering him a suit of dry clothes. Said dressed himself
quickly, and followed the servants to the roof, where he found three
men, of whom the tallest and handsomest came forward to meet him in a
pleasant manner.

"Who are you, wonderful stranger," said he, "you who tame the fishes of
the sea, and guide them to the right and left, as the best horseman
governs his steed. Are you a sorcerer, or a being like us?"

"Sir," replied Said, "things have gone very badly with me for the last
few weeks; but if it will please you to hear me, I will relate my
story."

Then he told the three men all of his adventures, from the moment of
leaving his father's house up to his wonderful rescue from the sea. He
was often interrupted by their expressions of astonishment; and when he
had ended, the master of the house, who had received him in so kind a
manner, said: "I trust your words, Said; but you tell us that you won a
medal in the tournament, and that the caliph gave you a ring; can you
show them to us?"

"I have preserved them both upon my heart," said the youth, "and would
sooner have parted with my life than with these precious gifts, for I
esteem it my most valiant and meritorious deed that I freed the caliph
from the hands of his would-be murderers." So saying, he drew from his
bosom the medal and ring, and handed them to the men.

"By the beard of the Prophet! It is he! It is my ring!" cried the tall,
handsome man. "Grand vizier, let us embrace him, for here stands our
savior." To Said it was like a dream. The two men embraced him, and
Said, prostrating himself, said:

"Pardon me, Ruler of the Faithful, that I have spoken so freely before
you, for you can be no other than Haroun-al-Raschid, the great Caliph
of Bagdad."

"I am he, and your friend," replied Haroun; "and from this hour forth,
all your sad misfortunes are at an end. Follow me to Bagdad, remain in
my dominion, and become one of my most trustworthy officers; for you
have shown you were not indifferent to Haroun's fate, though I should
not like to put all of my faithful servants to such a severe test."

Said thanked the caliph, and promised to remain with him,--first
requesting permission to make a visit to his father, who must be
suffering much anxiety on his account; and the caliph thought this just
and commendable. They then mounted horses, and were soon in Bagdad. The
caliph showed Said a long suite of splendidly decorated rooms that he
should have, and, more than that, promised to build a house for his own
use.

At the first information of this event, the old brothers-in-arms of
Said's--the grand vizier's son and the caliph's brother--hastened to
the palace and embraced Said as the deliverer of their noble caliph,
and begged him to become their friend. But they were speechless with
astonishment when Said, drawing forth the prize medal, said: "I have
been your friend for a long time." They had only seen him with his
false beard and dark skin; and when he had related how and why he had
disguised himself--when he had the blunt weapons brought to prove his
story, fought with them, and thus gave them the best proof that he was
the brave Almansor--then did they embrace him with joyful exclamations,
considering themselves fortunate in having such a friend.

The following day, as Said was sitting with the caliph and grand
vizier, Messour, the chamberlain, came in and said: "Ruler of the
Faithful, if there is no objection, I would like to ask a favor of
you."

"I will hear it first," answered Haroun.

"My dear first-cousin, Kalum-Bek, a prominent merchant of the bazar,
stands without," said Messour. "He has had a singular transaction with
a man from Balsora, whose son once worked for Kalum-Bek, but who
afterward stole from him and then ran away, no one knows whither. Now
the father of this youth comes and demands his son of Kalum, who hasn't
him. Kalum therefore begs that you will do him the favor of deciding
between him and this man, by the exercise of your profound wisdom."

"I will judge in the matter," replied the caliph. "In half an hour your
cousin and his opponent may enter the hall of justice."

When Messour had expressed his gratitude and gone out, Haroun said:
"That must be your father. Said; and now that I am so fortunate as to
know your story, I shall judge with the wisdom of Salomo. Conceal
yourself, Said, behind the curtain of my throne; and you, grand vizier,
send at once for that wicked police justice. I shall want his testimony
in this case."

Both did as the caliph ordered. Said's heart beat fast as he saw his
father, pale and stricken with grief, enter the hall of justice with
tottering steps; while Kalum-Bek's smile of assurance, as he whispered
to his cousin, made Said so furious that he had difficulty in
refraining from rushing at him from his place of concealment, as his
greatest sufferings and sorrows had been caused by this cruel man.

There were many people in the hall, all of whom were anxious to hear
the caliph speak. As soon as the Ruler of Bagdad had ascended the
throne, the grand vizier commanded silence, and asked who appeared as
complainant before his master.

Kalum-Bek approached with an impudent air, and said: "A few days ago I
was standing before the door of my shop in the bazar, when a crier,
with a purse in his hand, and with this man walking near him, went
among the booths, shouting: 'A purse of gold to him who can give any
information about Said of Balsora.' This Said had been in my service,
and therefore I cried: 'This way, friend! I can win that purse.' This
man, who is now so hostile to me, came up in a friendly way and asked
me what information I possessed. I answered: 'You must be Benezar,
Said's father.' and when he affirmed that he was, I told him how I had
found the young fellow in the desert, rescued him and restored him to
health, and brought him back with me to Bagdad. In the joy of his heart
he gave me the purse. But when now this unreasonable man heard, as I
went on to tell him, how his son had worked for me, had been guilty of
very wicked acts, had stolen from me and then run away, he would not
believe it, and quarrelled with me for several days, demanding his son
and his money back; and I can not return them both, for the gold is
mine as compensation for the news I furnished him, and I can not
produce his ungrateful son."

It was now Benezar's turn to speak. He described his son, how noble and
good he was, and the impossibility of his ever having become so
degraded as to steal. He requested the caliph to make the most thorough
examination of the case.

"I hope," said Haroun, "that you reported the theft, Kalum-Bek, as was
your duty?"

"Why, certainly!" exclaimed that worthy, smiling. "I took him before
the police justice."

"Let the police justice be brought!" ordered the caliph.

To every body's astonishment, this official appeared as suddenly as if
brought by magic. The caliph asked whether he remembered that Kalum-Bek
had come before him with a young man, and the official replied that he
did.

"Did you listen to the young man; did he confess to the theft?" asked
Haroun.

"No, he was actually so obstinate that he would not confess to any one
but yourself," replied the justice.

"But I don't remember to have seen him," said the caliph.

"But why should you? If I were to listen to them, I should have a whole
pack of such vagabonds to send you every day."

"You know that my ear is open for every one," replied Haroun; "but
perhaps the proofs of the theft were so clear that it was not necessary
to bring the young man into my presence. You had witnesses, I suppose,
Kalum, that the money found on this young man belonged to you?"

"Witnesses?" repeated Kalum, turning pale; "no, I did not have any
witnesses, for you know, Ruler of the Faithful, that one gold piece
looks just like another. Where, then, should I get witnesses to testify
that these one hundred gold pieces are the same that were missing from
my cash-box."

"How, then, can you tell that that particular money belonged to you?"
asked the caliph.

"By the purse," replied Kalum.

"Have you the purse here?" continued the caliph.

"Here it is," said the merchant, drawing out a purse which he handed to
the vizier to give to the caliph.

But the vizier cried with feigned surprise: "By the beard of the
Prophet! Do you claim the purse, you dog? Why it is my own purse, and I
gave it filled with a hundred gold pieces, to a brave young man who
rescued me from a great danger."

"Can you swear to that?" asked the caliph.

"As surely as that I shall some time be in paradise," answered the
vizier, "for my daughter made the purse with her own hands."

"Why, look you then, police Justice!" cried Haroun, "you were falsely
advised. Why did you believe that the purse belonged to this merchant?"

"He swore to it," replied the justice, humbly.

"Then you swore falsely?" thundered the caliph, as the merchant, pale
and trembling, stood before him.

"Allah, Allah!" cried Kalum. "I certainly don't want to dispute the
grand vizier's word; he is a truthful man, but alas! the purse does
belong to me and that rascal of a Said stole it. I would give a
thousand tomans if he was in this room now."

"What did you do with this Said?" asked the caliph. "Speak up! where
shall we have to send for him, that he may come and make confession
before me?"

"I banished him to a desert island," said the police justice.

"O Said! my son, my son!" cried the unhappy father.

"Indeed, then he acknowledged the crime, did he?" inquired Haroun.

The police justice turned pale. He rolled his eyes about restlessly,
and finally said: "If I remember rightly--yes."

"You are not certain about it, then?" continued the caliph in a
terrible voice; "then we will ask the young man himself. Step forth,
Said, and you Kalum-Bek, to begin with, will count out one thousand
gold pieces, as Said is now in the room."

Kalum and the police justice thought it was a ghost that stood before
them. They prostrated themselves and cried: "Mercy! Mercy!" Benezar,
half-fainting with joy, fell into the arms of his long-lost son. But,
with great severity of manner, the caliph said: "Police Justice, here
stands Said; did he confess?"

"No," whined the justice; "I listened only to Kalum's testimony,
because he was a respectable man."

"Did I place you as a judge over all that you might listen only to the
people of rank?" demanded Haroun-al-Raschid, with noble scorn. "I will
banish you for ten years to a desert island in the middle of the sea;
there you can reflect on justice. And you, miserable wretch, who bring
the dying back to life, not in order to rescue them, but to make them
your slaves--you will pay down, as I said before, the thousand tomans
that you promised if Said were only present to be called as witness."

Kalum congratulated himself at having got out of a very bad scrape so
easily, and was just going to thank the kind caliph, when Haroun
continued: "For the perjury you committed about the hundred gold
pieces, you will receive a hundred lashes on the soles of your feet.
Further than this Said will have the choice of taking your shop and its
contents and you as a porter, or of contenting himself with ten gold
pieces for every day's work he did for you."

"Let the wretch go, Caliph!" cried the youth; "I would not take
anything that ever belonged to him."

"No," replied Haroun, "I prefer that you should be compensated. I will
choose for you the ten gold pieces a day, and you can reckon up how
many days you were in his claws. Away with this wretch!"

The two offenders were led away, and the caliph conducted Benezar and
Said to another apartment, where he related to Benezar his rescue by
Said, interrupted by the shrieks of Kalum-Bek, upon the soles of whose
feet a hundred gold pieces of full weight were being counted out.

The caliph invited Benezar to come to Bagdad and live with him and
Said. Benezar consented, and made only one more journey home in order
to fetch his large possessions. Said lived in the palace which the
grateful caliph built for him, like a prince. The caliph's brother and
grand vizier's son were his constant companions; and it soon became a
proverb in Bagdad: "I would that I were as good and as fortunate as
Said, the son of Benezar."



"I could keep awake for two or three nights without experiencing the
least sensation of sleepiness, with such entertainment," said
the compass-maker, when the huntsman had concluded. "And I have
often proved the truth of what I say. I was once apprentice to a
bell-founder. The master was a rich man and no miser, and therefore our
wonder was all the more aroused on a certain occasion, when we had a
big job on hand, by a display of parsimony on his part. A bell was
being cast for a new church, and we apprentices had to sit up all night
and keep the fire up. We did not doubt that the master would tap a cask
of the best wine for us. But we were mistaken. He began to talk about
his travels, and to tell all manner of stories of his life; then the
head apprentice's turn came, and so on through the whole row of us, and
none of us got sleepy, so intent were we all in listening. Before we
knew it, day was at hand. Then we perceived the master's stratagem of
keeping us awake by telling stories; for when the bell was done he did
not spare his wine, but brought out what he had wisely saved on those
nights."

"He was a sensible man," said the student. "There is no remedy for
sleepiness like conversation. And I should not have cared to sit alone
to-night, for about eleven o'clock I should have succumbed to sleep."

"The peasantry have found that out also," said the huntsman. "In
the long Winter evenings the women and girls do not remain alone at
home to spin, lest they should fall asleep in the middle of their task;
but a large number of them meet together, in a well-lighted room, and
tell stories over their work."

"Yes," added the wagoner, "and their stories are often of a kind to
make one shudder, for they talk about ghosts that walk the earth,
goblins that create a hubbub in their rooms at night, and spirits that
torment men and cattle."

"They don't entertain themselves very well then, I fear," said the
student. "For my part, I confess that there is nothing so displeasing
to me as ghost stories."

"I don't agree with you at all," cried the compass-maker. "I find a
story that causes one to shudder very entertaining. It is just like a
rain-storm when one is sheltered under the roof. He hears the drops
_tick-tack_, _tick-tack_, on the tiles, and then run off in streams,
while he lies warm and dry in bed. So when one listens to ghost stories
in a lighted room, with plenty of company, he feels safe and at ease."

"But how is it afterwards?" asked the student. "When one has listened
who shares in this silly belief in ghosts, will he not tremble when he
is alone again and in the dark? Will he not recall all the horrible
things he has heard? I can even now work myself into quite a rage over
these ghost stories, when I think of my childhood. I was a cheerful,
lively boy, but perhaps somewhat noisier than was agreeable to my
nurse, who could not think of any other means to quiet me than of
giving me a fright. She told me all sorts of horrible stories about
witches and evil spirits who haunted the house. I was too young then to
know that all these stories were untrue. I was not afraid of the
largest hound, could throw every one of my companions; but whenever I
was alone in the dark, I would shut my eyes in terror. I would not go
outside the door alone after dark without a light; and how often did my
father punish me when he noticed my conduct! But for a long time I
could not free my mind from this childish fear, for which my foolish
nurse was wholly to blame."

"Yes, it is a great mistake," observed the huntsman, "to fill a child's
head with such absurdities. I can answer you that I have known brave,
daring men, huntsmen, who did not fear to encounter several of their
foes at once--who, when they were searching for game at night, or on
the lookout for poachers, would, all of a sudden, lose their courage,
taking a tree for a ghost, a bush for a witch, and a pair of fire-flies
for the eyes of a monster that was lurking for them in the dark."

"And it is not only for children," said the student, "that I hold
entertainment of that kind to be in the highest degree hurtful and
foolish, but for every body; for what intelligent person could amuse
himself with the doings and sayings of things that exist only in the
brain of a fool? There is where the ghost walks, and nowhere else. But
these stories do the most harm among the country people. Their faith in
absurdities of this kind is firm and unwavering, and this belief is
nourished in the inns and spinning rooms, where they huddle close
together and in a timid tone relate the most horrible stories they can
call to mind."

"Yes," responded the wagoner; "many a misfortune has occurred through
these stories, and, indeed, my own sister lost her life thereby."

"How was that? Through these ghost stories, did you say?" exclaimed the
men, in surprise.

"Yes, certainly, by such stories," continued the wagoner. "In the
village where our father lived it was the custom for the wives and
maidens to get together with their spinning on a Winter's evening. The
young men would also be there and tell many stories. So it happened
that one evening when they were speaking about ghosts, the young men
told about an old store-keeper who died ten years before, but found no
rest in his grave. Every night he would throw up the earth, rise from
his grave, steal slowly along to his store, coughing as was his wont in
life, and there weigh out sugar and coffee, mumbling meanwhile:

           "Twelve ounces, twelve ounces, at dark midnight,
            Equal sixteen, in broad daylight.

"Many claimed that they had seen him, and the maids and wives got quite
frightened. But my sister, a girl of sixteen, wishing to show that she
was less foolish than the others, said: 'I don't believe a word of
that; he who is once dead never comes back!' She said this,
unfortunately, without a conviction of its truth, for she had been
frightened many times herself. Thereupon one of the young people said:
'If you believe that, then you would have no reason to be afraid of
him; his grave is only two paces from that of Kate's, who recently
died. If you dare, go to the church-yard, pick a flower from Kate's
grave, and bring it to us; then we will begin to believe that you are
not afraid of the store-keeper's ghost. My sister was ashamed of being
laughed at by the others, therefore she said: 'Oh, that's easy enough;
what kind of a flower do you want?' 'The only white rose in the village
blooms there; so bring us a bunch of those,' answered one of her
friends. She got up and went out, and all the men praised her spirit;
but the women shook their heads and said: 'If it only ends well!' My
sister passed on to the cemetery; the moon shone brightly, but she
began to tremble as the clock struck twelve while she was opening the
church-yard gate. She clambered over many mounds which she knew, and
her heart beat faster and faster the nearer she came to Kate's white
rose bush and the ghostly store-keeper's grave. At last she reached it,
and kneeled down, trembling with fear, to pluck some roses. Just then
she thought she heard a noise close by; she turned around, and saw the
earth flying out of a grave two steps away from her, and a form
straightened itself up slowly in the grave. It was that of an old,
pale-faced man, with a white night-cap on his head. My sister was
greatly frightened; she turned to look once more to make sure that she
had seen aright; but when the man in the grave began to say, in a nasal
tone: 'Good evening, Miss! where do you come from so late?' she was
seized with a deathly terror, and collecting all her strength, she
sprang over the graves, ran to the house she had just left, and
breathlessly related what she had seen; then she became so weak that
she had to be carried home. Of what use was it that we found out the
next day that it was the grave-digger who was making a grave there, and
who had spoken to my poor sister? Before she could comprehend this she
had fallen into a high fever, of which she died three days afterwards.
She had gathered the roses for her own burial wreath."

A tear dropped from the wagoner's eye as he concluded, while the others
regarded him with sympathy.

"So the poor child died in this implicit faith," said the young
goldsmith. "I recollect a legend in that connection, which I should
like to tell you, and that unfortunately is connected with such a
tragedy."



                         THE CAVE OF STEENFOLL.

                           A SCOTTISH LEGEND.

On one of Scotland's rocky islands, there dwelt many years ago, two
fishermen, who lived in complete harmony. Both were unmarried; neither
of them had any relatives living; and their common labor, although
differently directed, sufficed to support them both. They were of about
the same age, but in person and disposition they resembled each other
as little as do an eagle and a sea-calf.

Kaspar Strumpf was a short, stout man, with a broad, fat, full-moon
face, and good-natured, laughing eyes, to which sorrow and care
appeared to be strangers. He was not only fat, but sleepy and lazy as
well; and therefore the house work, cooking and baking, and repairing
of nets for the capture of fish for their own table and for the market,
devolved on him, as well as a large part of the cultivation of the
small field attached to their cabin. Quite the opposite was his
companion--tall and lank, with Roman nose and keen eyes; he was known
as the most industrious and luckiest fisherman, the most daring
cliff-climber after birds and down, the hardest field worker, on the
whole island. Besides all this, he was considered the keenest trader on
the Kirkwall market; but as his wares were good, and his transactions
above reproach, every one dealt willingly with him. Thus William Falcon
and Kaspar Strumpf--with whom the former, avaricious as he was, freely
divided his hardly-earned gains--not only made a good living, but were
in a fair way of acquiring a certain degree of wealth. But a competence
would not satisfy Falcon's covetous soul; he wanted to be rich,
extremely rich, and as he had already found out that riches accumulate
but slowly in the usual course of industry, he at last settled into the
conviction that he should have to attain his riches through some
extraordinary stroke of fortune. When this idea had once taken
possession of his mind, there was no room left for any thing else, and
he began to talk this shadowy windfall over with Kaspar Strumpf, as
though it had already come to pass. Kaspar, who received everything
that Falcon said as scripture, repeated all this to his neighbors: and
so the report was spread abroad that William Falcon had either sold his
soul to the evil one, or had at least received an offer for it from the
prince of the infernal regions.

At first, these reports caused much amusement to Falcon; but gradually
he began to entertain the notion that a spirit might sometime reveal a
treasure to him, and he no longer contradicted his acquaintances when
they twitted him on the subject. He continued his usual occupations,
but with far less zeal than before, and often consumed a great part of
the time, that he had formerly passed in fishing or other useful
avocations, in idle search for some kind of an adventure by which he
should suddenly become rich. To still further complete this unfortunate
tendency of his mind, it happened that as he was standing one day on
the lonely sea-shore, looking out on the restless sea as if he were
expecting his good fortune would come from thence, a large wave rolled
a yellow ball to his feet amongst a mass of moss and loosened stone--a
ball of gold!

Falcon stood as if bewitched. His hopes, then, had not been
unsubstantial dreams; the sea had given him gold, beautiful shining
gold, the fragment probably of a heavy bar of gold which the sea had
rolled on its bottom into the size and shape of a musket ball. And now
it was clear to his mind that somewhere on this coast there must have
been a treasure ship wrecked, and that he had been selected as the
chosen one to raise this buried treasure from the sea. From this time
forth, this search for treasure became the passion of his life. He
strove to conceal the golden nugget even from his friend, so that
others might not discover his purpose. He neglected everything else,
and spent his days and nights on this coast, not casting his net for
fishes, but throwing out a scoop, that he had specially prepared for
the purpose, for gold.

But he found poverty instead of wealth; for he earned nothing now
himself, and Kaspar's sleepy efforts would not support them both. In
the search for the larger mass of gold, not only the nugget was used
up, but the entire property of the two men as well. But as Strumpf had
formerly received the largest part of his living by Falcon's efforts,
taking it all as a matter of course, so now he looked on the profitless
undertaking of his friend silently and without a murmur; and it was
just this meek forbearance on the part of his friend that spurred
Falcon on to continue his restless search for wealth. But what made him
still more active in his search was, that as often as he laid down to
rest and closed his eyes in sleep, a word was sounded in his ear that
he seemed to have heard very plainly, and that always appeared to be
the same word, and yet he could never recall it. To be sure, he did not
see what connection this circumstance, singular as it was, might have
with his present purpose; but upon a spirit like William Falcon's
everything made an impression, and even this mysterious whisper helped
to strengthen his belief that great good luck was in store for him,
which he expected to find only in a heap of gold.

One day he was surprised by a storm on the shore in the same place
where he had found the nugget, and he was forced to take refuge from
its fury in a cave near by. This cave, which the inhabitants called the
cave of Steenfoll, consists of a long underground passage opening on
the sea, with two entrances, and permitting a free passage of the waves
that were continually foaming through them with a loud roar. This cave
could be entered only from one place--through a fissure from above,
that was but seldom approached except by venturesome boys, as in
addition to the natural dangers of the spot, the cavern was reported to
be haunted. Falcon let himself down through this opening with some
difficulty, for about twelve feet, and took a seat on a projecting
piece of rock beneath an overhanging ledge, where, with the roaring
waves beneath his feet and the raging storm above his head, he fell
into his usual train of thought about the wrecked ship and what kind of
a ship it might have been; for in spite of all his inquiries, he could
not obtain any information of a vessel having been wrecked on this
spot, even from the oldest inhabitants. How long he sat thus he did not
know himself; but when he finally awoke from his reveries, he found
that the storm was over, and he was about to clamber up again, when a
voice from out of the depths pronounced the word "_Car-milhan_" very
distinctly. He climbed up to the top again, and looked down into the
abyss once more in great terror. "Great Heavens!" exclaimed he, "that
is the word that disturbs my sleep! What does it mean?" "_Carmilhan!_"
was the sighing response that came once more from the cave; and he fled
to his hut like a frightened deer.

Falcon was no coward; his fright was more from surprise than fear; and,
more than this, the greed for gold was too powerful in him to allow of
his being easily driven from his dangerous path. Once, as he was
fishing with his scoop for treasure by moonlight, opposite the cave of
Steenfoll, his scoop caught on something. He pulled with all his
strength, but the mass was immovable. In the meantime the wind had
risen, dark clouds overcast the sky, the boat rocked and threatened to
turn over; but Falcon did not lose his presence of mind; he pulled and
pulled at his scoop until the resistance ceased, and as he felt no
weight he concluded that his rope had broken. But just as the clouds
were about to obscure the moon's light, a round, black mass appeared on
the surface of the water, and the word that haunted him, "_Carmilhan_,"
was spoken. He made a quick effort to seize the object; but as soon as
he stretched out his arm it disappeared in the darkness, and the coming
storm forced him to seek protection under the rocks near by. Here,
overcome by exhaustion, he fell asleep, only to be tormented in dreams
by an unbridled imagination, and to suffer anew the pangs experienced
in his waking hours, caused by his restless search for wealth.

When Falcon waked, the first rays of the rising sun fell upon the bosom
of the sea, as smooth now as a mirror. He was just about to set out on
his accustomed work, when he saw something coming towards him from the
distance. He soon recognized it as a boat. Within it sat a human
figure; but what aroused his greatest astonishment was that the vessel
came on without the aid of sail or oar, and its prow pointed for land
without the person sitting in the boat paying any attention to the
rudder, if there were one. The boat came nearer, and finally stopped
near William's boat. Its occupant proved to be a little dried-up old
man, dressed in yellow linen, and wearing a red peaked night-cap. His
eyes were closed, and he sat as motionless as a mummy. After vainly
shouting at him and jarring the boat. Falcon was in the act of making a
line fast to the boat to tow it off, when the little man opened his
eyes, and began to bestir himself in such a manner as to fill even the
bold fisherman's mind with dread.

"Where am I?" asked he in Dutch, after a deep sigh. Falcon who had
learned something of that language from the Dutch herring-fishermen,
told him the name of the island, and inquired who he was and what
errand brought him here.

"I have come to look for the _Carmilhan_."

"The _Carmilhan_? for Heaven's sake, what is that?" cried the curious
fisherman.

"I won't give an answer to questions addressed to me in such a manner,"
replied the little man.

"Well then," shouted Falcon, "what is the _Carmilhan_?"

"The _Carmilhan_ is nothing now; but once it was a beautiful ship,
carrying more gold than ever a vessel carried before."

"Where was it wrecked, and when?"

"It was a hundred years ago; where, I do not know exactly. I come to
search for the spot and recover the lost gold; if you will help me we
will divide what we find."

"With my whole heart; only tell me what I must do."

"What you will have to do requires courage. You must go just before
midnight to the wildest and loneliest region on the island, leading a
cow, which you must slaughter there, and get some one to wrap you up in
the cow's fresh hide. Your companion must then lay you down and leave
you alone, and before it strikes one o'clock you will know where the
treasures of the _Carmilhan_ lies."

"It was in just such a way that old Engrol was destroyed, body and
soul!" cried Falcon, with horror. "You are the evil one himself,"
continued he as he rowed quickly away. "Go back to hell! I won't have
anything to do with you."

The little man gnashed his teeth, and cursed him; but Falcon, who had
seized both oars, was soon out of hearing, and on turning round a rocky
promontory was out of sight as well.

But the discovery that the evil one was taking advantage of his avarice
by seeking to ensnare him with gold, did not open the eyes of the
blinded fisherman, but on the contrary he determined to make use of the
information the little man had given him, without putting himself in
the power of the evil one. So while he continued to fish for gold on
the desolate coast, he neglected the prosperity offered by large
schools of fish off other parts of the coast as well as all other
expedients to which he had once turned his attention, and sank with his
companion into deeper poverty from day to day, until the common
necessaries of life began to fail them. But although this ruin might be
wholly ascribed to Falcon's obstinacy and cupidity, and the maintenance
of both had fallen on Kaspar Strumpf alone, yet the latter never once
reproached his companion, but on the other hand continued to display
the same subjection to him, and the same confidence in his superior
understanding, as at the time when everyone of his undertakings was
successful. This circumstance increased Falcon's sorrows not a little,
but drove him into a still keener search for gold, hoping thereby soon
to be able to indemnify his companion for so great forbearance. The
word _Carmilhan_ still haunted him in his sleep. In short, need,
disappointed hopes, and avarice, drove him finally into a species of
insanity, so that he really resolved to do that which the little man
had advised--although knowing that, as the legend ran, he thereby gave
himself up to the powers of darkness.

Kaspar's objections were all in vain. Falcon became the more
determined, the more Kaspar besought him to give up his desperate
purpose; and finally the good, weak-minded fellow consented to
accompany him and assist him in carrying out his plan. The hearts of
both men were saddened, as they tied a rope to the horns of a beautiful
cow that they had owned since she was a calf, and that was now their
last piece of property; they had often refused to sell her before,
because they could not bear the thought of letting her go into strange
hands. But the evil spirit that now controlled Falcon's actions
triumphed over his better nature; nor did Kaspar know how to restrain
him in anything.

It was now September, and the long nights of the Scottish Winter had
already begun. The night clouds were driven along before the raw night
wind, and were banked up in masses like icebergs. Deep shadows filled
the ravines between the mountains and the peat-bogs, and the troubled
channels of the streams appeared black and fearful. Falcon led the way
and Strumpf followed, shuddering at his own boldness. Tears filled
Kaspar's eyes as often as he looked at the poor creature that was going
so unconsciously and trustfully to its death, to be dealt it by the
hand that had always fed and caressed it.

With much difficulty they entered a narrow marshy valley, which was
here and there strewn with rocks, with patches of moss and heathers,
and was shut in by a chain of wild mountains whose outlines were lost
in a gray mist, and whose steep sides had seldom been ascended by a
human foot. They approached a large rock in the centre of the valley
over the shaking bog, from which a frightened eagle flew screaming into
the sky. The poor cow lowed, as if aware of the terrors of the place
and the fate that awaited her. Kaspar turned aside to wipe away
the fast falling tears. He looked down to the rocky opening through
which they had come, from which point could be heard the breakers on
the distant coast, and then up to the mountain peaks, upon which a
coal-black cloud had settled, from which might be heard from time to
time dull mutterings of thunder. As he looked toward Falcon he found
that his friend had made the cow fast to the rock, and now stood with
uplifted ax in the very act of dealing her death blow.

This was too much for Kaspar. Wringing his hands, he fell upon his
knees. "For God's sake, William Falcon!" shouted he in despairing
tones, "save yourself! Spare the cow! Save yourself and me! Save your
soul! Save your life! And if you will persist in tempting God, wait at
least until to-morrow and sacrifice some other animal than our own
cow!"

"Kaspar, are you crazy?" shrieked Falcon, like a madman, while he still
held the ax swinging in the air. "Shall I spare the cow and starve?"

"You shall not starve," answered Kaspar, resolutely. "As long as I have
hands you shall not suffer hunger. I will work for you day and night,
so that you do not endanger the peace of your soul, and let the poor
creature live for my sake!"

"Then take the ax and split my head!" shouted Falcon, in desperation.
"I won't move from this spot until I have what I desire. Can you raise
the treasures of the _Carmilhan_ for me? Can your hands earn more than
the merest necessaries of life? But you can put an end to my misery.
Come, and let me be the victim!"

"William, kill the cow, kill me! It does not matter to me, I was only
anxious about the salvation of your soul. Alas! this was the altar of
the Picts, and the sacrifice that you would bring belongs to the
darkness."

"I don't know anything about that," cried Falcon, laughing wildly, like
one who is resolved not to listen to anything that might swerve him
from his purpose. "Kaspar, you are crazy and make me crazy, too. But
there," continued he, throwing away the ax and picking up his knife
from the stone as if about to stab himself; "there, I will kill myself
instead of the cow!"

Kaspar was at his side in a twinkling, tore the murderous weapon from
his hand, seized the ax, poised it high in the air, and brought it down
with such a force on the poor cow's head, that she fell dead at her
master's feet.

A flash of lightning, accompanied by a peal of thunder, followed this
rash act, and Falcon stared at his friend in astonishment. But Strumpf
was disturbed neither by the thunder-clap nor by the fixed stare of his
companion; and without speaking a word, fell to work at removing the
hide. When Falcon had recovered from his amazement, he assisted his
companion at this task, but with as evident aversion as he had before
manifested eagerness to see the sacrifice completed. During their work
the thunder-storm had gathered, the thunder reverberated among the
mountains, and fearful flashes played about the rock; while the wind
roared through the lower valleys and along the coast. And when at last
the two fishermen had stripped the hide off, they found that they were
wet through to the skin. They spread the hide out on the ground, and
Kaspar wrapped and tied Falcon up in it. Then, for the first time, when
all this was done, poor Kaspar broke the long silence by saying in a
trembling voice, as he looked down at his deluded friend: "Can I do
anything more for you, William?"

"Nothing more," replied the other; "farewell!"

"Farewell," responded Kaspar. "God be with you, and pardon you, as I
do."

These were the last words Falcon heard from him, for Kaspar disappeared
in the darkness; and immediately thereafter the most terrible
thunder-storm occurred that William had ever experienced. It began with
a flash, that revealed to Falcon's sight not only the mountains and
rocks in his immediate vicinity, but also the valley below, with the
foaming sea and the rocky islets in the bay, between which he thought
he had a vision of a large foreign ship, dismasted; though the sight
was instantly lost again in the inky darkness. The thunder-claps were
deafening. A mass of splintered rock rolled down the mountain-side and
threatened to crush him. The rain poured down in such torrents that the
narrow, marshy valley was flooded with a stream that soon reached to
Falcon's shoulders; fortunately Kaspar had laid him with the upper part
of his body on a slight elevation, else he would surely have drowned.
The water rose still higher, and the more Falcon exerted himself to get
out of his dangerous situation, the tighter did the hide seem to wrap
itself about his limbs. All in vain did he call for Kaspar. Kaspar was
far away. He did not dare to call on God in his distress, and a shudder
ran through his frame whenever he thought of appealing for assistance
to the powers into whose clutches he was conscious of having delivered
himself.

Already the water crept into his ears; now it touched the edge of his
lips. "Oh, God! I am lost!" screamed he, as he felt the water sweep
over his face; but in the same instant the sound of a waterfall close
by came dimly to his ears, and his face was immediately uncovered. The
flood had forced a passage through the stone; and as the rain slackened
and the sky grew lighter, so did his despair abate, and a ray of hope
returned to his mind. But although he felt as exhausted as if just
emerged from a death-struggle, and ardently wished to be released from
his imprisonment, still the purpose of his desperate efforts was not
yet accomplished, and with the vanishing of immediate deadly peril, the
demon of greed returned to his breast. But, convinced that he must
remain in his present situation in order to attain his end, he kept
very quiet, and finally, overcome by cold and exhaustion, fell into a
sound sleep.

He might have slept two hours, when a cold wind blowing over his face,
and a roaring, as of oncoming waves, aroused him from his happy state
of oblivion. The sky was darkened anew. A flash, like that which had
ushered in the first storm, lighted up once more the surrounding
region, and he fancied he had another vision of the strange ship, that
was now poised for an instant on the crest of an enormous wave close to
the Steenfoll cliffs, and then appeared to shoot suddenly into the
rocky chasm. He continued to stare after the phantom, as the sea was
now illuminated by unceasing flashes of lightning, when suddenly a
water-spout rose from the valley, near where he lay, and dashed him so
violently against a rock as to deprive him of his senses. When he
recovered consciousness, the weather had cleared, the sky was bright,
but the lightning still continued.

He lay close at the base of the mountains that shut in this valley,
feeling so badly bruised that he had no desire to stir. He heard the
quieter beating of the surf, mingled with a solemn melody like that of
a psalm. These tones were at first so faint that he thought they must
be an illusion; but they occurred again and again, each time clearer
and nearer, and at last he thought he could distinguish the melody of a
psalm which he had heard on board a Dutch fishing-smack the Summer
before. Finally he could also make out voices, and he seemed to be able
to distinguish the words of the song. The voices were now in the
valley, and he pushed himself, with difficulty, to a stone, upon which
he raised his head, and perceived a procession of human figures,
evidently the singers he had heard, and who were coming directly
towards him. Care and grief were expressed on the faces of these
people; and water was dripping from their clothes. Now they were close
to him, and their song ceased. At their head were several musicians;
then followed some seamen, and after these came a tall and strong man
in a costume richly decorated with gold, apparently belonging to a past
age. A sword hung at his side, and he carried in his hand a stout
Spanish cane with a gold head. At his left side walked a negro boy,
who, from time to time, handed his master a long-stemmed pipe, from
which the latter would take several grave puffs and then walk on. He
stopped bolt upright before Falcon, while other men, less splendidly
dressed, ranged themselves on either side of him. They all had pipes in
their hands, not, however, as costly as that of their leader. Behind
them came still other persons, among them being several women, some of
whom had children in their arms or at their apron-strings, and all in
costly foreign costumes. A crowd of Dutch sailors brought up the rear
of the procession, each one having a quid of tobacco in his mouth, and
holding between his teeth a little cutty-pipe, which he smoked in
gloomy silence.

The fisherman shuddered as he looked at this singular assembly; but his
expectation that something would come of it all kept his courage up.
For some time the strange people stood around him thus, and the smoke
from their pipes floated over them like a cloud, through which peeped
the stars. The men closed in on Falcon in an ever-narrowing circle; the
smoking became more and more vehement, and the clouds that arose from
pipe and mouth increased in density.

Falcon was a bold, daring man; he had prepared himself beforehand for
extraordinary occurrences; but when he saw this innumerable crowd
pressing in on him as if to crush him by their numbers, his courage
failed him, great drops of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he
thought he would perish in a spasm of fright. But one may imagine his
horror when, as he chanced to turn his eyes, he saw, sitting motionless
and erect, close by his head, the little old man in the yellow linen
suit, looking just as he had the first time except that now, as if
making fun of the whole assembly, he, too, had a pipe in his mouth. In
the mortal fright that now took possession of him, Falcon cried out to
the leader of this assembly:

"In the name of whomsoever you serve, who are you? and what do you want
with me?"

The tall man drew three whiffs, even more gravely than before; then
gave the pipe to his servant and answered very coldly:

"I am Alfred Frank van Swelder, commander of the ship _Carmilhan_, of
Amsterdam, which, on the voyage home from Batavia, went to the bottom
with man and mouse on this rocky coast. These are my officers, those my
passengers, and beyond, my brave crew who were all drowned with me. Why
have you summoned us from our dwellings deep in the sea? Why do you
disturb our rest?"

"I wish to know where the treasure of the _Carmilhan_ lies."

"On the bottom of the sea."

"Where?"

"In the cave of Steenfoll."

"How can I recover it?"

"A goose dives into the abyss for a herring; is not the treasure of the
_Carmilhan_ of as much value?"

"How much of it shall I recover?"

"More than you will ever spend."

The little man in yellow grinned horribly at this reply, while all the
others laughed aloud.

"Are you through?" inquired the commander, further.

"I am. Farewell!"

"Farewell, until we meet again!" replied the Dutchman, and turned to
go; the musicians took the lead again, and the whole procession marched
away in the same order in which it had come, and with the same solemn
song, which grew ever fainter and fainter in the distance, until
finally it was lost in the roar of the breakers.

Falcon now exerted his utmost strength to get out of the hide, and he
at last succeeded in freeing one arm, with which he was able to loosen
the rope that was wound round him, and soon had stepped out of the
hide. Without stopping to look about him, he hastened down to his hut,
and found poor Kaspar Strumpf lying on the ground in an insensible
condition. With some difficulty he restored him to consciousness, and
the good fellow shed tears of joy on once more beholding the friend of
his youth, whom he had given up for lost. But this happy consolation
vanished quickly, when he learned what a desperate undertaking Falcon
now had in mind.

"I would rather cast myself into hell than to look any longer at these
bare walls and reflect on our misery. Follow me, or stay here; I am
going at any rate."

[Illustration]

With these words. Falcon seized a torch, a tinder-box, and a rope, and
hastened away. Kaspar ran after him as fast as he could, and found his
friend standing on the ledge of the rock upon which he had once sought
safety from the storm, and ready to let himself down into the raging
abyss. When Kaspar found that his entreaties had no effect on the
crazed man, he prepared to descend after him; but Falcon ordered him to
remain where he was and hold on to the rope. With an amount of exertion
that could only have been supplied by the blindest of passions, greed,
Falcon clambered down into the cave, and at last came to a projecting
piece of rock, just below which the black waves, crested with foam,
rushed along with a dreadful roar. He looked about him eagerly, and
finally saw something glistening in the water directly beneath where he
stood. He laid down his torch, plunged in, and seized a heavy object
which he managed to bring back with him. It was an iron box filled with
gold pieces. He shouted up to his companion what he had found; but he
would not pay the least attention to Kaspar's entreaties to content
himself with what he had. Falcon believed that this was only the first
fruit of his long endeavors. He plunged into the waves once more--a
peal of laughter arose from the sea, and William Falcon was never seen
again.

Kaspar went back to the hut, but as a changed man. The strange shocks
which his weak head and sensitive heart had experienced, wrecked his
mind. He wandered about, day and night, staring before him in an
imbecile way, pitied and yet avoided by all his former acquaintances.
One stormy night a fisherman claimed to have recognized William Falcon
on the shore among the crew of the _Carmilhan_, and on that same night
Kaspar Strumpf disappeared. He was sought for every-where, but no trace
of him was ever found; but the legend runs that he has often been seen,
together with Falcon, among the crew of the spectre ship, which since
his loss appears at stated times at the cave of Steenfoll.



"It is long past midnight," said the student, when the young goldsmith
had concluded his story; "there cannot well be any further danger, and
I, for my part, am so sleepy that I would advise that we all lay down
and go to sleep with a sense of perfect security."

"I should not feel safe before two o'clock in the morning," said the
huntsman; "the proverb says, from eleven till two is the thief's hour."

"I am of the same opinion," observed the compass-maker; "for if they
mean us any harm, there is certainly no time so well adapted to their
purpose as the small hours. Therefore, I think it would be well if the
student were to continue his story, which he did not finish."

"I will not refuse your request," responded the student, "although our
neighbor, the huntsman, did not hear the beginning of it."

"I will try to imagine it, only go on," replied the huntsman.

"Well then,"--the student had just begun, when they were interrupted by
the barking of a dog. All held their breaths and listened. At the same
instant one of the servants rushed in from the countess's room, and
announced that from ten to twelve armed men were approaching the inn.

The huntsman seized his rifle, the student his pistol, the journeymen
their canes, while the wagoner drew a large knife from his pocket. Thus
they stood staring at one another helplessly.

"Let us station ourselves at the head of the stairs!" cried the
student. "Two or three of these villains shall meet their death before
we are overpowered." So saying he gave the compass-maker his other
pistol, with the understanding that they should fire one after the
other. They took their places on the stairs--the student and the
huntsman first, and near them the courageous compass-maker, who kept
his pistol pointed down the centre of the stair-way. The goldsmith and
the wagoner stood behind them, ready to do their best if it should come
to a hand-to-hand fight.

They had stood thus but a few moments, when the house-door opened, and
they heard several voices whispering.

Now they heard the steps of many men nearing the stair-way. The steps
came up the stairs, and when about half way up three men were made out,
who were evidently not prepared for the reception that awaited them. As
they turned round the pillar that supported the flooring above, the
huntsman called out: "Halt! One step further, and you are dead men.
Cock your guns, friends, and take good aim!"

The robbers shrank back; returned hastily to their companions below,
and conferred with them. After a while one of them came back and said:
"Gentlemen, it would be folly in you to sacrifice your lives for
nothing; for there are enough of us to completely destroy you; but
return to your rooms and not one of you shall be harmed in the least,
nor will we take a farthing from you."

"What is your purpose, then?" demanded the student. "Do you think we
will trust such villains as you? No indeed! If you have any business
with us, come on, in God's name; but the first one who ventures up here
I will brand on the forehead so that he will never suffer from headache
again!"

"Surrender the lady to us then," answered the robber. "She shall not
suffer harm; we will merely conduct her to a safe place, where she can
remain in comfort, while her servants return to the count and inform
him that he can ransom her for twenty thousand guldens!"

"Shall we listen to such propositions?" exclaimed the huntsman, furious
with rage as he cocked his gun. "I will count three, and if you are not
off before I say three, I will pull the trigger! One, two--"

"Hold!" shouted the robber in a tone of command. "Is it customary to
shoot at an unarmed man, who is holding a friendly parley with you?
Foolish fellow, you might shoot me dead, and after all not perform a
very heroic deed; but here stand twenty of my comrades who would avenge
me. How would it benefit your lady countess if you lay dead or stunned
on the floor? Believe me, if she will go with us without offering
resistance she shall be treated with every consideration, but if you
don't put down your gun before I have counted three, it shall fare hard
with her. Put down your gun!--One, two, three!"

"These dogs are not to be trifled with," whispered the huntsman to his
companion, as he obeyed the robber's command. "Really I am not afraid
of my own life, but if I were to shoot down one of them, it might be so
much the worse for my lady. I will consult with the countess." Then
turning to the robber he continued: "Give us a truce of half an hour in
order to prepare the countess. It would kill her if she were to be
informed of this suddenly."

"Granted," replied the robber, at the same time stationing a guard of
six men on the stair-case.

Bewildered and irresolute, the unfortunate travellers followed the
huntsman to the countess's chamber, which was close to the stairs, and
so loudly had the men spoken that the lady had not missed a word of
what had been said. She was pale, and trembled violently, but
nevertheless was firmly resolved to accept her fate.

"Why should I jeopardize the lives of so many brave men?" said she.
"Why demand of you, to whom I am a stranger, an idle defence? No; I see
no other chance of rescue than to follow these wretches."

All were impressed by the lady's spirit and misfortune. The huntsman
wept, and swore that he could not survive this disgrace. The student
reviled himself and his stature of six feet. "If I were only half a
head shorter and had no beard," said he, "I should know how to act; I
would dress myself in the lady countess's clothes, and these wretches
should find out only too late what a blunder they had made."

Felix also had been deeply moved by the lady's misfortune. Her whole
presence came so familiarly and affectingly before him, that it seemed
to him as if the mother whom he had lost in his youth was now in this
terrible situation. He would cheerfully have given his life for hers.
And, as the student spoke, his words awakened an idea in his mind; he
forgot all anxiety and every consideration but that of the rescue of
this lady.

"If that is all," said he, stepping forward timidly, and coloring as he
spoke, "if only a short stature, a beardless chin, and a courageous
heart are needed to rescue this lady, then perhaps I am not unfit for
that purpose. Put on my coat, gracious lady, hide your beautiful hair
beneath my hat, take my bundle on your back and go your way as Felix,
the goldsmith."

All were astonished at the youth's spirit, while the huntsman fell on
his neck in an ecstasy of joy. "Goldsmith," cried he, "you will do that?
You will slip into my gracious lady's clothes and thus save her? The
good God has prompted you to do it. But you shall not go alone; I will
share your captivity, will remain at your side as your best friend, and
while I live they shall not harm you."

"I too will go with you, as true as I live!" exclaimed the student.

Much persuasion was required before the countess would consent to this
scheme. She could not bear the thought that a stranger should sacrifice
himself for her; she could not help thinking that if the robbers
should afterward discover the deception practiced on them, they would
take a terrible revenge on the unfortunate youth. But finally she was
over-persuaded, partly by the entreaties of the young man, and partly
by the reflection that if she was saved she would make every exertion
to rescue her savior. The huntsman and the other travellers accompanied
Felix into the student's room, where he quickly threw on some of the
countess's clothes. To still further disguise him, the huntsman secured
some locks of the maid's false hair to the goldsmith's head, and tied
on the lady's hat. All declared that he would never be known; while the
compass-maker roundly asserted that if he had met him on the street he
should take off his hat without the slightest suspicion that he was
bowing to his courageous comrade.

The countess in the meanwhile, with the help of her maid, had dressed
herself in the clothes she found in the goldsmith's knapsack. With the
hat drawn down over the forehead, the staff in her hand, and the
knapsack on her back, she was completely disguised; and the travellers
would have laughed not a little at any other time, over this comical
masquerade. The new travelling journeyman thanked Felix with tears, and
promised the speediest assistance.

"I have only one request to make," answered Felix. "In the knapsack you
have on your back there is a small box; preserve this with the utmost
care, for if it should be lost, I should never be happy again. I must
carry it to my godmother and----"

"Godfried, the huntsman, knows where my castle is," interrupted the
lady. "Every thing shall be given back to you just as it was; for I
hope you will come yourself, noble young man, to receive the thanks of
my husband and myself."

Before Felix could reply, the harsh voices of the robbers were heard
calling from the stairs that the time was up, and that everything was
ready for the countess's journey. The huntsman went down to them, and
declared that he could not leave the countess, and would rather go with
them, wherever they might lead, than to return to his master without
his mistress. The student also insisted that he should be allowed to
accompany the lady. The robbers discussed the matter for some time, and
finally consented to the arrangement, provided that the huntsman should
at once surrender his weapons. Then they gave orders that the other
travellers should remain perfectly quiet while the countess was being
taken away.

Felix pulled down the veil that was spread over his hat, sat down in a
corner with one hand supporting his head, and, with the manner of one
in deep grief, awaited the robbers. The travellers had withdrawn to the
other room, but left the door ajar so that they could see all that
occurred. The huntsman sat down with an appearance of sadness, but
keeping a sharp eye on the corner of the room that the countess had
occupied. After they had sat thus for a few moments, the door opened,
and a handsome stately man of about thirty-six years of age entered the
room. He wore a kind of military uniform, an order on his breast, a
long sabre at his side, and in his hand he carried a hat decorated with
beautiful feathers. Two of his men guarded the door immediately after
his entrance.

He approached Felix with a low bow; he seemed to be somewhat
embarrassed in the presence of a lady of rank, as he made several
attempts before he was able to speak connectedly.

"Gracious lady," said he, "cases happen now and then in which one must
have patience; such an one is yours. Do not think that I shall for even
a moment lose sight of the respect due to so superior a lady. You shall
have every comfort, and will have nothing to complain of except perhaps
the fright you have suffered this evening." He paused here, as if
awaiting an answer; but as Felix made no reply, he continued: "Do not
look upon me as a common thief. I am an unfortunate man, whom adverse
circumstances have forced into this life. We are desirous of leaving
this region forever, but need money for that purpose. It would have
been an easy matter for us to fall upon merchants and stages, but
thereby we should have brought lasting misfortune on many people. Your
husband, the count, inherited half a million thalers not six weeks ago.
We ask for twenty thousand guldens of this superabundance; certainly a
just and moderate demand. You will, therefore, have the goodness to
write a note to the count at once, informing him that we are holding
you for a ransom, that he must send the money as quickly as possible,
and that unless he does so--you understand me, we should be compelled
to treat you with much less consideration. The ransom will not be
accepted unless brought by a single man, under a pledge of the
strictest secrecy."

This scene was viewed with the most anxious interest by all the guests
of the inn, but most anxiously of all by the countess. She trembled
every moment lest the young man should betray himself. She was firmly
resolved to ransom him for a large sum, but just as strong was her
resolve not to take a single step with these robbers for any earthly
consideration. She had found a knife in the goldsmith's coat pocket.
She held it open in her hand, prepared to kill herself rather than
suffer such a fate. Not less anxious was Felix himself. To be sure, he
was consoled and strengthened by the reflection that it was a manly and
praiseworthy act to come to the assistance of a helpless lady as he was
doing, but he feared lest he should betray himself by each movement or
by his voice. His alarm increased when the robber spoke of his writing
a letter. How should he write it? By what title should he address the
count? In what style should he write the letter, without betraying
himself? But his anxiety rose to the highest pitch, when the robber
chief laid paper and pen before him, and requested him to lift his veil
and write the letter.

Felix did not know how becoming this disguise was to him, or he would
not have entertained the least fear of discovery. For, as he finally
felt forced to raise his veil, the robber chief, surprised by the
beauty of the lady and her somewhat manly and spirited features,
regarded her with still greater respect. This fact did not escape the
young goldsmith's attention; and satisfied that at least for a moment
there was no danger of discovery, he took up the pen and wrote to his
pretended husband, after a form that he had once read in an old book:


"My Lord and Husband:--I, unhappy woman, have been seized, on my
journey, in the dead of night, by people whom I cannot credit with good
intentions. They will keep me a prisoner until you, Sir Count, have
paid down the sum of twenty thousand guldens for me. This is provided
you do not inform the authorities of this matter, or seek their
assistance; and that you send the money by a single messenger to the
forest inn in the Spessart. Otherwise I am threatened with a long and
severe imprisonment. Begging for the speediest deliverance,
                                    I am your unhappy
                                                       WIFE."


He handed this remarkable letter to the robber chief, who read it
through and signified his approbation.

"It rests with you now to decide," said he, "whether you will be
accompanied by the huntsman or your maid. I shall send one of them to
your husband with this letter."

"The huntsman, and that gentleman there, will accompany me," answered
Felix.

"Very well," returned the robber, going to the door and summoning the
countess's maid. "Just give this woman her instructions."

The maid appeared, shivering and shaking. Felix too turned pale when he
reflected that here he was in danger once more of betraying himself.
Still the unexpected courage that had carried him safely through the
former ordeal, returned. "I have no further commands for you," said he,
"except that you desire the count to take me from this unfortunate
situation as quickly as possible."

"And," added the robber, "that you recommend the count most earnestly
and explicitly to keep silent about all this, and not to undertake any
action against us, before his wife is in his hands. Our spies would
give us timely warning of any such demonstrations on his part, and I
would not then be answerable for the consequences."

The trembling maid promised to obey these instructions. She was further
ordered to pack what dresses and linen the lady countess might need in
a small bundle, as they could not hamper themselves with much luggage;
and when this had been done, the robber chief, with a low bow,
requested the lady to follow him. Felix stood up, the huntsman and the
student followed, and, preceded by the robber, all three descended the
stairs.

Before the inn stood a large number of horses. One of them was
pointed out to the huntsman; another, a beautiful pony provided with a
side-saddle, stood ready for the countess; while a third was given to
the student. The leader lifted the young goldsmith to the saddle, fixed
him firmly in his seat, and then mounted a horse himself. He rode to
the right of the lady, while another of the robbers rode at her left
side. The student and huntsman were similarly guarded. As soon as the
band of robbers were mounted, the leader gave a loud and clear whistle
as a signal to start, and shortly the whole troop had disappeared in
the forest.

The company gathered in the chamber of the inn, gradually recovered
from their terror after the departure of the robbers. As is generally
the case after some great misfortune or sudden danger has passed by,
they would have been very cheerful had not their thoughts been occupied
with their three companions, who had been led away before their very
eyes. They all broke out in praise of the young goldsmith, and the
countess wept when she reflected how deeply she was indebted to one
upon whom she had no claim, whom she had never even known. It was a
consolation for them all to know that the heroic huntsman and the brave
student had accompanied him, and could comfort him in his hours of
despondency. They even entertained a hope that the experienced forester
would discover a means of escape for himself and companions. They
consulted together as to what they had better do. The countess resolved
that, as she was bound by no oath to the robbers, she would at once
return to her husband, and make every exertion to discover their
hiding-place, and set their prisoners free. The wagoner promised to go
to Aschaffenburg and summon the officials to organize a pursuit of the
robbers, while the compass-maker was to continue his journey.

The travellers were not disturbed any more that night; silence reigned
in the forest inn, that had an hour before been the theatre of terrible
scenes. But in the morning, when the servants of the countess went
below to prepare for her departure, they came running back, and
reported that they had found the landlady and her hostler bound on the
floor, and begging for assistance.

The travellers gazed at one another in astonishment. "What?" cried the
compass-maker. "Then these people must have been innocent. We have done
them wrong, for they can have no association with the robbers."

"I will allow myself to be hanged in their place," returned the
wagoner, "if we were not right after all. This is only a sham, designed
to prevent their conviction. Don't you remember the suspicious
appearance of this inn? Don't you remember how, when I started to go
down-stairs, the trained dog would not let me pass? how the landlady
and the hostler appeared instantly, and asked in a surly way what I was
after? Still, all this was well for us, or at least for the lady
countess. If things had worn a less suspicious air in the public room,
if the landlady had not aroused our distrust, we should not have
remained together, nor have kept awake. The robbers could have attacked
us in our sleep, or at least would have guarded our doors, so that the
substitution of the brave young goldsmith for the countess would not
have been possible."

They all agreed with the wagoner, and determined to lodge a complaint
against the landlady and her servant, before the magistrate. Still,
in order to be on the safe side, they concluded not to manifest the
least token of suspicion just yet. The servants and the wagoner went
down-stairs, loosened the bonds of the robbers' accomplices, and
conducted themselves as sympathetically and sorrowfully as possible. In
order to conciliate her guests still more, the landlady charged each
one but a very small amount, and extended them a hearty invitation to
call again.

The wagoner paid his reckoning, took leave of his companions in
misfortune, and started on his road. After him the two journeymen went
off. Light as the goldsmith's bundle had been made, it still seemed
heavy to the delicate lady. But still heavier was her heart, when the
traitorous landlady stretched out her hand to take leave of her at the
door. "Why," cried she, "what kind of a spark are you, to be going out
into the world so young? You must be a spoiled fellow, whom the master
chased out of his shop. But that's none of my business; do me the honor
to stop here on your return journey. Good luck to you!"

The countess was so nervous, and trembled so, that she did not dare
reply, least she should be betrayed by her voice. The compass-maker,
noticing her confusion, took his companion by the arm, bade good-bye to
the landlady, and sang a jovial song as they struck out into the
forest.

"Now I am really in safety," cried the countess, when they had put a
hundred paces between them and the inn. "To the last moment I feared
that the landlady would recognize me, and have her servant lock me up.
Oh, how can I thank you for all you have done? Come to my castle; you
must at least return to meet your travelling companions again."

The compass-maker consented, and while they were thus speaking, the
countess's carriage came rolling up behind them; the door was quickly
opened, the lady sprang inside, waved a farewell to the young
journeyman, and was driven rapidly away.

About this time, the robbers and their prisoners reached the camping
place of the band. They had ridden over a rough forest road at a fast
trot, exchanging not a word with their prisoners, and conversing among
themselves in low tones only when they changed their course. They
finally came to a halt just above a deep ravine. The robbers
dismounted, and their leader assisted the goldsmith from his horse,
apologizing for the fast and wearisome ride he had forced him to take,
and inquiring whether the gracious lady felt very much fatigued.

Felix answered him in as gentle a tone as he could assume, that he was
in need of rest; and the robber offered his arm to escort him into the
ravine. The descent was a very steep one, and the footpath was narrow
and precipitous. At last they were safely down. Felix saw before him by
the faint light of the opening day, a small narrow valley not more than
a hundred paces in circumference, that lay deep in a basin formed by
the precipitous rocks. Some six or eight small, board and log huts were
built in this ravine. A few untidy women peeped out curiously from
these hovels, and a pack of twelve large dogs and their countless
puppies surrounded the new-comers, howling and barking. The chief led
the countess to the best one of these huts, and told her that this was
exclusively for her own use; and granted Felix's request that the
huntsman and the student might be permitted to remain with him.

The hut was furnished with deer-skins and mats, which served at once
for a carpet and for seats. Some jugs and dishes, made out of wood, a
rusty old fowling-piece, and in the further corner a couch made of a
couple of boards and a few woollen blankets, which could hardly be
dignified by the name of a bed, were the only appointments of the
place.

Left alone together for the first time in this miserable hut, the three
prisoners had time to think over their strange situation. Felix, who
did not for a moment repent of his noble action, but who was still
nervous as to what would become of him in case of a discovery, gave
utterance to loud complaints; but the huntsman quickly checked him, and
whispered:

"For God's sake, be quiet, dear boy; don't you know that they will be
listening to us."

"Each word uttered in such a tone as that would create suspicion in
their minds," added the student.

Nothing remained to poor Felix but to weep silently. "Believe me, Mr.
Huntsman," said he, "I do not weep for fear of these robbers, or
because of this miserable hut; no, it is quite another kind of sorrow
that oppresses me. How easily might the countess forget what I said to
her so hastily, and then I should be considered a thief and thus made
miserable forever.

"But what is it, then, that causes you so much anxiety?" inquired the
huntsman, wondering at the demeanor of the young man, who, up to this
time, had borne himself so courageously.

"Listen, and you will do me justice," answered Felix. "My father was a
clever goldsmith of Nuremberg, and my mother, previous to her marriage,
had served as maid to a lady of rank, and when she married my father
she was finely fitted out by the countess whom she had served. The
countess remained a good friend to my parents, and after my birth she
stood as my godmother and made me many presents. And when my parents
died of a pestilence, and I, left alone in the world, was about to be
sent to the poorhouse, this lady godmother heard of my misfortune and
placed me in a boarding-school. When I was of the proper age, she wrote
to know if I would like to learn my father's trade. I jumped at the
chance, and she apprenticed me to a master of the art in Wuerzburg. I
took readily to the work, and had soon made such progress that I was
given a certificate, and could set out as a travelling journeyman. I
wrote this to my lady godmother, and she answered at once that she
would give me the money for my outfit. With the letter she sent some
splendid stones, and requested me to give them a beautiful setting, and
bring the ornament to her myself as a proof of my skill, and receive my
travelling money at the same time. I have never seen my lady godmother,
and you may imagine with what pleasure I undertook her commands. I
worked day and night on the ornament, and turned out such a beautiful
and delicate piece of work that even the master was astonished at my
skill. When it was completed, I packed my knapsack carefully, took
leave of my master, and started out on the journey to my lady
godmother's castle. Then," continued he, breaking into tears, "these
villainous robbers happened along and destroyed all my hopes. For if
your lady countess loses the ornament, or forgets what I told her and
throws away my old knapsack, how shall I ever face my lady godmother?
How should I prove my story? How could I replace the stones? And my
travelling money would also be lost, and I should appear as an
ungrateful fellow who had foolishly surrendered his charge. And,
finally, would any one believe me if I were to relate this wonderful
adventure?"

"Be of good cheer!" replied the huntsman. "I do not believe that your
ornament can be lost while in the keeping of the countess; and even if
such a thing should occur, she would be sure to make the loss good to
her deliverer, and would herself bear witness to these mischances. We
will leave you now for some hours, for we really need sleep, and after
the excitement of this night you ought to take some rest. Afterwards in
conversing with one another let us forget our misfortune for the time
being, or, better still, let us think about our escape."

They went away Felix remained alone, and made an attempt to follow the
huntsman's advice. When, after some hours, the student and huntsman
returned, they found their young friend in a much better mood. The
huntsman told the goldsmith that the chief of the band had assured him
that the lady should have every attention; and that in a few moments
one of the women whom they had seen about the huts would serve the lady
countess with coffee, and offer her services as attendant. They
resolved, in order not to be disturbed, to refuse this favor; and when
the ugly old gypsy woman came, set the breakfast before them, and
inquired in an obsequious manner whether she could be of any further
service, Felix motioned to her to leave, and as she still lingered, the
huntsman drove her out of the door. The student then narrated all that
they had learned about the camp.

"The hut in which you live, beautiful lady countess," began he, "seems
originally to have been designed for the leader of the band. It is not
so roomy, but it is much finer than the others. Beside this, there are
six others, in which the women and children live, for there are seldom
more than six robbers at home. One stands guard not far from this hut;
another below him, on the way to the path that leads out of the ravine;
and a third stands as sentinel above, at the entrance to the ravine.
Every second hour they are relieved by the three others. More than
this, each guard has two large dogs near him, and they are all so
wide-awake that one can not set foot outside the hut without being
barked at. I have no hope that we can steal out of this place."

"Don't make me sad; I feel more cheerful after my nap," returned Felix.
"Don't give up all hope, and if you fear discovery, let us rather talk
about something else, and not be troubled about the future. Herr
Student, you began a story in the inn; continue it now, for we have
time to amuse ourselves."

"I can scarcely remember what it was," answered the young man.

"You were relating the legend of 'The Marble Heart,' and had reached
the point where the landlord and the other gambler had put Charcoal
Pete out of doors."

"All right; it comes back to me now," replied he. "Well, if you wish to
hear more of it, I will continue."



                           THE MARBLE HEART.

                              SECOND PART.

When Peter went to his glass-works on Monday morning, he found not only
his workmen there, but also other people who do not make very pleasant
visitors--the sheriff and three bailiffs. The sheriff bade Peter good
morning, asked how he had slept, and then took out a long register, on
which were inscribed the names of Peter's creditors. "Can you pay or
not?" demanded the sheriff in a severe tone. "And be quick about the
matter too, for I have not much time to spare, and the prison is a
three hours ride from here." Peter, in great despondency, confessed
that he was unable to pay the claims, and left it to the sheriff to
appraise his house, glass-works, stable, and horses and carriage.

While the officials were conducting their examination, it occurred to
Peter that the Tannenbuehl was not far away, and as the little man had
not helped him, he would try the big man. He ran to the Tannenbuehl as
fast as though the officers had been at his heels; and it seemed to
him, as he rushed by the spot where he had first spoken to the Little
Glass-Man, that an invisible hand seized him--but he tore himself out
of its grasp, and ran on till he came to the boundary line, which he
remembered well; and hardly had he shouted: "Dutch Michel! Dutch
Michel!" when the giant raftsman, with his immense pole, stood before
him.

"Have you come at last?" said the giant, laughing. "Do they want to
strip you for the benefit of your creditors? Well, be quiet; your whole
trouble comes, as I told you it would, from the Little Glass-Man--the
hypocrite. When one gives, one should give generously, and not like
this miser. But come," continued he, turning towards the forest,
"follow me to my house, and we will see whether we can make a trade."

"Make a trade?" reflected Peter. "What can he want from me? How can I
make a bargain with him? Does he want me to do him some service, or
what is it he's after?"

They walked over a steep forest path, and suddenly came upon a dark and
deep ravine. Dutch Michel sprang down the rocks as if they were an easy
marble stair-case; but Peter came near fainting with fright, when Dutch
Michel on reaching the bottom, made himself as tall as a church
steeple, and stretched out an arm as long as a weaver's beam, with a
hand as broad as the table in the tavern, and shouted in a voice that
echoed like a deep funeral bell: "Set down on my hand and hold fast to
the fingers, and you will not fall." Peter tremblingly obeyed him,
taking a seat on the giant's hand, and holding on to his thumb.

They went down and down for a great distance, but still, to Peter's
astonishment it did not grow darker; on the contrary, it seemed to be
lighter in the ravine, so that for some time his eyes could not endure
the light. The farther they descended, the smaller did Dutch Michel
make himself, and he now, in his former stature, stood before a house
neither better nor worse than those owned by wealthy peasants in the
Black Forest. The room into which Peter was conducted did not differ
from the rooms of other houses, except that an indescribable air of
loneliness pervaded it. The wooden clock, the enormous Dutch tile
stove, the utensils on the shelves, were the same as those in use
every-where. Michel showed him to a seat behind the large table and
then went out, returning soon with a pitcher of wine and glasses. He
poured out the wine, and they talked at random, until Dutch Michel
began to tell about the pleasures of the world, of strange lands, and
of beautiful cities and rivers, so that Peter at last became possessed
of a strong desire to travel also, and told the giant so openly.

"However desirous you might be of undertaking anything, a couple of
quick beats of your silly heart would make you tremble; and as for
injured reputation, for misfortune, why should a sensible fellow
trouble himself with such matters? Did you feel the insult in your head
when recently you were called a cheat and swindler? Did your stomach
pain you when the sheriff came to turn you out of house and home? Tell
me, where were you conscious of pain?"

"In my heart," answered Peter, laying his hand on his breast; for it
seemed to him as though his heart was swinging to and fro unsteadily.

"You have--don't take it amiss--you have thrown away many hundred
guldens on idle beggars and other low fellows; how did that benefit
you? They blessed you, and wished you a long life; do you therefore
expect to live the longer? For the half of that wasted money you could
have employed physicians in your illness. Blessings?--Yes, it's a fine
blessing to have your property seized and yourself put out of doors!
And what was it that induced you to put your hand in your pocket
whenever a beggar held out his tattered hat?--your heart, once more
your heart; and neither your eyes nor your tongue, your arms nor your
legs, but your heart. You took it--as the saying is--too much to
heart."

"But how can one train himself so that it would not be so any more? I
am exerting myself now to control my heart, and still it beats and
torments me."

"Yes, no doubt you find that the case," replied the giant, with a
laugh. "You, poor fellow, can not manage it at all; but give me the
little beating thing, and then you will see how much better off you
will be."

"Give you my heart?" shrieked Peter in terror. "I should certainly die
on the spot! No, never!"

"Yes, if one of your learned surgeons was to perform the operation of
removing the heart from your body, you would certainly die; but with me
it would be quite another thing. Still, come this way, and satisfy
yourself." So saying, he got up, opened a chamber door, and took Peter
inside. The young man's heart contracted spasmodically as he stepped
over the sill, but he paid no attention to it, for the sight that met
his eyes was strange and surprising. On a row of shelves stood glasses
filled with a transparent fluid, and in each of these glasses was a
human heart; the glasses were also labeled with names, written on paper
slips, and Peter read them with great curiosity. Here was the heart of
the magistrate at F., of the Stout Ezekiel, of the King of the Ball, of
the head gamekeeper; there were the hearts of six corn factors, of
eight recruiting officers, of three scriveners--in short, it was a
collection of the most respectable hearts within a circumference of
sixty miles.

"Look!" said Dutch Michel. "All these have thrown away the cares and
sorrows of life. Not one of these hearts beats anxiously any longer,
and their former possessors are glad to be well rid of their
troublesome guests."

"But what do they carry in the breast in place of them?" asked Peter,
whose head began to swim at what he had seen.

"This," answered the giant, handing him, from a drawer, a _stone
heart_.

"What!" exclaimed Peter, as a chill crept over him. "A heart of marble?
But look you, Dutch Michel, that must be very cold in the breast."

"Certainly; but it is an agreeable coolness. Why should a heart be
warm? In winter the warmth of it is of no account; good cherry rum you
would find a better protection against the cold than a warm heart, and
in summer, when you are sweltering in the heat, you can not imagine how
such a heart will cool you. And, as I said before, there will be no
further anxiety or terror, neither any more silly pity, nor any sorrow,
with such a heart in your breast."

"And is that all you are able to give me?" asked Peter discontentedly.
"I hope for money, and you offer me a stone!"

"Well, I think a hundred thousand guldens will do you to start with. If
you handle that well, you can soon become a millionaire."

"One hundred thousand!" shouted the poor charcoal burner joyfully.
"There, don't beat so violently in my breast, we will soon be through
with one another. All right, Michel; give me the stone and the money,
and you may take the restless thing out of its cage."

"I thought you would show yourself to be a sensible fellow," said Dutch
Michel smiling. "Come, let us drink once more together, and then I will
count out the money."

So they sat down to the wine again, and drank until Peter fell into a
deep sleep. He was finally awakened by the ringing notes of a bugle
horn, and behold, he sat in a beautiful carriage, driving over a broad
highway, and as he turned to look out of the carriage, he saw the Black
Forest lying far behind him in the blue distance. At first he could
hardly realize that it was he himself who sat in the carriage; for even
his clothes were not the same that he had worn yesterday. But he
remembered every thing that had occurred so clearly, that he said: "I
am Charcoal Pete, that is certain, and nobody else."

He was surprised that he felt no sensation of sorrow, now that for the
first time he was leaving behind him his home and the woods where he
had lived so long. He could neither sigh nor shed a tear, as he thought
of his mother whom he was leaving in want and sorrow; for all this was
a matter of indifference to him now. "Tears and sighs," thought he,
"homesickness and melancholy, come from the heart, and--thanks to Dutch
Michel--mine is cold and stony."

He laid his hand on his breast, and it was perfectly quiet there. "If
he has kept his word as well with the hundred thousand guldens as he
has about the heart, I shall be happy," said he, and at once began a
search in his carriage; he found all manner of clothes, as fine as he
could wish them, but no money. At last he came upon a pocket which
contained many thousand thalers in gold, and drafts on bankers in all
the large cities. "Now it's all just as I wanted it," thought he; and
settling himself comfortably in a corner of the carriage, he journeyed
out into the wide world.

He traveled for two years about the world, looking out from his
carriage to the right and left at the buildings he passed by; and when
he entered a city he looked out only for the sign of the tavern. After
dinner he would be driven about the town, and have the sights pointed
out to him. But neither picture, house, music, dancing, nor any thing
else, rejoiced him. His heart of stone could not feel an interest in
any thing, and his eyes and ears were dulled to all that was beautiful.
No pleasures remained to him but those of eating, drinking and
sleeping. Now and then, it is true, he recalled the fact, that he had
been happier when he was poor and worked for his own support. Then
every beautiful view in the valley, the sound of music and song, had
rejoiced him; then he had been satisfied with the simple fare that his
mother had prepared and brought out to his fires. When he thus thought
of the past, it seemed very singular to him that he could not laugh at
all now, while then every little jest had amused him. When others
laughed, he simply affected to do the same as a mere matter of
politeness; but his heart did not join in the merriment. He felt then
that although he was destitute of emotion, yet he was far from being
contented. It was not homesickness or melancholy, but dullness,
weariness, and a joyless life, that finally drove him back to his
native place.

As he passed by Strasbourg and saw the dark forest in the distance, as
he once more saw the strong forms and honest, faithful faces of the
inhabitants of the Black Forest, as his ear caught the strong, deep,
well-remembered tones of his countrymen's voices, he put his hand
quickly to his heart, for his blood danced through his veins, and he
thought he should both weep and rejoice; but--how could he be so
foolish?--he had only a heart of stone, and stones are without feeling,
and neither laugh nor weep.

His first visit was to Dutch Michel, who received him with much show of
friendliness. "Michel," said Peter, "I have travelled and have seen
every thing, but experienced only weariness. Upon the whole, the stone
I carry in my breast saves me from many things; I never get angry, am
never sad, but at the same time I am never happy, and it seems to me as
if I only half lived. Can not you make the stone heart a little more
sensitive? or, give me back rather my old heart. I was accustomed to it
for twenty-five years, and even if it did sometimes lead me into a
foolish act, still it was a contented and happy heart."

The Spirit of the Forest laughed scornfully. "When you are once dead,
Peter Munk," replied he, "your heart shall not be missing; then you
shall have back your soft, sensitive heart, and then you will have an
opportunity to feel whatever comes, joy or sorrow. But in this world it
can never be yours again. Still, Peter, although you have travelled, it
won't do you any good to live in the way you have been doing. Settle
down somewhere here in the forest, build a house, marry, double your
wealth; you were only in want of some employment. Because you were
idle, you experienced weariness; and now you would charge it all to
this innocent heart."

Peter saw that Michel was right, so far as idleness was concerned, and
resolved to devote his energies to acquiring more and more riches.
Michel presented him with another hundred thousand guldens, and the two
parted on the best of terms.

The news soon spread throughout the Black Forest that Charcoal Pete, or
Gambler Pete, was back again, and richer than before. Things went on as
they had done. When he had been reduced to beggary, he was kicked out
of the tavern door; and when now, on one Sunday afternoon he drove up
to the tavern, his old associates shook his hand, praised his horse,
inquired about his journey; and when he began to play with the Stout
Ezekiel again for silver thalers, he stood higher than ever in the
esteem of the hangers-on. Instead of the glass business, he now went
into the timber trade; but this was only for sake of appearance, as his
chief business was that of a corn factor and money lender. Fully half
of the inhabitants of the Black Forest gradually fell into his debt, as
he only lent money at ten per cent interest, or sold corn to the poor,
who could not pay cash for it, at three times what it was worth. He
stood in intimate relations with the sheriff, and if one did not pay
Mr. Peter Munk on the day his note fell due, the sheriff would ride
over to the debtor's place, seize his house and land, sell it without
delay, and drive father, mother and child into the forest. At first
this course of action caused Peter some little trouble, for the people
who had been driven out of their homes blockaded his gates,--the men
pleading for time, the women attempting to soften his heart of stone,
and the children crying for a piece of bread. But when he had provided
himself with a couple of savage mastiffs, this charivari, as he called
it, very soon ceased. He whistled to the dogs, and set them on the pack
of beggars, who would scatter with screams in all directions. But the
most trouble was given him by an old woman, who was none other than
Peter's mother. She had been plunged into misery and want, since her
house and lot had been sold, and her son, on his return, rich as he
was, would not look after her wants. Therefore she occasionally
appeared at his door, weak and old, leaning on a staff. She dared not
enter the house, for he had once chased her out of the door; but it
pained her to live on the charity of other people, when her own son was
so well able to provide for her old age. But the cold heart was never
disturbed by the sight of the pale, well-known features, by her
pleading looks or by the withered, outstretched hand, or the tottering
form. And when on a Saturday she knocked at his door, he would take out
a sixpence, grumbling meanwhile, roll it up in a piece of paper, and
send it out to her by a servant. He could hear her trembling voice as
she returned thanks and wished that all happiness might be his; he
heard her steal away from the door coughing, but gave her no further
thought, except to reproach himself with having thrown away a good
sixpence.

[Illustration]

Finally Peter began to think about getting married. He knew that there
was not a father in the whole Black Forest who would not have been glad
to give him his daughter; but he meant to be particular in his choice,
for he wished that in this matter, too, his luck and his judgment
should be recognized. Therefore he rode all through the forest,
searching here and there, but not one of the beautiful Black Forest
maidens seemed beautiful enough for him. Finally, after he had looked
through all the ball rooms in a vain search for his ideal beauty, he
one day heard that the daughter of a certain woodchopper was the most
beautiful and virtuous of all the Black Forest maidens. She lived a
very quiet life, kept her father's house in the neatest order, and
never showed herself at a ball, not even on holidays. When Peter heard
of this Black Forest beauty, he resolved to obtain her, and rode to the
hut to which he was directed. The father of the beautiful Lisbeth
received the gentleman in much surprise, but was still more astonished
to hear that this was the wealthy Mr. Peter Munk, and that the
gentleman wished to become his son-in-law. Believing that now all his
cares and his poverty were at an end, the old man did not hesitate very
long, but consented to the match without stopping to consult his
daughter's inclinations, and the good child was so dutiful that she
made no objections, and soon became Mrs. Peter Munk.

But things did not go as well with the poor girl as she had dreamed.
She thought she had a perfect knowledge of how to manage a house; but
she could not do any thing that seemed to please her husband. She had
sympathy with poor people, and, as her husband was so rich, she thought
it would be no sin to give a farthing to a poor beggar woman or to hand
an old man a cup of tea. But when Peter saw her do this one day, he
said, in a harsh voice and with angry looks: "Why do you waste my means
on idlers and vagabonds? Did you bring anything into the house, that
you can throw money away like a princess? If I catch you at this again,
you shall feel my hand!"

The beautiful Lisbeth wept in her chamber over the cruel disposition
of her husband, and often did she feel that she would rather be
back in her father's hut than to live with the rich but miserly and
hard-hearted Peter. Alas, had she known that her husband had a marble
heart, and could neither love her nor any one else, she would not have
wondered so much at his actions. But whenever she sat at the door, and
a beggar came up, took off his hat and began to speak, she now cast her
eyes down that she might not see the poor fellow, and clasped her hands
lighter lest she should involuntarily feel in her pocket for money. So
it happened that the beautiful Lisbeth came to be badly spoken of
throughout the entire Forest, and it was asserted that she was even
more miserly than Peter himself.

But one day while Lisbeth was sitting before the house, spinning, and
humming a song--for she felt in unusually good spirits, as the weather
was fine and Peter had ridden off--a little old man came up the road,
carrying a large, heavy sack. Lisbeth had heard him panting while he
was still at some distance, and she looked at him sympathetically,
thinking that so old and weak a man ought not to carry so heavy a
burden.

In the meantime the man had staggered and panted up, and when he was
opposite Lisbeth, he almost fell down under the sack. "Alas, take pity
on me, madame, and hand me a glass of water," said the little man; "I
can not go another step, and I fear I shall faint."

"But at your age you ought not to carry such a heavy load," said
Lisbeth.

"Yes, if I was not forced by poverty to serve as a messenger," answered
he. "Alas, a rich lady like you does not know how poverty pinches, and
how refreshing a drink of water would be on such a hot day."

On hearing this Lisbeth rushed into the house, took a pitcher from the
shelf and filled it with water; but when she returned with it, and had
come within a few feet of the man, she saw how miserable he appeared as
he sat on the sack, and, remembering that her husband was not at home,
she set the pitcher of water to one side, got a goblet and filled it
with wine, laid a slice of rye bread on top of it, and brought it out
to the old man. "There; a sip of wine, at your age, will do you more
good than water," said she. "But don't drink it so hastily, and eat
your bread with it."

The little man looked at her in astonishment, while tears gathered in
his eyes. He drank the wine and then said: "I have grown old, but I
have seen few people who were so merciful, and who knew how to make
gifts as handsomely and heartily as you do, Frau Lisbeth. And for this
your life on earth shall be a happy one; such a heart will not remain
without a reward."

"No, and she shall have her reward on the spot!" shouted a terrible
voice; and as they turned, there stood Peter with an angry face.

"So you were pouring out my best wine for beggars, and giving my own
goblet to the lips of a vagrant? There, take your reward!"

Lisbeth threw herself at his feet and begged his forgiveness; but the
heart of stone felt no pity; he turned the whip he held in his hand,
and struck such a blow with the butt of it on her beautiful forehead,
that she sank lifeless into the arms of the old man. When Peter saw
this, he seemed to regret it on the instant, he bent down to see
if there was still life in her, but the little man said to him in a
well-known voice: "Don't trouble yourself. Charcoal Peter! It was the
sweetest and loveliest flower in the Black Forest; but you have
destroyed it, and it will never bloom again."

The blood left Peter's cheeks, as he said: "It is you then, Herr
Schatzhauser? Well, what is done, is done, and must have come to pass.
I hope, however, that you won't charge me with being her murderer
before the magistrate."

"Wretch!" exclaimed the Little Glass-Man, "how would it console me to
bring your mortal frame to the gallows? It is not earthly judges whom
you have to fear, but other and severer ones, for you have sold your
soul to the evil one."

"And if I have sold my heart," shrieked Peter, "you and your miserable
treasures are to blame for it! You, malicious spirit, have led me to
perdition, driven me to seek help of another, and you are answerable
for it all."

But hardly had Peter said this, when the Little Glass-Man swelled and
grew, and became both tall and broad, while his eyes were as large as
soup plates, and his mouth was like a heated oven from which flames
darted forth. Peter threw himself on his knees, and his marble heart
did not prevent his limbs from trembling like an aspen tree. The Spirit
of the Forest seized him by the neck with the talons of a hawk, and
whirled him about as a whirlwind sweeps up the dead leaves, and then
threw him to the ground with such force that all his ribs cracked.
"Earth-worm!" cried he, in a voice like a roll of thunder, "I could
dash you to pieces if I chose, for you have insulted the Master of the
Forest. But for this dead woman's sake, who has given me food and
drink, you shall have an eight days' reprieve. If you don't mend your
ways by that time, I will come and grind your limbs to powder, and you
shall die in all your sins!"

Night had come on, when some men who were passing saw the rich Peter
Munk lying on the ground. They turned him over, and searched for signs
of life; but for some time their efforts to restore him were in vain.
Finally one of them went into the house and brought out some water,
with which they sprinkled his face. Thereupon Peter drew a long breath,
groaned, and opened his eyes, looked about him, and inquired after
Lisbeth; but none of them had seen her. He thanked the men for the
assistance they had rendered him, slipped into his house and searched
every-where; but Lisbeth was nowhere to be found, and what he had taken
for a horrible dream was the bitter truth.

While he was sitting there quite alone, some strange thoughts came into
his mind; he was not afraid of anything, for his heart was cold; but
when he thought of his wife's death, the thought of his own death came
to him and he reflected how heavily he should be weighted on leaving
the world--burdened with the tears of the poor, with thousands of their
curses, with the agony of the poor wretches on whom he had set his
dogs, with the silent despair of his mother, with the blood of the good
and beautiful Lisbeth; and if he could not give an account to the old
man, her father, if he should come and ask, "Where is my daughter?" how
should he respond to the question of Another, to whom all forests, all
seas, all mountains, and the lives of all mortals, belong?

His sleep was disturbed by dreams, and every few moments he was
awakened by a sweet voice calling to him: "Peter, get a warmer heart!"
And when he woke he quickly closed his eyes again; for the voice that
gave him this warning was the voice of Lisbeth, his wife.

The following day he went to the tavern to drown his reflections in
drink, and there he met the Stout Ezekiel. He sat down by him; they
talked about this and that, of the fine weather, of the war, of the
taxes, and finally came to talk about death, and how this and that one
had died suddenly. Peter asked Ezekiel what he thought about death and
a future life. Ezekiel replied that the body was buried, but that the
soul either rose to heaven or descended to hell.

"But do they bury one's heart also?" asked Peter, all attention,

"Why, certainly, that is also buried."

"But how would it be if one did not have his heart any longer?"
continued Peter.

Ezekiel looked at him sharply as he spoke those words. "What do you
mean by that? Do you imagine that I haven't a heart?"

"Oh, you have heart enough, and as firm as a rock," replied Peter.

Ezekiel stared at him in astonishment, looked about him to see if any
one had overheard Peter, and then said:

"Where do you get this knowledge? Or perhaps yours does not beat any
more?"

"It does not beat any more, at least not here in my breast!" answered
Peter Munk. "But tell me--now that you know what I mean--how will it be
with our hearts!"

"Why should that trouble you, comrade?" asked Ezekiel laughing. "We
have a pleasant course to run on earth, and that's enough. It is
certainly one of the best things about our cold hearts, that we
experience no fear in the face of such thoughts."

"Very true; but still one will think on these subjects, and although I
do not know what fear is, yet I can remember how much I feared hell
when I was a small and innocent boy."

"Well, it certainly won't go very easy with us," said Ezekiel. "I once
questioned a school-master on that point, and he told me that after
death the hearts were weighed, to find out how heavily they had sinned.
The light ones then ascended, the heavy ones sank down; and I think
that our stones will have a pretty good weight."

"Alas, yes," replied Peter; "and I often feel uncomfortable, that my
heart is so unsympathetic and indifferent, when I think on such
subjects."

On the next night, Peter heard the well-known voice whisper in his ear,
five or six times: "Peter, get a warmer heart!" He experienced no
remorse at having killed his wife, but when he told the domestics that
she had gone off on a journey, the thought had instantly occurred to
him: "Where has she probably journeyed to?"

For six days he had lived on in this manner, haunted by these
reflections, and every night he heard this voice, which brought back to
his recollection the terrible threat of the Little Glass-Man; but on
the seventh morning he sprang up from his couch crying: "Now, then, I
will see whether I can procure a warmer heart, for this emotionless
stone in my breast makes my life weary and desolate." He quickly drew
on his Sunday attire, mounted his horse, and rode to the Tannenbuehl.

In the Tannenbuehl the trees stood too closely together to permit of
his riding further, so he tied his horse to a tree, and with hasty
steps went up to the highest point of the hill and when he reached the
largest pine he spoke the verse that had once caused him so much
trouble to learn:

           "Keeper of green woods of pine,
            All its lands are only thine;
            Thou art many centuries old;
            Sunday-born children thee behold."

Thereupon the Little Glass-Man appeared, but not with a pleasant
greeting as before; his expression was sad and stern. He wore a coat of
black glass, and a long piece of crape fluttered down from his hat.
Peter well knew for whom the Spirit of the Wood sorrowed.

"What do you want of me, Peter Munk?" asked the Little Glass-Man in a
hollow voice.

"I have still one wish left, Herr Schatzhauser," answered Peter, with
downcast eyes.

"Can hearts of stone have any wishes?" said the Glass-Man. "You have
every thing needful for your wicked course of life, and it is doubtful
whether I should grant your wish."

"But you promised me three wishes; and I have one left yet."

"Still, I have the right to refuse it if it should prove a foolish
one," continued the Glass-Man. "But proceed, I will hear what it is you
want."

"I want you to take this lifeless stone out of my breast, and give me
in its place my living heart," said Peter.

"Did I make that bargain with you? Am I Dutch Michel, who gives riches
and cold hearts? You must look to him for your heart."

"Alas, he will nevermore give it back to me," replied Peter.

"Wicked as you are, I pity you," said the Little Glass-Man after a
pause. "But as your wish is not a foolish one, I can not refuse you my
assistance at least. So listen. You can not recover your heart by
force, but possibly you may do so by stratagem; and this may not prove
such a hard matter after all, for Michel, although he thinks himself
uncommonly wise, is really a very stupid fellow. So go directly to him,
and do just as I shall tell you."

The Little Glass-Man then instructed Peter in what he was to do, and
gave him a small cross of clear crystal. "He can not harm you while you
live, and he will let you go free if you hold this up before him and
pray at the same time. And if you should get back your heart, then
return to this place, where I shall be awaiting you."

Peter Munk took the cross, impressed on his memory all the words he was
to say, and went to Dutch Michel's ravine. He called him three times by
name, and immediately the giant stood before him.

"Have you killed your wife?" asked the giant, with a fiendish laugh. "I
should have done it in your place, for she was giving away your wealth
to the beggars. But you had better leave the country for a while, for
an alarm will be given if she is not found. You will need money, and
have probably come after it."

"You have guessed rightly," said Peter, "and make it a large amount
this time, for America is far away."

Michel preceded Peter into the hut, where he opened a chest in which
was piled a large amount of money, and took out whole rolls of gold.
While he was counting them out on the table, Peter said: "You are a
frivolous fellow, Michel, to cheat me into thinking that I had a stone
in the breast and that you had my heart!"

"And is that not so?" asked Michel, surprised. "Can you feel your
heart? Is it not as cold as ice? Can you experience fear or sorrow, or
can any thing cause you remorse?"

"You have only made my heart stand still, but I have it just the same
as ever in my breast, and Ezekiel, too, says that you have lied to us.
You are not the man who can tear a heart from another's breast without
his knowing it, and without endangering his life; you would have to be
a sorcerer to do that."

"But I assure you," cried Michel indignantly, "that you and Ezekiel,
and all the rich people who have had dealings with me, have hearts as
cold as your own, and I have their true hearts here in my chamber."

"Why, how the lies slip over your tongue!" laughed Peter. "You may tell
that to some body else. Do you suppose that I haven't seen dozens of
just such imitations on my travels? The hearts in your chamber are
fashioned from wax! You are a rich fellow, I admit, but no sorcerer."

The giant, in a rage, flung open the chamber door. "Come in here, and
read all these labels; and look! that glass there holds Peter Munk's
heart. Do you see how it beats? Can one imitate that too in wax?"

"Nevertheless, it is made of wax;" exclaimed Peter. "A real heart
doesn't beat in that way; and besides, I still have my own in my
breast. No indeed, you are not a sorcerer!"

"But I will prove it to you!" cried the giant, angrily. "You shall feel
it yourself, and acknowledge that it is your heart." He took it out,
tore Peter's jacket open, and took a stone from the young man's breast
and held it up to him. Then taking up the beating heart, he breathed on
it, and placed it carefully in its place, and at once Peter felt it
beating in his breast, and he could once more rejoice thereat.

"How is it with you now?" asked Michel smiling.

"Verily, you were right," answered Peter, meanwhile drawing the little
crystal cross from his pocket. "I would not have believed that one
could do such a thing!"

"Is it not so? And I can practice magic, as you see; but come, I will
put the stone back again now."

"Gently, Herr Michel!" cried Peter, taking a step backward, and holding
up the cross between them. "One catches mice with cheese, and this time
you are trapped." And forthwith, Peter began to pray, speaking whatever
words came readily to his mind.

Thereupon, Michel became smaller and smaller, sank down to the floor,
writhed and twisted about like a worm, and gasped and groaned, while
all the hearts began to beat and knock against their glass cages, until
it sounded like the workshop of a clock-maker. Peter was very much
frightened, and ran out of the house, and, driven on by terror, scaled
the cliffs; for he heard Michel get up from the floor, stamp and rage,
and shout after him the most terrible curses. On arriving at the top of
the ravine, Peter ran towards the Tannenbuehl. A terrible thunderstorm
came up; lightning flashed to the right and left, and shattered many
trees, but he reached the Little Glass-Man's territory unharmed.

His heart beat joyfully, because of the very pleasure it seemed to
take in beating. But soon he looked back at his past life with horror,
as at the thunder storm that had shattered the trees behind him. He
thought of Lisbeth, his good and beautiful wife, whom he had murdered
in his avarice. He looked upon himself as an outcast from mankind, and
wept violently as he came to the Glass-Man's hill.

Herr Schatzhauser sat under the pine tree, smoking a small pipe, but
looking more cheerful than before.

"Why do you weep, Charcoal Pete?" asked he. "Did you not get your
heart? Does the cold one still lie in your breast?"

"Alas, Master!" sighed Peter, "when I had the cold stone heart, I never
wept. My eyes were as dry as the earth in July; but now the old heart
is nearly broken in thinking of what I have done. I drove my debtors
into misery and want, set my dogs on the poor and sick, and--you
yourself saw how my whip fell on her beautiful forehead!"

"Peter, you were a great sinner!" said the Little Glass-Man. "Money and
idleness ruined you, until your heart, turned to stone, knew neither
joy nor sorrow, remorse nor pity. But repentance brings pardon, and if
I were only sure that you were very sorry for your past life, I might
do something for you."

"I do not want any thing more," replied Peter, with drooping head. "It
is all over with me. I shall never know happiness again. What can I do,
now that I am alone in the world? My mother will never pardon my
behavior toward her; and perhaps I, monster that I am, have already
brought her to the grave. And Lisbeth, my wife! No; rather kill me,
Herr Schatzhauser, and make an end of my miserable life at once."

"Very well," replied the little man, "if you will have it so; my ax is
close by." He took his pipe quietly from his mouth, knocked out the
ashes, and stuck it in his pocket. Then he rose slowly and went behind
the tree. Peter sat weeping on the grass, caring nothing for his life,
and waiting patiently for the death-blow. After some time he heard
light steps behind him, and thought: "Now he is coming."

"Look round once more, Peter Munk!" shouted the little man. Peter wiped
the tears from his eyes and looked about him, and saw--his mother, and
Lisbeth, his wife, who both looked at him pleasantly. He sprang up
joyfully saying:

"Then you are not dead, Lisbeth? And you too, mother, have you forgiven
me?"

"They will forgive you," said the Little Glass-Man, "because you feel
true repentance, and every thing shall be forgotten. Return home now to
your father's hut, and be a charcoal burner as before, and if you are
honest and just you will honor your trade, and your neighbors will love
and esteem you more highly than if you had ten tons of gold." Thus
spake the Little Glass-Man, and bade them farewell.

The three praised and blessed him, and then started home. The splendid
house of the rich Peter Munk had vanished. The lightning had struck and
consumed it, together with all its treasures. But it was not far to his
mother's hut; thence they took their way, untroubled by the loss of
Peter's palace.

But how astonished were they on coming to the hut to find that it had
been changed into a large house, like those occupied by the well-to-do
peasants, and every thing inside was simple, was good and substantial.

"The good Little Glass-Man has done this!" exclaimed Peter.

"How beautiful!" cried Lisbeth; "and here I shall feel much more at
home than in the great house with so many servants."

From this time forth, Peter Munk was a brave and industrious man. He
was contented with what he had, carried on his trade cheerfully, and so
it came to pass that through his own efforts he became well-to-do and
was well thought of throughout the Black Forest. He never quarreled
again with his wife, honored his mother, and gave to the poor who
passed his door. When, in due course of time, a beautiful boy was born
to him, Peter went to the Tannenbuehl and spoke his verse. But the
Little Glass-Man did not respond. "Herr Schatzhauser," cried Peter,
"hear me this time; I only want to ask you to stand as godfather to my
little boy!" But there was no reply; only a puff of wind blew through
the pines and threw some cones down into the grass. "I will take these
with me as a memento, since you will not show yourself," said Peter. He
put the cones in his pocket, and went home; but when he took off his
Sunday jacket and gave it to his mother to put away, four large rolls
of coin fell from the pockets, and when they were opened they proved to
be good, new Baden thalers, with not a counterfeit among them. And this
was the godfather's gift from the little man in the Tannenbuehl to the
little Peter.

Thus they lived on, quietly and contentedly; and often afterwards, when
the gray hairs began to show on Peter's head, he would say: "It is
better to be contented with a little than to have gold and estates with
a _marble heart_."



Some five days had now passed, and Felix, the huntsman and the student
were still the prisoners of the robbers. They were well treated by the
chief and his men, but still they longed for their freedom, for each
day that passed added to their fear of discovery. On the evening of the
fifth day, the huntsman declared to his companions in misfortune that
he was fully resolved to escape that night or die in the attempt. He
incited his companions to the same resolve, and showed them how they
should set about the attempt. "The guard who is posted nearest to us, I
will look after," said he. "It is a case of necessity, and necessity
knows no law;--he must die!"

"Die!" repeated Felix in horror; "you would kill him?"

"I am firmly resolved to do it, when it comes to the question of saving
two human lives. You must know that I overheard the robbers whispering,
in an anxious manner, that the woods were being scoured for them; and
the old women, in their anger, let out the wicked designs of the band;
they cursed about us, and it is an understood thing that if the robbers
are attacked we shall die without mercy."

"God in Heaven!" exclaimed the young man, hiding his face in his hands.

"Still, they have not put the knives to our throats as yet," continued
the huntsman, "therefore, let us get the start of them. When it gets
dark I will steal up to the nearest guard; he will challenge me; I
shall whisper to him that the countess has been suddenly taken very
sick, and while he is off his guard I will stab him. Then I will return
for you, and the second guard will not escape us any more easily; and
between us three the third sentinel will not stand much of a show."

The huntsman, as he spoke, looked so terrible that Felix was actually
in fear of him. He was about to beg of him to give up these bloody
designs, when the door of the hut opened softly, and a man's form stole
in quickly. It was the robber chief. He closed the door carefully
behind him, and motioned to the prisoners to keep quiet. He then sat
down near Felix, and said:

"Lady countess, your situation is a desperate one. Your husband has not
kept faith with us; not only has he failed to send the ransom, but he
has also aroused the government against us, and the militia are
scouring the forest in all directions to capture me and my men. I have
threatened your husband with your death, if an attempt was made to
seize us; still either your life must be of very little account to him,
or else he does not think we are in earnest. Your life is in our hands,
and is forfeited under our laws. Have you any thing to say on the
subject?"

The prisoners looked down in great perplexity; they knew not what to
answer, for Felix felt sure that a confession of his disguise would
only increase their danger.

"It is impossible for me," continued the robber, "to place a lady, for
whom I have the utmost esteem, in danger. Therefore I will make a
proposition for your rescue; it is the only way out that is left you;
_I will fly with you._"

Surprised, astonished beyond measure, they all looked at him while he
continued: "The majority of my comrades have decided to go to Italy,
and join a band of brigands there; but for my part it would not suit me
to serve under another, and therefore I shall make no common cause with
them. If, now, you will give me your word, lady countess, to speak a
good word for me, to use your influence, with your powerful
connections, for my protection, then I will set you free before it is
too late."

Felix was at a loss what to say. His honest heart was opposed to
willfully exposing a man, who was offering to save his life, to a
danger from which he might not afterwards be able to protect him. As he
still remained silent, the robber continued: "At the present time,
soldiers are wanted every-where; I will be satisfied with the most
common position. I know that you have great influence, but I will not
ask for any thing further than your promise to do something for me in
this case."

"Well, then," replied Felix, with eyes cast down, "I promise you to do
what I can, whatever is in my power, to be of use to you. There is some
consolation for me in the fact that of your own free will you are
anxious to give up this life of a brigand."

The robber chief kissed his hand with much emotion, and added, in a
whisper, that the countess must be ready to go two hours after night
had set in; and then left the hut with as much caution as he had
entered it. The prisoners breathed freer, when he had gone.

"Verily," exclaimed the huntsman, "God has softened his heart. How
wonderful our means of escape! Did I ever dream that any thing like
this could happen in the world, and that I should fall in with such an
adventure?"

"Wonderful, certainly!" said Felix; "but have I done right in deceiving
this man? What will my protection amount to? Shall I not be luring him
to the gallows, if I do not confess to him who I am?"

"Why, how is it possible you can have such scruples, dear boy?"
exclaimed the student; "and after you have played your part to such
perfection, too! No, you needn't feel anxious on that score at all;
that is nothing but a lawful subterfuge. Did he not attempt the outrage
of kidnapping a noble lady? No, you have not done wrong; moreover I
believe he will win favor with the authorities, when he, the head of
the band, voluntarily surrenders himself."

This last reflection comforted the young goldsmith. In joyful
anticipations alternating with uneasy apprehensions over the success of
the plan of escape, they passed the succeeding hours. It was already
dark when the chief returned, laid down a bundle of clothes, and said:

"Lady countess, in order to facilitate our flight, it is necessary for
you to put on this suit of men's clothes. Get all ready. In an hour we
shall begin our march." With these words, he left the prisoners; and
the huntsman had great difficulty in refraining from laughter. "This
will be the second disguise," cried he, "and I am sure that this will
be better suited to you than the first one was!"

They opened the bundle and found a handsome hunting costume, with all
its belongings, which fitted Felix well. After he had put it on, the
huntsman was about to throw the countess's clothes into a corner of the
hut; but Felix would not consent to leave them there; he made a small
bundle of them, and hinted that he meant to ask the countess to present
them to him, and that he would preserve them all his life as a memento
of these eventful days.

Finally the robber chief came. He was fully armed, and brought the
huntsman the rifle that had been taken away from him, and a powder-horn
as well. He also gave the student a musket, and handed Felix a hunting
knife, with the request that he would carry it and use it in case of
necessity. It was fortunate for the three men that it was so dark, for
the eager air with which Felix received this weapon might have betrayed
his sex to the robber. As they stole carefully out of the hut, the
huntsman noticed that the post near their hut was not guarded, so that
it was possible for them to slip away from the huts unnoticed; yet the
leader did not take the path that led up out of the ravine, but brought
them all to a cliff that was so nearly perpendicular as to seem quite
impassible. Arriving there, their guide showed them a rope-ladder
secured to the rocks above. He swung his rifle on his back, and climbed
up a little way, telling the countess to follow him, and offering his
hand to assist her. The huntsman was the last to climb up. Arriving at
the top of the cliff, they soon struck a foot-path, and walked away at
a fast pace.

[Illustration]

"This foot-path," said their guide, "leads to the Aschaffenburg road.
We will go to that place, as I have received information that your
husband, the count, is stopping there now."

They walked on in silence, the robber chief keeping the lead, and the
others following close at his heels. After a three hours' walk, they
stopped. The robber recommended Felix to sit down and rest. He then
brought out some bread, and a flask of old wine, and offered this
refreshment to the weary ones. "I believe that within an hour we shall
strike some of the outposts established by the militia all around the
forest. In that case I beg you to bespeak good treatment for me of the
commanding officer."

Felix assented, although he expected but little good to result from his
interference. They rested for half an hour, and then continued their
walk. They had gone on for about an hour, and had nearly reached the
highway; the day was just breaking, and the shadows of night were
disappearing from the forest, when their steps were suddenly arrested
by a loud "Halt!" Five soldiers surrounded them, and told them that
they must be taken before the commanding officer, and give an account
of their presence in the forest. When they had gone fifty paces
further, under the escort of the soldiers, they saw weapons gleaming in
the thicket to the right and left of them; a whole army seemed to have
taken possession of the forest.

The mayor sat, with several other officers, under an oak tree. When the
prisoners were brought before him, and just as he was about to question
them as to whence they came and whither they were bound, one of the men
sprang up exclaiming: "Good Heaven! what do I see? that is surely
Godfried, our forester!"

"You are right, Mr. Magistrate!" answered the huntsman, in a joyful
voice. "It is I, and I have had a wonderful rescue from the hands of
those wretches."

The officers were astonished to see him; and the huntsman asked the
mayor and the magistrate to step aside with him, when he related to
them, in a few words, how they had escaped, and who the fourth man that
accompanied them was.

Rejoiced at this news, the mayor at once made preparations to have this
important prisoner conveyed to another point; and then he led the young
goldsmith to his comrades, and introduced him as the heroic youth that
had, by his courage and presence of mind, saved the countess; and they
all took Felix by the hand, praised him, and could not hear enough from
him and the huntsman about their adventures.

In the meantime it had become broad daylight. The mayor decided to
accompany the rescued ones to the town. He went with them to the
nearest village, where a wagon stood, and invited Felix to take a seat
with him in the wagon; while the student, the huntsman, the magistrate,
and many other people, rode before and after them; and thus they
entered the city in triumph. Reports of the attack on the forest inn,
and of the sacrifice of the young goldsmith, had spread over the
country like wildfire; and just as rapidly did the news of their rescue
now pass from mouth to mouth. It was, therefore, not to be wondered at,
that they found the streets of the city crowded with people who were
eager to catch a glimpse of the young hero. Everybody pressed forward,
as the wagon rolled slowly through the streets. "There he is!" shouted
the crowd. "Do you see him there in the wagon beside the officer! Long
live the brave young goldsmith!" And the cheers of a thousand voices
rent the air.

Felix was deeply moved by the hearty welcome of the crowd. But a still
more affecting reception awaited him at the court-house. A middle-aged
man met him on the steps, and embraced him with tears in his eyes. "How
can I reward you, my son?" cried he. "You have saved me my wife, and my
children their mother; for the shock of such an imprisonment her gentle
frame could not have survived."

Strongly as Felix insisted that he would not accept of any reward for
what he had done, the more did the count seem resolved that he should.
At last the unfortunate fate of the robber chief occurred to the
youth's mind, and he related to the count how this man had rescued him,
thinking that he was the countess, and that therefore the robber was
really entitled to the count's gratitude. The count, moved not so much
by the action of the robber chief as by this fresh display of
unselfishness on Felix's part, promised to do his best to save the
robber from the punishment due his crimes.

On the same day, the count took the young goldsmith, accompanied by the
stout-hearted huntsman, to his palace, where the countess, still
anxious for the fate of the young man, was waiting for news from the
forest. Who could describe her joy when her husband entered her room,
holding her deliverer by the hand? She was never through questioning
and thanking him; she brought her children and showed to them the
noble-hearted youth to whom their mother owed so much, and the little
ones seized his hands, and the child-like way in which they spoke their
thanks and their assurances that, next to their father and mother, they
loved him better than any one else in the whole world, were to him a
most blessed recompense for many sorrows, and for the sleepless nights
he had passed in the robbers' camp.

After the first moments of rejoicing were over, the countess beckoned
to a servant, who presently brought the clothes and the knapsack that
Felix had turned over to the countess in the forest inn. "Here is every
thing," said she, with a kindly smile, "that you gave me on that
terrible night; they enveloped me with a glamour that blinded my
pursuers. They are once more at your service; still I will make you an
offer for these clothes, that I may have some mementoes of you. And I
ask you to take in exchange the sum which the robbers demanded for my
ransom."

Felix was confounded by the munificence of this present; his nobler
self revolted against accepting a reward for what he had done
voluntarily. "Gracious countess," said he, deeply moved, "I can not
consent to this. The clothes shall be yours as you wished; but the
money of which you spoke I can not take. Still, as I know that you are
desirous of rewarding me in some way, instead of any other reward, let
me continue to be blessed with your best wishes, and should I ever
happen to be in need of assistance, you may be sure that I will call on
you." In vain did the countess and her husband seek to change the young
man's resolution; and the servant was about to carry the clothes and
knapsack out again, when Felix remembered the ornament, which the
occurrence of these happy scenes had put out of his mind.

"Wait," cried he; "there is one thing in my knapsack, gracious lady,
that you must permit me to take; every thing else shall be wholly and
entirely yours."

"Just as you please," said she; "although I should like, to keep every
thing just as it is, to remember you by; so please take only what you
can not do without. Yet, if I may be permitted to ask, what is it that
lies so near to your heart that you don't wish to give it to me?"

While she was speaking, the young man had opened the knapsack, and now
produced a small red morocco case. "Every thing that belongs to me, you
are welcome to," replied he, smiling; "but this belongs to my dear lady
godmother. I did the work on it myself, and must carry it to her with
my own hands. It is a piece of jewelry, gracious lady," continued he as
he opened the case and held it out to her, "an ornament that I myself
prepared."

She took the case, but hardly had she looked at the ornament when she
started back in surprise.

"Did you say that these stones were intended for your godmother?"
exclaimed she.

"Yes, to be sure," answered Felix; "my lady godmother sent me the
stones, I set them, and am now on the way to deliver them to her
myself."

The countess looked at him with deep emotion; the tears started from
her eyes. "Then you are Felix Perner of Nuremberg?" said she.

"Yes; but by what means did you find out my name so quickly?" asked the
youth, in great perplexity.

"O wonderful dispensation of heaven!" exclaimed she, turning to her
astonished husband. "This is Felix, our little godson, the son of our
maid, Sabine! Felix! I am the one whom you were on your way to see; and
you saved your godmother from the robbers without knowing it."

"What? Are you then the Countess Sandau, who did so much for me and my
mother? And is this the Castle Maienburg, to which I was bound! How
grateful I am to the kind fate that brought us together so strangely;
thus I have been able to prove indeed, even if in small measure, my
great thankfulness to you."

"You did more for me than I shall ever be able to do for you; still
while I live I shall try to show you how deeply indebted to you we all
feel. My husband shall be to you a father, my children shall be as
sisters, while I will be your true mother; and this ornament, that led
you to me in the hour of my greatest need, shall be my most precious
souvenir, for it will always remind me of you and of your noble
spirit."

Thus spake the countess; and well did she keep her word. She gave the
fortunate Felix abundant support on his wanderings, and when he
returned as a clever master of his art she bought a house for him in
Nuremberg and fitted it up completely. Not the least striking among the
appointments of his parlor were finely painted pictures, representing
the scenes in the inn, and Felix's life among the robbers.

There Felix lived as a clever goldsmith. The fame of his work, together
with the wonderful story of his heroism, brought him customers from all
parts of the realm. Many strangers, on coming to the beautiful city of
Nuremberg, found their way to the shop of the famous Master Felix, in
order to have a look at him, also to order an ornament made by him. But
his most welcome visitors were the forester, the compass-maker, the
student, and the wagoner. Whenever the latter travelled from Wuerzburg
to Fuerth, he stopped to speak with Felix. The huntsman brought him
presents from the countess nearly every year; while the compass-maker,
after wandering about in all lands, settled down with Felix.

One day they were visited by the student. He had grown to be an
important man in the country, but was not ashamed to drop in now and
then and take supper with Felix and the compass-maker. They lived over
again all the scenes in the forest inn, and the former student related
that he had seen the robber chief in Italy; he had improved very much
for the better, and served as a brave soldier under the King of Naples.

Felix was rejoiced to hear this. Without this man, it is true, he might
never have been placed in so dangerous a situation as in those days of
his captivity; but neither could he have escaped from the robber band
without his aid. And thus it was that the brave master goldsmith had
only peaceful and agreeable recollections of the _Inn in the Spessart_.



                               PART III.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                          TALES OF THE PALACE.



                          TALES OF THE PALACE.



                   THE SHEIK'S PALACE AND HIS SLAVES.


Ali Banu, Sheik of Alessandria, was a singular man. When he passed down
the street of a morning, with a superb cashmere turban wound about his
head, and clad in a festival habit, and sash worth not less than fifty
camels, walking with slow and solemn steps, his forehead so contracted
that his eyebrows met, his eyes cast down, and at every fifth step
stroking his long black beard with a thoughtful air--when he thus took
his way to the mosque, to give readings from the Koran to the Faithful,
as required by his office; then the people on the street paused, looked
after him, and said to one another: "He is really a handsome, stately
man." "And rich,--a rich gentleman," another added; "extremely wealthy;
has he not a palace on the harbor of Stamboul? Has he not estates and
lands, and many thousand head of cattle, and a great number of slaves?"
"Yes," spoke up a third; "and the Tartar who was recently sent here from
Stamboul, with a message for the sheik from the sultan (may the Prophet
preserve him), told me that our sheik was thought highly of by the
minister of foreign affairs, by the lord high admiral, by all the
ministers, in fact; yes, even by the sultan." "Yes," exclaimed a
fourth, "fortune attends his steps. He is a wealthy distinguished
gentleman; but--but--you know what I mean!" "Yes, certainly,"
interrupted the others; "it is true he has his burden to carry, and I
wouldn't care to change places with him. He is rich, and a man of rank,
but, but--"

Ali Banu had a splendid house on the finest square in Alessandria. In
front of the house was a broad terrace, surrounded by a marble wall,
and shaded by palm trees. Here the sheik often sat of an evening
smoking his nargileh. At a respectable distance, twelve richly costumed
slaves awaited his orders; one carried his betel, another held his
parasol, a third had vessels of solid gold filled with rare sherbet, a
fourth carried a fan of peacock's feathers to drive away the flies from
his master's person, others were singers and carried lutes and wind
instruments to entertain him with music when he so desired, while the
best educated of them all carried scrolls from which to read to their
master.

But they waited in vain for him to signify his pleasure. He desired
neither music nor song; he did not wish to hear passages or poems from
the wise poets of the past; he would not taste of the sherbet, nor chew
of the betel; and even the slave with the fan had his labor for his
pains, as the master was indifferent to the flies that buzzed about
him.

The passers-by often stopped and wondered over the splendor of the
house, at the richly dressed slaves, and the signs of comfort that
prevailed every-where; but when their eyes fell on the sheik, sitting
so grave and melancholy under the palms, with his gaze never once
wandering from the little blue clouds of his nargileh, they shook their
heads and said: "Truly, this rich man is a poor man. He, who has so
much, is poorer than one who has nothing; for the Prophet has not given
him the sense to enjoy it." Thus spake the people; they laughed at him
and passed on.

One evening, as the sheik again sat under the palms before his door, in
all his pomp, some young men standing in the street looked at him and
laughed.

"Truly," said one, "Sheik Ali Banu is a foolish man; had I his wealth,
I should make a different use of it. Every day I would live sumptuously
and in joy; my friends should dine with me in the large _salons_ of the
house, and song and laughter should fill these sad halls."

"Yes," rejoined another, "all that might be very fine; but many friends
would make short work of a fortune, even were it as large as that of
the sultan (whom the Prophet preserve); but if I sat there under the
palms, fronting this beautiful square, my slaves should sing and play,
my dancers should come and dance and leap and furnish all sorts of
entertainment. Then, too, I should take pleasure in smoking the
nargileh, should be served with the costly sherbet, and enjoy myself in
all this like a king of Bagdad."

"The sheik," said a third young man, who was a writer, "should be a
wise and learned man; and really his lectures on the Koran show him to
be a man of extensive reading; But is his life ordered as is beseeming
in a man of sense? There stands a slave, with an armful of scrolls; I
would give my best suit of clothes just to read one of them, for they
are certainly rare treasures. But he! Why, he sits and smokes, and
leaves books--books--alone! If I were Sheik Ali Banu, the fellow should
read to me until he was entirely out of breath, or until night came on;
and even then he should read to me till I had fallen asleep."

"Ha! you will grant that my plan for enjoying life is the best,"
laughed a fourth. "Eating and drinking, dancing and singing, hearing
the tales and poems of miserable authors! No, I would have it all
another way. He has the finest of horses and camels, and abundance of
money. In his place, I would travel--travel to the ends of the earth,
to the Muscovites, to the Franks; no distance should prevent my seeing
the wonders of the world. That's what I would do, if I were that man
yonder."

"Youth is a beautiful season, and the age at which one is joyful," said
an old man, of insignificant appearance, who stood near them, and had
overheard their conversation. "But permit me to say that youth is also
foolish, and talks thoughtlessly now and then without knowing what it
says."

"What were you saying, old man?" asked the young men in surprise. "Did
you mean us? How does it concern you, if we find fault with the sheik's
mode of life?"

"If one is better informed than another, he should correct the other's
errors; so says the Prophet," rejoined the old man. "The sheik, it is
true, is blessed with plenty, and has every thing that the heart could
desire; yet he has reason to be sad and melancholy. Did you suppose he
was always thus? No; fifteen years ago he was cheerful and active as
the gazelle, lived merrily, and enjoyed life. At that time he had a
son, the joy of his life, handsome and talented, and those who saw and
heard him talk envied the sheik his idol, for he was not more than ten
years old, and yet there were few youths of eighteen as well educated."

"And he died? The poor sheik!" cried the young writer.

"It would be a consolation to the sheik to know that he had gone to the
mansions of the Prophet, where he would be better off than here in
Alessandria; but that which the sheik had to suffer is far worse. It
was at the time when the Franks, like hungry wolves, invaded our land,
and waged war against us. They took Alessandria, and from here they
went on further and attacked the Mamelukes. The sheik was a wise man,
and understood how to get along with the enemy. But whether it was
because they had designs on his treasure, or because he had taken the
Faithful into his house, I do not know for a certainty; but they came
one day to him and accused him of having secretly supplied the
Mamelukes with provisions, horses and weapons. It was of no use that he
proved his innocence, for the Franks are a rough, hardhearted people,
when it is a question of extorting money. They took his young son,
Kairam, as a hostage to their camp. The sheik offered a large sum of
money for his return, but they held on to the boy for a still higher
bid. In the meantime they received an order from their pasha, or
whatever his title might be, to embark on their vessels. Not a soul in
Alessandria knew a thing about it, and all at once they were seen
standing out to sea, having, it is believed, taken little Kairam with
them, as nothing has ever been heard of him since."

"Oh, the poor man! how terribly Allah has chastened him!" the young men
exclaimed in concert, looking with pity at the sheik, who, with such
magnificent surroundings, sat sad and lonely under the palms.

"His wife, whom he loved so dearly, died from grief at the loss of her
son. The sheik then bought a ship, fitted it out, and induced the Frank
physician who lives down there by the fountain, to sail with him to the
country of the Franks, to search for young Kairam. They set sail, and
had a long passage before reaching the land of those Giaours, those
Infidels, who had been in Alessandria. But there every thing was in a
horrible tumult. They had just beheaded their sultan; and the pashas
and the rich and the poor were now engaged in taking each other's heads
off, and there was no order or law in the land. Their search for little
Kairam was a vain one, and the Frank physician finally advised the
sheik to embark for home, as their own heads might be endangered by a
longer stay. So they came back again; and since their arrival the sheik
has lived just as he does to-day, mourning for his son. And he is in
the right. Must he not think, whenever he eats and drinks: 'Perhaps at
this moment my poor Kairam hungers and thirsts?' And when he has
arranged himself in costly shawls, and holiday suits, as required by
his office and rank, must he not think: 'He has probably nothing now
with which to cover his nakedness?' And when he is surrounded by
singers, dancers, readers, who are all his slaves, does he not think:
'Now my son may be dancing and making music for his master in the
Frank's country, just as he is ordered?' But what pains him most is the
fear lest little Kairam, being so far from the land of his fathers, and
surrounded by Infidels who jest at his religion, may become separated
from the faith of his fathers, so that he will not at the last be able
to embrace him in the gardens of paradise. This is what makes him so
mild with his slaves, and prompts his large gifts to the poor; for he
believes that Allah will recompense him by moving the heart of his
son's master to treat Kairam with kindness. Also, on each anniversary
of his son's abduction, he sets twelve slaves free."

"I have heard of that," said the writer. "One hears curious stories
floating about; but no mention was made to me of the son. But, on the
other hand, it is said that the sheik is a singular man, and remarkably
fond of stories, and that every year he institutes a story-telling
match between his slaves, and the one who tells the best story is
rewarded with his freedom."

"Don't put any faith in these reports," said the old man. "It is just
as I have told you; it is, however, possible that he seeks the
relaxation afforded by a story, on this day of painful recollections;
but still he frees the slaves on his son's account. But the night is
cold, and I have far to go. _Schalem aleikum_--peace be with you, young
gentlemen, and think better, in the future, of the good sheik."

The young people thanked the old man for the information he had given
them, glanced once more at the sorrowing father, and walked away saying
to one another: "On the whole, I should not care to be the Sheik Ali
Banu."



Not long afterward, it so happened that these same young men passed
down the street at the hour of morning prayers. The old man and his
story recurred to their minds, and they expressed their sympathy for
the sheik as they looked up at his house. But how astonished were they
to find the house and grounds gaily decorated! From the roof, where
comely slave women were promenading, banners waved; the porch of the
house was covered with costly carpets; silks were laid down over the
steps, and beautiful cloth, of a texture so fine that most people would
have been glad to have a holiday suit cut from it, was spread well into
the street.

"Hey! How the sheik has changed in the last few days!" exclaimed the
young writer. "Is he about to give a banquet? Will he test the powers
of his singers and dancers? Only look at this carpet! Is there another
as fine in all Alessandria? And this cloth laid right on the ground;
really that is too wasteful!"

"Do you know what I think?" said another. "He must be going to receive
some guest of high rank; for these are preparations such as are made
when a ruler of a great country or a minister of the sultan blesses a
house with his presence. Who can possibly be coming today?"

"Look! is not that our old friend below? He would be able to give us
some information about this. Ho, there! old gentleman! Can't you come
up here a moment?"

The old man noticed their gestures, and approached them, recognizing
them as the young men with whom he had conversed some days before. They
called his attention to the changes in the sheik's house, and asked him
if he knew what distinguished guest was expected.

"You seem to think," replied he, "that Ali Banu has arranged for some
festivities, or that he is to be honored by the visit of some great
man. Such is not the case; but to-day is the twelfth day of the month
of Ramadan, as you know, and is the day on which his son was taken
prisoner."

"But by the beard of the Prophet!" exclaimed one of the young fellows;
"everything there has the appearance of a wedding or other festival;
and still it is the anniversary of his greatest sorrow. Come, how will
you harmonize this discrepancy? Confess that the sheik is somewhat
shattered in mind."

"Do you always render such a hasty verdict, my young friend?" asked the
old man, smiling. "This time also your arrow was pointed and sharp, and
the string of your bow drawn tight; and yet your arrow flew wide of the
mark. Know, then, that to-day the sheik expects his son!"

"Then he is found?" shouted the young men joyfully.

"No, and it will probably be a long time before he is found. But
listen: Eight or ten years ago, as the sheik was passing this
anniversary in sorrow and lamentations, also freeing slaves and giving
food and drink to the poor, it so happened that he also gave food and
drink to a dervish, who, tired and faint, lay in the shadow of his
house. Now the dervish was a holy man, and experienced in prophecies
and the signs of the stars. After his refreshment by the kind hand of
the sheik, he went up to him and said: 'I know the cause of your
sorrow; is not today the twelfth of Ramadan, and was it not on this day
that you lost your son? But cheer up, for this day of sadness shall be
changed to one of joy; know that on this same day your son will
sometime return to you.'

"Thus spake the dervish. It would be a sin for a Mussulman to doubt the
word of such a man, and although the sorrow of Ali Banu may not have
been lessened thereby, yet he continues to look for the return of his
son on this day, and adorns his house and porch and steps as though
little Kairam might arrive at any moment."

"Wonderful!" exclaimed the writer. "But I should like to see the
decorations inside the house, and note how the sheik bears himself
amongst all this splendor; but, above all, I should like to listen to
the tales that are related to him by his slaves."

"Nothing easier to arrange than that," replied the old man. "The
steward of the slaves of that house has been my friend these many
years, and would not grudge me a seat in the _salon_, where, among the
crowd of servants and friends of the sheik, a single stranger would not
be noticed. I will speak to him about letting you in; there are only
four of you, and it might be arranged. Come at the ninth hour to this
square, and I will give you an answer."

The young men returned their thanks, and went away full of curiosity to
see how all this would end.

The young men were on hand at the appointed hour, and on the square
before the sheik's house they met the old man, who told them that the
steward would admit them. He went before them, not by way of the
decorated steps and gate, but through a little side gate, that he
closed carefully after them. Then he led them through many passages
until they came to the large _salon_. Here there was a great crowd on
all sides; there were richly dressed men of rank of the city--friends
of the sheik, who had come to console him in his sorrow. There were
slaves of every race and nation. But everybody wore a sorrowful
expression, for they all loved their master and shared his grief. At
one end of the _salon_, on a costly divan, sat the nearest friends of
Ali Banu, who were waited upon by slaves. Near them, on the floor, sat
the sheik, whose grief would not permit him to sit in state. His head
was supported in his hands, and he seemed to be paying little attention
to the consolations whispered to him by his friends. Opposite him sat
some old and young men in slave costume. The old man informed his young
friends that these were the slaves whom Ali Banu would free to-day.
Among them were some Franks; and the old man called his friends'
special attention to one of them, who was of extraordinary beauty, and
was still quite young. The sheik had recently bought him, for an
enormous sum, from some slave-dealers of Tunis, and was,
notwithstanding his high cost, about to set him free, believing that
the more Franks he returned to their fatherland the sooner the Prophet
would restore his son.

After refreshments had been handed around, the sheik gave a sign to the
steward, who now stood up amid the deep silence that prevailed in the
room. He stepped before the slaves who were shortly to be freed, and
said in a clear voice: "Men, who will receive your freedom to-day,
through the grace of my master Ali Banu, Sheik of Alessandria, conform
now to the custom of this house on this day, and begin your
narratives."

After much whispering among themselves, an old slave arose and began
his story.

                           *   *   *   *   *



                            THE DWARF NOSEY.


Sire! They are wrong who believe that fairies and magicians existed
only at the time of Haroun-al-Raschid, or who assert that the reports
of the doings of the genii and their princes, which one hears on the
market-place, are untrue. There are fairies to-day, and it is not so
long ago that I myself was the witness of an occurrence in which genii
were concerned.

In an important city of my dear fatherland, Germany, there lived, some
years ago, a poor but honest shoemaker and his wife. In the day time he
sat at the corner of the street, repairing shoes and slippers, and even
made new ones when he could find a customer, although he had to first
purchase the leather, as he was too poor to keep any stock on hand. His
wife sold vegetables and fruits, raised by her on a small plat before
their door, and many people chose to buy of her because she was clean
and neatly dressed, and knew how to make the best display of her
vegetables.

These worthy people had a pleasant-faced, handsome boy, well-shaped and
quite large for a child of eight years. He was accustomed to sit by his
mother's side on the market-place, and to carry home a part of the
fruit for the women or cooks who bought largely of his mother; and he
rarely returned from these errands without a beautiful flower, or a
piece of money, or cakes;--as the masters of these cooks were always
pleased to see the little fellow at their houses, and never failed to
reward him generously.

One day the shoemaker's wife sat, as usual, in the market-place; while
ranged around her were baskets of cabbages and other vegetables, all
kinds of herbs and seeds, and also, in a small basket, early pears,
apples, and apricots. Little Jacob--this was the boy's name--sat near
her and cried her wares in a manly voice: "This way, gentlemen! see
what beautiful cabbages! how sweet-smelling are these herbs! early
pears, ladies! early apples and apricots! Who buys? My mother offers
them cheap." An old woman came to the market, torn and ragged, with a
small sharp-featured face, wrinkled with age, and a crooked pointed
nose that nearly reached the chin. She leaned on a long crutch; and it
was not easy to see how she got over the ground, as she limped and slid
and staggered along--as if she had wheels on her feet, and was in
momentary danger of being tilted over and striking her pointed nose on
the pavement.

The shoemaker's wife looked attentively at this old woman. For sixteen
years she had been in daily attendance at the market, but had never
before seen this singular creature. But she involuntarily shrank back,
as the old woman tottered towards her and stopped before her baskets.

"Are you Hannah, the vegetable dealer?" asked the old woman, in a harsh
cracked voice, her head shaking from side to side.

"Yes, I am she," replied the shoemaker's wife. "Can I do any thing for
you?"

"We'll see, we'll see! Look at the herbs, look at the herbs, and see
whether you have any thing I want," answered the old woman as she bent
down over the baskets, and, pushing her dark skinny hands down among
the herbs, seized the bundles that were so tastefully spread out, and
raised them one after another to her long nose, snuffing at every part
of them. It pressed heavily on the heart of the shoemaker's wife to see
her rare herbs handled in such a way, but she did not dare to offer any
objections, as purchasers were privileged to examine her goods; and,
besides this, she experienced a singular fear of the old woman. When
she had rummaged through the basket, the old woman muttered: "Miserable
stuff! poor herbs! nothing there that I want; much better fifty years
ago; bad stuff--bad stuff!"

These remarks displeased little Jacob. "You are a shameless old woman!"
cried he, angrily. "First you put your dirty brown fingers into the
beautiful herbs and rumple them, then you put them up to your long
nose, so that any one who saw it done will never buy them, and then you
abuse our wares by calling them poor stuff, when, let me tell you, the
duke's cook buys every thing of us!"

The old woman squinted at the spirited boy, laughed derisively, and
said in a husky voice: "Sonny--sonny! So my nose, my beautiful long
nose, pleases you? You shall also have one in the middle of your face
to hang down to your chin." While speaking, she slid along to another
basket containing cabbages. She took the finest white head up in her
hands, squeezed them together till they creaked, flung them down again
into the basket in disorder, and repeated once more: "Bad wares! poor
cabbages!"

"Don't wabble your head about so horribly!" exclaimed the boy,
uneasily. "Your neck is as thin as a cabbage-Stem; it might break and
let your head fall into the basket; who then would buy of us?"

"Don't you like my thin neck?" muttered the old woman, laughing. "You
shall have none at all, but your head shall stick into your shoulders,
so as not to fall from your little body."

"Don't talk such stuff to the child!" said the shoemaker's wife,
indignant at the continued inspection, fingering and smelling of her
wares. "If you want to buy any thing, make haste; you are driving off
all my other customers."

"Good! it shall be as you say," cried the old woman, grimly. "I will
take these six heads of cabbage. But look here--I have to lean on my
crutch and cannot carry any thing; let your little son carry my
purchases home; I will reward him."

The child was unwilling to go, and began to cry, as he was afraid of
the ugly old woman; but his mother bade him go, as she considered it a
sin to burden a weak old woman with so heavy a load. Half crying, he
obeyed her; gathered the cabbages together in a towel, and followed the
old woman from the market.

She went so slowly that it was three quarters of an hour before she
reached a remote part of the city, and finally stopped before a
tumble-down house. Then she drew a rusty old hook from her pocket, and
inserted it skillfully into a small hole in the door, which sprung open
with a bang. But how surprised was little Jacob as he entered! The
interior of the house was splendidly fitted up; the ceilings and walls
were of marble; the furniture of the finest ebony, inlaid with gold and
mother-of-pearl; while the floor was of glass, and so smooth that the
boy slipped and fell several times. The old woman then drew a silver
whistle from her pocket and whistled a tune that resounded shrilly
through the house. In response to this, some Guinea-pigs came down the
stairs; but, as seemed strange to Jacob, they walked upright on two
legs, wore nutshells in place of shoes, and had on clothes and even
hats of the latest fashion.

"Where are my slippers, you rabble?" demanded the old woman, striking
at them with her crutch as they sprang squeaking into the air. "How
long must I stand here waiting?"

The pigs rushed quickly up the stairs, and soon returned, bringing a
pair of cocoanut shells lined with leather, which the old woman put on.
Now all her limping and stumbling disappeared. She threw her staff
away, and glided with great rapidity over the glass floor, pulling
little Jacob along by the hand. At last she stopped in a room
containing all kinds of furniture, that bore some resemblance to a
kitchen, although the tables were mahogany, and the divans were covered
with rich tapestry, suitable for a room of state.

"Take a seat," said the old woman pleasantly, placing Jacob in a corner
of the divan and moving the table before him, so that he could not well
get out of his seat. "Sit down; you have had a heavy load to carry.
Human heads are not so light, not so light."

"But, madame, what strange things you say!" cried the boy. "I am really
tired; but then I carried cabbage-heads that you bought of my mother."

"Eh! you are mistaken," laughed the old woman, as she lifted the cover
of the basket and took out a human head by the hair. The child was
frightened nearly out of his wits. He could not imagine how this had
occurred; but he thought at once of his mother, and that if any one
were to hear of this she would certainly be arrested.

"I must now give you a reward for being so polite," muttered the old
woman. "Have patience for a little while, and I will make you a soup
that you will never forget as long as you live." With this she whistled
once more. Thereupon many Guinea-pigs, all in clothes, came in; they
had kitchen aprons tied around them, and in their waistbands were
ladles and carving-knives. After these, a lot of squirrels came leaping
in, dressed in wide Turkish trousers, standing upright, and wearing
little velvet caps on their heads. They seemed to be the scullions, as
they raced up and down the walls and brought pans and dishes, eggs and
butter, herbs and meal, which they placed on the hearth. Then the old
woman glided across the floor in her cocoanut shoes, bustled about now
here and now there, and the boy saw she was about to cook him
something. Now the fire crackled and blazed up; then the kettle began
to smoke and steam; an agreeable odor was spread through the room:
while the old woman ran back and forth, followed by the squirrels and
Guinea-pigs, and whenever she came to the fire she stopped to stick her
long nose into the pot. Finally the soup began to bubble and boil,
clouds of steam shot up into the air, and the froth ran over into the
fire. Thereupon the old woman took the kettle off, poured some of its
contents into a silver bowl, and placed the same before little Jacob,
saying:

"There, sonny, there, eat some of this soup, and you shall have those
things that so pleased you about me. You will also become a clever
cook; but herbs--no, you will never find such herbs; why didn't your
mother have them in her basket."

The boy did not understand very well what she said, but he gave his
whole attention to the soup, which was very much to his taste. His
mother had often prepared him nice food, but never any thing that could
equal this. The fragrance of choice herbs and spices rose from his
soup, which was neither too sweet nor too sour, and very strong.

While he was swallowing the last drops from the bowl, the Guinea-pigs
burned some Arabic incense, the blue smoke of which swept through the
room. Thicker and thicker became these clouds, till they filled the
room from floor to ceiling. The odor of the incense had a magical
effect on the boy; for, cry as often as he would that he must go back
to his mother, at every attempt to rouse himself he sank back sleepily,
and finally fell fast asleep on the old woman's divan. He dreamed
strange dreams. It seemed to him that the old woman was pulling off
his clothes, and giving him in their place the skin of a squirrel.
Now he could leap and climb like a squirrel; he associated with the
other squirrels and with the Guinea-pigs, all of whom were very nice
well-bred people, and in common with them, thought himself in the
service of the old woman. At first his duties were those of a
shoe-black--that is, he had to put oil on the cocoanuts that served the
old woman for slippers, and rub them until they shone brightly.
However, as he had often done similar work at home, he was quite
skillful at it. After the first year--as it seemed to him in his
dream--he was given more genteel employment; with other squirrels, he
was occupied in catching floating particles of dust, and when they had
accumulated enough of these particles, they rubbed them through the
finest hair sieve, for the old woman considered these dust atoms to be
something superb, and as she had lost her teeth, she had her bread made
of them. After another year's service, he thought, he was placed in the
ranks of those whose duty it was to provide the old woman with
drinking-water. You must not suppose that she had had a cistern sunk,
or placed a barrel in the yard to catch rain-water for this purpose;
no, there was much more refinement displayed; the squirrels--and Jacob
among them--had to collect the dew of the roses in hazelnut shells
for the old woman's drink. And as she was a very thirsty body, the
water-carriers had a hard time of it. In the course of another year he
was given some inside work, such as the position of floor-cleaner; and
as the floor was of glass, on which even a breath would gather, he had
no easy task. They had to sweep it, and were required to do their feet
up in old cloths, and in that condition step around the room. In the
fourth year he was employed in the kitchen. This was a position of
honor that could be attained only after a long apprenticeship. Jacob
served there, rising from a scullion to be first pastry-cook, and
soon acquired such uncommon cleverness and experience in all arts of
the kitchen, that he often wondered at himself. The most difficult
dishes--such as pasties seasoned with two hundred different essences,
and vegetable soup consisting of all the vegetables on earth--all this
he was learned in, and could prepare any thing speedily. Thus had some
seven years passed in the service of the old woman, when one day she
took off her cocoanut shoes, grasped her crutch, and ordered Jacob to
pluck a chicken, stuff it with herbs, and have it all nicely roasted by
the time she came back. He did all this in accordance with the rules of
his art. He wrung the chicken's neck, scalded it in hot water, pulled
out the feathers, scraped the skin till it was nice and smooth, and,
having drawn it, began to collect some herbs for the dressing. In the
room where the vegetables were kept he discovered a closet which he had
never noticed before, the door of which stood ajar. He went nearer,
curious to see what was kept there; and beheld many baskets, from which
a powerful but pleasant odor arose. He opened one of these baskets and
found therein herbs of quite peculiar shape and color. The stems and
leaves were of a bluish-green, and bore a small flower of brilliant
red, bordered with gold. He examined this flower thoughtfully, smelt of
it, and discovered that it gave forth the same strong odor that he had
inhaled from the soup the old woman had cooked for him so long ago. But
so strong was the fragrance that he began to sneeze; he sneezed more
and more violently, and at last--woke up, sneezing.

[Illustration]

He lay on the divan and looked around him in astonishment. "Really, how
true one's dreams do seem!" said he to himself. "Just now I should have
been willing to swear that I was a mean little squirrel, the companion
of Guinea-pigs and other low creatures, and from them exalted to be a
great cook! How my mother will laugh when I tell her all this! But may
she not scold me for going to sleep in a strange house, instead of
hurrying back to help her at the market-place?"

So thinking, he got up to go away; but found his limbs cramped, and his
neck so stiff that he could not move it from side to side. He had to
laugh at himself for being so helplessly sleepy; for every moment,
before he knew it, he was striking his nose on a clothes-press, or on
the wall, or knocked it against the door-frame when he turned around
quickly. The squirrels and Guinea-pigs were whining around him, as if
they wanted to accompany him, and he actually gave them an invitation
to do so, as he stood upon the threshold, for they were nice little
creatures; but they rushed quickly back into the house on their
nutshells, and he could hear them squeaking from a distance.

It was a remote quarter of the city into which the old woman had led
him, and he had difficulty in finding his way out of the narrow alleys;
besides, he was in the midst of a crowd who seemed to have discovered a
dwarf in the vicinity, for all around him he heard shouts of: "Hey!
look at the ugly dwarf! Where does the dwarf come from? Why, what a
long nose he has! and look at the way his head sticks into his
shoulders, and his ugly brown hands!" At any other time, Jacob would
willingly have joined them, as it was one of the delights of his life
to see giants or dwarfs, or any rare and strange sights; but now he
felt obliged to hurry back to his mother.

He was rather uneasy in his mind when he arrived at the market. His
mother still sat there, and had quite a quantity of fruit in the
basket; so that he could not have slept very long after all. But still
he noticed, before reaching her, that she was very sad, as she did not
call on the passers to buy, but supported her head in her hand; and
when he came nearer he thought her much paler than usual. He hesitated
as to what he should do, but finally mustered up courage to slip up
behind her, laid his hand confidingly on her arm and said: "Mother,
what is the matter? Are you angry with me?"

His mother turned around, but on perceiving him sprang back with a cry
of horror.

"What do you want with me, ugly dwarf?" cried she. "Be off with you! I
will not stand such tricks!"

"But, mother, what is the matter with you?" asked Jacob, in a
frightened way. "You are certainly not well; why do you chase your son
away from you?"

"I have already told you to go your way," replied Hannah, angrily. "You
will get no money from me by your jugglery, you hateful monster!"

"Surely, God has taken away her understanding!"
said the child, sorrowfully, to himself. "What means shall I take to
get her home? Dear mother, only be reasonable now; just look at me once
closely; I am really your son, your Jacob."

"This joke is being carried too far," cried Hannah to her neighbor.
"Only look at this hateful dwarf, who stands there and keeps away all
my customers, besides daring to make a jest of my misfortune. He says
to me, 'I am your son, your Jacob,'--the impudent fellow!"

Upon that Hannah's neighbors all got up and began to abuse him as
wickedly as they knew how--and market-women, as you know, understand it
pretty well--ending by accusing him of making sport of the misfortune
of poor Hannah, whose son, beautiful as a picture, had been stolen from
her seven years ago: and they threatened to fall upon him in a body,
and scratch his eyes out, if he did not at once go away.

Poor little Jacob knew not what to make of all this. Was it not true
that he had gone to the market as usual with his mother, early this
morning? that he had helped her arrange the fruits, and afterwards had
gone with the old woman to her house, had there eaten a little soup,
had indulged in a short nap, and come right back again? And now his
mother and her neighbors talked about seven years, and called him an
ugly dwarf! What, then, had happened to him?

When he saw that his mother would not hear another word from him, tears
sprang into his eyes, and he went sadly down the street to the stall
where his father mended shoes. "Now I will see," thought he, "whether
my father will not know me. I will stop in the door-way and speak to
him." On arriving at the shoemaker's stall, he placed himself in the
door-way, and looked in. The master was so busily occupied with his
work, that he did not notice him at first, but when by chance he
happened to look at the door, he let shoes, thread and awl drop to the
ground, and exclaimed in affrights "In heaven's name!--what is that?
what is that?"

"Good evening, master," said the boy, as he stepped inside the shop.
"How do you do?"

"Poorly, poorly, little master," replied the father, to Jacob's great
surprise; as he also did not seem to recognize him. "My business does
not flourish very well, I have no one to assist me, and am getting old;
and yet an apprentice would be too dear."

"But have you no little son, who could one of these days assist you in
your work?" inquired the boy.

"I had one, whose name was Jacob, and who must now be a tall active
fellow of twenty, who could be a great support to me were he here. He
must lead a happy life now. When he was only twelve years old he showed
himself to be very clever, and already understood a good deal about the
trade. He was pretty and pleasant too. He would have attracted custom,
so that I should not have to mend any more, but only make new shoes.
But so it goes in the world!"

"Where is your son, then?" asked Jacob, in a trembling voice.

"God only knows," replied the old man. "Seven years ago,--seven
years--he was stolen from us on the market-place."

"Seven years ago!" exclaimed Jacob in amazement.

"Yes, little master, seven years ago. I remember as though it were but
yesterday how my wife came home weeping, and crying that the child had
been gone the whole day, that she had inquired and searched everywhere,
but could not find him. I had often said that it would turn out so; for
Jacob was a beautiful child, as everybody said, and my wife was so
proud of him, and was pleased when the people praised him, and she
often sent him to carry vegetables and the like to the best houses.
That was all well enough; he was richly rewarded every time; but I
always said: 'Take care! the city is large, and many bad people live in
it. Mind what I say about little Jacob?' Well, it turned out as I had
predicted. An ugly old woman once came to the market, haggled over some
fruits and vegetables, and finally bought more than she could carry
home. My wife--compassionate soul--sent the child with her; and from
that hour we saw him no more!"

"And that was seven years ago you say?"

"It will be seven years in the Spring. We had him cried on the streets,
and went from house to house and inquired for him. Many had known and
loved the pretty youngster, and now searched with us; but all in vain.
Nor did any one know who the woman was that had bought the vegetables;
but a decrepit old woman, some ninety years of age, said that it was
very likely the wicked witch _Kraeuterweiss_, who comes once in every
fifty years to the city to make purchases."

Such was the story Jacob's father told him; and when the shoemaker had
finished, he pegged away stoutly at his shoe, drawing the thread out
with both fists as far as his arms could reach.

By and by Jacob comprehended what had happened to him, namely: that he
had not dreamed at all, but that he must have served the wicked witch
as a squirrel for seven years. Anger and grief so swelled his heart
that it almost broke. The old woman had stolen seven years of his
youth; and what had he received as compensation therefor? The ability
to make cocoanut slippers shine brightly; to clean a glass floor; and
all the mysteries of cooking that he had learned of the guinea-pigs. He
stood there a long time thinking over his fate, when his father finally
asked him: "Is there any thing in my line you would like, young master?
A pair of new slippers, or," he added, smiling, "perhaps a covering for
your nose."

"What's that about my nose?" asked Jacob. "What do I want of a cover
for it?"

"Well," responded the shoemaker, "every one to his taste; but I must
say this much to you: if I had such a terrible nose, I would make for
it a case of rose-colored patent leather. Look! I have a fine piece of
it in my hand here; it would take at least a yard. But how well your
nose would be protected! As it is now, I know you can't help striking
your nose on every door-post, and against every wagon that you try to
get out of the way of."

Jacob stood mute with terror. He felt of his nose; it was thick, and at
least two hands long! So, too, had the old woman changed his figure so
that his mother did not know him, and everybody had called him an ugly
dwarf!

"Master," said he, half crying, "have you a mirror handy, where I can
look at myself?"

"Young master," replied his father gravely. "You do not possess a
figure that should make you vain, and you can have no reason to look in
a glass every hour. Break off the habit; it is an especially silly one
for you to indulge in."

"Oh, do but let me look in the glass!" cried Jacob. "I assure you it is
not from vanity I ask it."

"Leave me in peace--I have none. My wife has a small one, but I don't
know where she keeps it. But if you are bound to look in a glass,
across the street lives Urban, the barber, who has a mirror twice as
large as your head; look into that; and in the meantime, good morning!"

With these words, his father pushed him gently out of the door, closed
it after him, and sat down once more to his work. Jacob, very much
cast-down, went across the street to Urban, whom he had known well in
the past.

"Good morning, Urban," said he to the barber. "I have come to beg a
small favor of you; be so good as to let me look into your glass a
moment."

"With pleasure; there it is," laughed the barber, and his customers,
who were waiting for a shave, laughed with him. "You are a pretty
fellow, tall and slim, with a neck like a swan, hands like a queen, and
a stumpy nose that can not be equalled for beauty. You are a little
vain of it, to be sure; but keep on looking; it shall not be said of me
that I was so jealous I would not let you look in my glass."

The barber's speech was followed by shouts of laughter that fairly
shook the shop. Jacob, in the meantime, had approached the mirror and
looked at his reflection in the glass. Tears came into his eyes. "Yes,
surely you could not recognize your little Jacob, dear mother," thought
he. "He did not look thus in those joyful days when you paraded with
him before the people!" His eyes had become small, like those of the
pigs; his nose was monstrous, and hung down over his mouth and chin;
the neck seemed to have entirely disappeared, as his head sank deeply
into his shoulders, and it was only with the greatest effort that he
could move it to the right or left. His body was still of the same
height as seven years before; but what others gain from the twelfth to
the twentieth year in height, he made up in breadth. His back and
breast were drawn out rounding, so as to present the appearance of a
small but closely-packed sack. This stout, heavy trunk was placed on
thin, weak legs that did not seem able to support the weight. But still
larger were his arms; they were as large as those of a full-grown man;
his hands were rough, and of a yellowish-brown; his fingers long and
spindling, and when he stretched them down straight he could touch the
ground with their tips without stooping. Such was the appearance of
little Jacob, who had grown to be a misshapen dwarf.

He recalled now the morning on which the old woman had come up to his
mother's baskets. Every thing that he had criticised about her--the
long nose, the ugly fingers, every thing, she had inflicted on him;
only the long trembling neck she had left out entirely.

"Well, have you seen enough of yourself, my prince?" said the barber,
stepping towards him with a laugh. "Really, if one were to try and
dream of any thing like it, it would not be possible. For I will make
you a proposal, my little man. My barber shop is certainly well
patronized, but not so well as it used to be, which results from the
fact that my neighbor, Barber Schaum, has somewhere picked up a giant,
who serves to allure customers to his shop. Now, to grow a giant no
great art is required; but to produce a little man like you is quite
another matter. Enter my service, little man; you shall have food,
drink and lodging--every thing; for all which you shall stand outside
of my door mornings, and invite the people to come in; you shall make
the lather, and hand the customers the towel; and be assured we shall
both be benefitted. I shall get more customers than the man with the
giant, while each one of them will cheerfully give you a fee."

Jacob's soul recoiled at the thought of serving as a sign for a barber.
But was he not forced to suffer this abuse patiently? He therefore
quietly told the barber that he had not the time for such services, and
went on his way.

Although the wicked old woman had changed his form, she had had no
power over his spirit, and of this fact Jacob was well aware, as he no
longer felt and thought as he had done seven years before. No; he knew
he had grown wiser and more intelligent in this interval; he sorrowed
not over his lost beauty, not over his ugly shape, but only over the
fact that he had been driven like a dog from his father's door. He now
resolved to make one more attempt to convince his mother of his
identity.

He went to her in the market, and begged her to listen to him quietly.
He reminded her of the day on which he had gone home with the old
woman, of all the little details of his childhood, told her of his
seven years' service as a squirrel with the old witch, and how she
transformed him because he had criticised her appearance. The
shoemaker's wife did not know what to think of all this. His stories of
his childhood agreed with her own recollections; but when he told her
that he had been a squirrel for seven years, she exclaimed: "It is
impossible! and there are no witches." And when she looked at him, she
shuddered at the sight of the ugly dwarf, and did not believe he could
be her son. Finally, she considered it best to lay the matter before
her husband. So she collected her baskets and called the dwarf to go
with her. On reaching the shoemaker's stall, she said:

"Look here; this person claims to be our lost son, Jacob. He has told
me all how he was stolen from us seven years ago, and how he was
bewitched by an old hag."

"Indeed!" interrupted the shoemaker, angrily. "Did he tell you that?
Wait, you good-for nothing! I told him all this myself, not an hour
ago, and now he runs over to jest with you! Enchanted are you, sonny?
I will disenchant you again!" With this he picked up a bundle of thongs
that he had just cut out, sprang at the dwarf, and lashed him on his
back and arms till the dwarf cried out with pain and ran off weeping.

In that city, as in every other, there were but few pitying souls who
would assist a poor unfortunate about whom there was any thing
ridiculous. Therefore it was that the unfortunate dwarf remained the
whole day without food or drink, and at evening was forced to choose
the steps of a church for his couch, cold and hard as they were.

But when the rising sun awaked him, he began to think seriously of how
he should support himself, now that his parents had cast him off. He
was too proud to serve as a sign for a barber's shop; he would not
travel round as a mountebank and exhibit himself for money. What should
he do? It now occurred to him that as a squirrel he had made great
progress in the art of cookery; he believed, not without reason, that
he could hold his own with most cooks; and so he resolved to make use
of his knowledge.

As soon as the streets began to show signs of life, and the morning
was fairly advanced, he entered the church and offered up a prayer.
Then he started on his way. The duke, the ruler of the country, was a
well-known glutton and high-liver, who loved a good table, and selected
his cooks from all parts of the world. To his palace the dwarf betook
himself. When he came to the outer gate, the guards asked him what he
wanted, and had a little sport with him. He asked to see the master of
the kitchen. They laughed, and led him through the court, and at every
step servants stopped to look after him, laughed loudly, and fell in
behind him, so that by and by a monster procession of servants of all
degrees crowded the steps of the palace. The stable-boys threw away
their curry-combs, the messengers ran, the carpet-beaters forgot to
dust their carpets, everybody pushed and crowded, and there was as much
noise and confusion as if the enemy had been before the gates; and the
shout--"A dwarf! a dwarf! Have you seen the dwarf!"--filled the air.

The steward of the palace now appeared at the door, with a stern face,
and a large whip in his hand. "For heaven's sake, you dogs, why do you
make such a noise? Don't you know that the duke still sleeps?" and
thereupon he raised the lash and let it fall on the backs of some
stable-boys and guards.

"Oh, master!" cried they, "don't you see any thing? We bring here a
dwarf--a dwarf such as you have never seen before." The steward was
able to control his laughter only with great difficulty, when he saw
the dwarf. But it would not do to compromise his dignity by a laugh, so
he drove away the crowd with his whip, led the dwarf into the palace,
and asked him what he wanted. When he heard that Jacob wanted to see
the master of the kitchen, he replied:

"You are mistaken, sonny; it is me, the steward of the palace, whom you
wish to see. You would like to become body-dwarf to the duke. Isn't
that so?"

"No, master," answered the dwarf; "I am a clever cook, and experienced
in all kinds of rare dishes; if you will take me to the master of the
kitchen perhaps he can make use of my services."

"Every one to his own way, little man; but you are certainly an
ill-advised youth. In the kitchen! Why, as body-dwarf you would have no
work to do, and food and drink to your heart's desire, and fine
clothes. Still, we will see. Your art will hardly be up to the standard
of a cook for the duke, and you are too good for a scullion." With
these words the steward took him by the hand and led him to the rooms
of the master of the kitchen.

"Gracious master!" said the dwarf, bowing so low that his hands rested
on the floor, "have you no use for a clever cook?"

[Illustration]

The master of the kitchen looked him over from head to foot, and burst
into a loud laugh, "What? You a cook? Do you think that our hearths are
so low that you can see the top of one by standing on your toes and
lifting your head out of your shoulders? Oh dear, little fellow!
Whoever sent you to me for employment as a cook has made a fool of
you." So spoke the master of the kitchen, laughing loudly; and the
steward and all the servants in the room joined in the laugh.

But the dwarf did not allow himself to be disconcerted. "An egg or two,
a little syrup and wine, and meal and spices, can be spared in a house
where there is such plenty," said he. "Give me some kind of a dainty
dish to prepare, furnish me with what I need, and it shall be made
quickly before your eyes, and you will have to confess that I am a cook
by rule and right."

While the dwarf spoke, it was wonderful to see how his little eyes
sparkled, how his long nose swayed from side to side, and his long
spider-like fingers gesticulated in unison with his speech. "Come on!"
cried the master of the kitchen, taking the arm of the steward. "Come
on; just for a joke, let's go down to the kitchen!" They went through
many passages, and at last reached the kitchen, which was a high roomy
building splendidly fitted up. On twenty hearths burned a steady fire;
a stream of clear water, in which fish were darting about, flowed
through the middle of the room; the utensils for immediate use were
kept in closets made of marble and costly woods, and to the right and
left were ten rooms in which were preserved every thing costly and rare
for the palate that could be found in the entire country of the Franks
and even in the Levant. Kitchen servants, of all degrees, were running
about, rattling kettles and pans, and with forks and ladles in their
hands; but when the master of the kitchen entered, they all stopped and
remained so still that one heard only the crackling of the fires and
the splashing of the stream.

"What has His Grace ordered for breakfast this morning?" inquired the
master of the kitchen of the breakfast-cook.

"Sir, he has been pleased to order Danish soup and red Hamburg
dumplings."

"Very well," said the master of the kitchen. "Did you hear, little man,
what His Grace will have to eat? Do you feel capable of preparing these
difficult dishes? In any event, you will not be able to make the
dumplings, for that is a secret."

"Nothing easier," replied the dwarf, to the astonishment of his
hearers; for when a squirrel he had often made these dishes. "Nothing
easier; for the soup, I shall require this and that vegetable, this and
that spice, the fat of a wild boar, turnip, and eggs; but for the
dumpling," continued he, in a voice so low that only the master of the
kitchen and the breakfast-cook could hear, "for the dumpling, I shall
use four different kinds of meat, a little wine, the oil of a duck,
ginger, and a certain vegetable called 'stomach's joy.'"

"Ha! By St. Benedict! What magician learned you this?" cried the cook,
in astonishment. "He has given the receipt to a hair, and the
'stomach's joy' we did not know of ourselves. Yes, that would improve
the flavor, no doubt. O you miracle of a cook!"

"I would not have believed it," said the master of the kitchen; "but
let him make the experiment; give him what things he wants, and let him
prepare the breakfast."

These commands were carried out, and every thing was laid out near the
hearth, when it was discovered that the dwarf's nose barely came up to
the fire-place. Therefore a couple of chairs were placed together, and
upon them a marble slab was laid, and the little magician was then
invited to try his skill. The cooks, scullions, servants, and various
other people, formed a large circle around him, and looked on in
astonishment to see how dexterous were his manipulations and how neatly
his preparations were conducted. When he was through, he ordered both
dishes to be placed on the fire, and to allow them to cook to the exact
moment when he should call out. Then he began to count _one_, _two_,
_three_, and so on, until he reached five hundred, when he sang out:
"Stop!" The pots were then set to one side, and the dwarf invited the
master of the kitchen to taste of their contents. The head cook took a
gold spoon from one of the scullions, dipped it in the brook, and
handed it to the master of the kitchen, who stepped up to the hearth
with a solemn air, dipped his spoon into the food, tasted it, closed
his eyes, smacked his lips, and said: "By the life of the duke, it's
superb! Won't you take a spoonful, steward?" The steward bowed, took
the spoon, tasted, and was beside himself with pleasure. "With all
respect for your art, dear head cook, you have had experience, but have
never made either soup or Hamburg dumpling that could equal this!" The
cook now took a taste, shook the dwarf most respectfully by the hand,
and said: "Little One! you are a master of the art; really, that
'stomach's joy' makes it perfect."

[Illustration]

At this moment the duke's valet came into the kitchen and announced
that his grace was ready for his breakfast. The food was now placed on
silver plates and sent in to the duke; the master of the kitchen taking
the dwarf to his own room, where he entertained him. But they had not
been there long enough to say a pater-noster, (such is the name of the
Franks' prayer, O Sire, and it does not take half as long to say it as
to speak the prayer of the Faithful,) when there came a message from
the duke requesting the presence of the master of the kitchen. He
dressed himself quickly in his court costume, and followed the
messenger. The duke appeared to be in fine spirits. He had eaten all
there was on the silver plates, and was wiping his beard as the master
of the kitchen entered. "Hear me, master of the kitchen," said he, "I
have always been very well pleased with your cooks up to the present
time; now tell me who it was that prepared my breakfast this morning?
It was never so delicious since I sat on the throne of my ancestors;
tell me the cook's name that I may send him a present of a few ducats."

"Sire, it is a strange story," replied the master of the kitchen; and
went on to tell the duke how a dwarf had been brought to him that
morning who wished a place as cook, and what had occurred afterwards.
The duke was greatly astonished. He had the dwarf called, and asked him
who he was, and where he came from. Now poor Jacob certainly could not
say that he had been enchanted, and had once taken service as a
squirrel; still he kept to the truth by saying that he had now neither
father nor mother, and had learned how to cook from an old woman. The
duke did not question him further, but examined the singular shape of
his new cook. "If you will remain in my service," said the duke, "I
will give you fifty ducats a year, a holiday suit, and two pair of
trowsers besides. You will be expected to prepare my breakfast every
morning with your own hands; must direct the preparation of dinner, and
have a general oversight of my kitchen. As I am in the habit of naming
all the people in my palace, you shall take the name of Nosey, and hold
the office of assistant master of the kitchen."

The dwarf, Nosey, prostrated himself before the mighty duke of the
Franks, kissed his feet, and promised to serve him faithfully.

Thus was the dwarf provided for. And he did his office honor; for it
can be said that the duke was quite another man while the dwarf
remained in his service. Formerly he had been wont to express his
displeasure by throwing the dishes, that were taken in to him, at the
heads of the cooks; in fact, once in his anger, he had thrown a roasted
calf's foot, that was not tender enough, at the master of the kitchen,
and it hit him on the forehead and disabled him for three days. To be
sure, the duke made amends for his anger afterwards by distributing
handfuls of ducats among his victims; but nevertheless the cooks never
took his meals in to him without fear and trembling. Since the dwarf's
arrival, however, there was a magical change. Instead of three meals a
day, the duke now indulged in five, in order to do justice to the skill
of the assistant master of the kitchen; and he never betrayed the least
appearance of dissatisfaction. On the contrary, he found every thing
new and rare, was sociable and pleasant, and grew fleshier and happier
from day to day. He would often send for the master of the kitchen and
the dwarf Nosey, in the middle of the meal, and giving them seats on
either side of himself, would feed them the choicest morsels with his
own fingers; a favor that they both knew how to prize.

The dwarf became the wonder of the city. Permission was constantly
sought of the master of the kitchen to see him cook, and a few
gentlemen of the highest rank were able to induce the duke to let their
cooks take lessons from Nosey, and this brought the dwarf in quite a
sum of money, as each pupil had to pay half a ducat daily. And in order
to keep the good will of the other cooks, and prevent them from
becoming jealous, Nosey distributed this money among them.

Thus lived Nosey, in exceptional comfort and honor, for nearly two
years; and only when he thought of his parents did he feel sorrowful.
One day, however, a curious incident occurred.

Nosey was especially fortunate in his purchases. For this reason he was
in the habit of going to market himself for fowls and fruits, whenever
his duties would permit. One morning he went to the goose-market to
look for some heavy fat geese, such as his master loved. His form, far
from arousing jokes and laughter, commanded respect, for he was known
to be the famous chief cook of the duke, and every woman who had geese
to sell was happy if he turned his nose towards her. At the further end
of a row of stalls, he saw a woman sitting in a corner, who had also
geese to sell, but, unlike the other market-women, she did not cry her
wares or attempt to attract buyers. To her he went and weighed her
geese. They were just what he wanted, and he bought three, together
with the cage, shouldered his burden, and started on his way home. It
occurred to him as a very strange thing that only two of these geese
cackled, as genuine geese are accustomed to do, while the third one sat
quite still and reserved, occasionally sighing and sneezing like a
human being. "It must be half-sick," said he, as he went along. "I must
hurry back so as to kill and dress it." But, to his astonishment, the
goose replied, quite plainly:

                 "If you stick me,
                  I will bite ye;
                  If my neck you do not save,
                  You will fill an early grave."

Terribly frightened. Nosey sat the cage down, and the goose looked at
him with beautiful intelligent eyes, and sighed. "Good gracious!"
exclaimed the dwarf. "Can you speak. Miss Goose? I would not have
thought it! Well, now, don't be anxious; one knows how to live without
having any designs on such a rare bird. But I would be willing to bet
that you have not always had these feathers. I was myself once a
contemptible little squirrel."

"You are right," replied the goose, "in saying that I was not born with
this ignominious form. Alas! it was never sung to me in my cradle that
Mimi, daughter of the great Wetterbock, would meet her death in the
kitchen of a duke!"

"Do not be uneasy, dear Miss Mimi," said the dwarf cheerfully. "On my
word of honor, and as sure as I am the assistant master of the kitchen
of His Grace, no one shall harm you. I will fix you up a coop in my own
room, where you shall have plenty of food, and I will devote all my
leisure time to your entertainment. The other kitchen servants shall be
told that I am fattening a goose with different kinds of vegetables,
for the duke; and whenever an opportunity offers, I will set you at
liberty."

The goose thanked him with tears, and the dwarf did as he had promised.
Nor did he furnish her with common goose food, but with pastry and
sweetmeats, and whenever he was at liberty he paid her visits of
condolence. They told one another their histories, and in this way
Nosey learned that she was a daughter of the magician Wetterbock, who
lived on the island of Gothland, and who had begun a quarrel with an
old witch, who in turn had vanquished him by a clever stratagem, and
had then revenged herself upon him by transforming his daughter into a
goose, and bringing her thus far from home. When the dwarf had told her
his story, she said:

"I am not inexperienced in these matters. My father gave my sisters and
myself instructions in the art, as far as he thought best; your account
of the quarrel you had with the old woman over the market baskets, your
sudden transformation while inhaling the steam of that vegetable soup,
taken in connection with some expressions of the old woman that you
told me of, prove conclusively to me that you are bewitched by herbs;
that is to say, if you can find the plant that the old woman used in
your transformation, you can be restored to your former shape."

This announcement was not very consoling to the dwarf, for where was he
to find the plant? Still, he thanked the goose, and strove to be
hopeful.

About this time the duke received a visit from a neighboring prince who
was on friendly terms with him. He sent for the dwarf, and said to him:
"Now is the time when you will have to prove your devotion to me, and
your mastery of the art of cooking. The prince who visits me is
accustomed to the very best, as you know, and is an excellent judge of
fine cooking as well as a wise man. See to it, therefore, that my table
is provided daily with such dishes as will cause his wonder to increase
from day to day. And, on the penalty of my displeasure, you must not
make the same dish twice, during his stay here. My treasurer will
supply you with all the money you may want for this purpose. And even
though you be forced to cook gold and diamonds in lard, do it! I would
rather be ruined than put to the blush before him."

Thus spake the duke; and the dwarf replied with a low obeisance: "It
shall be as you say, my master; God willing, I will so provide that
this prince of epicures shall be satisfied."

The little cook put forth all his skill. He spared neither his master's
money nor himself. And he might be seen the livelong day in the midst
of clouds of smoke and flame, while his voice sounded constantly
through the kitchen, as he ordered the under-cooks and scullions about
like a prince. (Sire, I might imitate the camel-drivers of Aleppo, who,
in relating their stories to the travellers, make their heroes sit
down to the most sumptuous banquets. They will use a whole hour in
their description of the food with which the table is supplied, and
thereby create such ardent longings and uncontrollable hunger in
their hearers that the caravans are constantly halting for a meal, and
the camel-drivers come in for a full share of the provisions so
involuntarily opened. I say I might imitate them, but I will not.)

The duke's guest had now been fourteen days with him, and had been well
entertained. They ate not less than five times a day, and the duke was
contented with the skill of his dwarf, for he saw satisfaction on the
brow of his guest. But on the fifteenth day, it happened that the duke
sent for the dwarf while they sat at table, and presented him to his
guest, with the inquiry how the dwarf's cooking had pleased him.

"You are a marvelous cook," replied the prince, "and know what
constitutes good cheer. In all the time I have been here, you have not
given us the same dish twice, and every thing has been well prepared.
But tell me why it is you have let so long a time pass without
producing the queen of dishes, the Pastry Souzeraine?"

The dwarf was all of a tremble, for he had never heard of this queen of
pastries; but still he recovered himself, and replied: "O Sire! I had
hoped that the light of your countenance would be shed on this palace
for many days yet; therefore I delayed this dish; for what could be a
more appropriate compliment from the cook on the day of your departure,
than the queen of the pastries?"

"Indeed?" laughed the duke, "and were you waiting for the day of my
death, before you should compliment me in the same manner? For you have
never placed this pastry before me. But think of some other parting
dish: for you must set this pastry on the table to-morrow."

"It shall be as you say, master!" answered the dwarf, as he went out.
But he was very much disturbed in mind, for he knew that the day of his
disgrace and misfortune was at hand. He had not the slightest idea how
to make the pastry. He therefore went to his chamber and wept over his
hard fate. Just then the goose, Mimi, who had the run of his chamber,
came up to him and inquired the cause of his sorrow. "Cease to weep,"
said she, on learning of the incident of the pastry. "This _entrée_ was
a favorite dish of my father's, and I know about how it is made. You
take this and that, so and so much, and if there should happen to be
any little thing left out, why, the gentlemen will never notice it."
The dwarf, on hearing Mimi's recipe, jumped for joy, blessed the day on
which he had bought the goose, and ran off to make the queen of the
pastries. He first made a small one by way of experiment, and lo, it
tasted finely, and the master of the kitchen, to whom he gave a morsel,
heartily praised his skill. On the following day, he baked the pastry
in a larger form, and after decorating it with a wreath of flowers,
sent it, hot from the oven, to the duke's table. He then donned
his best suit of clothes, and followed after it. As he entered the
dining-room, the head carver was in the act of cutting the pastry and
serving it up to the duke and his guest, with a silver pie-knife. The
duke took a large mouthful of the pastry, cast his eyes up at the
ceiling, and said as soon as he had swallowed it: "Ah! ah! ah! They are
right in calling this the queen of the pastries; but my dwarf is also
king of all cooks--isn't that so, dear friend?"

The prince helped himself to a small piece, tasted and examined it
attentively, and then, with a scornful smile, pushed the plate away
from him, exclaiming: "The thing is very cleverly made, but still it
isn't the genuine Souzeraine. I thought it would turn out that way."

The duke scowled, and reddening with mortification, cried: "Dog of a
dwarf! How dare you bring this disgrace on your master? Shall I have
your big head taken off as a penalty for your bad cookery?"

"Alas, master, I prepared the dish in accordance with all the rules of
art; there certainly can not any thing be wanting!" cried the dwarf
trembling.

"You lie, you knave!" exclaimed the duke, giving him a kick, "or my
guest would not say that some ingredient was wanting. I will have you
cut up in small pieces and made into a pastry yourself!"

"Have pity!" cried the dwarf, falling on his knees before the guest,
and clasping his feet. "Tell me what is wanting in this dish that it
does not suit your palate? Do not let me die on account of a handful of
meat and meal."

"That wouldn't help you much, dear Nosey," answered the prince,
laughing. "I felt pretty sure yesterday that you couldn't make this
dish as my cook does. Know, then, that there is an herb wanting, that
is not known at all in this country, called _Sneeze-with-pleasure_,
and, without this, the pastry is tasteless and your master will never
have it as good as mine."

The last words aroused the anger of the duke to the highest pitch. "And
yet I will have it!" exclaimed he, with flashing eyes. "For I swear on
my princely word, that I will either show you the pastry just as you
require it, or----the head of this fellow impaled on the gate of my
palace. Go, dog! Once more I grant you twenty-four hours' time."

The dwarf went back to his own room, and complained to the goose of his
fate, for as he had never heard of this plant, he must die. "Is that
all that is wanted?" said she. "I can help you in that case, for I
learned to know all vegetables from my father. At any other time you
might have been doomed; but fortunately now there is a full moon, and
at this time the plant blooms. But tell me, are there any old chestnut
trees in the vicinity of the palace?"

"Oh, yes," replied the dwarf, with a lighter heart; "by the lake, two
hundred steps from the house, there is a large group of them; but what
has that to do with it?"

"Well, at the foot of old chestnuts blooms this plant," replied Mimi.
"Therefore, let us lose no time in our search. Take me under your arm,
and set me down when we are in the garden, and I will assist you."

He did as she said, and went with her to the palace entrance. But there
he was stopped by the guard who extended his weapon, and said: "My good
Nosey, it's all up with you; I have received the strictest orders not
to let you out of the house."

[Illustration]

"But there can't be any objection to my going into the garden," urged
the dwarf. "Be so kind as to send one of your comrades to the steward,
and ask him whether I may not be allowed to look for vegetables in the
garden." The guard did as requested, and the dwarf received permission
to go into the garden, as it was surrounded by high walls and escape
was impossible. When Nosey was safely outside, he put the goose down
carefully, and she ran on before him to the lake where the chestnut
trees stood. He followed her closely, with beating heart, as his last
hope was centered on the success of their search, and if they did not
find the plant, he was fully resolved that he would throw himself into
the lake, rather than submit to being beheaded. The goose wandered
about under all the trees, turning aside every blade of grass with her
bill, but all in vain was her search, and she began to cry from pity
and anxiety, as the night was at hand, and it was difficult to
distinguish objects around her.

Just then the dwarf chanced to look across the lake and he shouted:
"Look, look! Across the lake stands an old chestnut tree; let us go
over there and search--perhaps we shall find my luck blooming there."
The goose took the lead, hopping and flying, and Nosey ran after as
fast as his little legs would carry him. The chestnut tree cast a large
shadow, so that nothing could be seen under its branches; but the goose
suddenly stopped, clapped her wings with joy, put her head down into
the long grass, and plucked something that she presented with her bill
to the astonished dwarf, saying: "That is the plant, and there are a
lot of them growing there, so that you will never lack for them."

The dwarf examined the plant thoughtfully; it had a sweet odor, that
reminded him involuntarily of the scene of his transformation. The
stems and leaves were of a bluish-green color, and it bore a brilliant
red flower with a yellowish border.

"God be praised!" exclaimed he at length. "How wonderful! Do you know
that I believe this is the very plant that changed me from a squirrel
to this hateful form? shall I make an experiment with it?"

"Not yet," replied the goose. "Take a handful of these plants with you
and let us go to your room; collect what money and other property you
have, and then we will try the virtue of this plant."

Taking some of the plants with them, they went back to his room, the
heart of the dwarf beating so that it might almost be heard. After
packing up his savings, some fifty or sixty ducats, and his shoes and
clothes in a bundle, he said: "God willing, I will now free myself of
this shape," stuck his nose deep down into the plant and inhaled its
fragrance.

Thereupon a stretching and cracking took place in all his limbs; he
felt his head being raised from his shoulders; he squinted down at his
nose and saw it getting smaller and smaller; his back and breast began
to straighten out, and his legs grew longer.

The goose looked on in astonishment. "Ha! how tall, how handsome you
are!" exclaimed she. "Thank God! nothing remains of your former shape?"
Jacob, greatly rejoiced, folded his hands and prayed. But in his joy he
did not forget how much he was indebted to the goose; he longed with
all his heart to go at once to his parents, but gratitude caused him to
forego this pleasure, and to say: "Whom but you have I to thank for my
restoration. Without you I should never have found this plant, and
should have forever remained a dwarf, or have died under the ax. Come,
I will take you to your father; he, who is so experienced in magic, can
easily disenchant you." The goose wept tears of joy, and accepted his
offer. Jacob walked safely out of the palace with the goose, without
being recognized, and started at once on his way to the coast to reach
Mimi's home.

What shall I say further? That they reached their journey's end safely;
that Wetterbock disenchanted his daughter, and sent Jacob, loaded down
with presents, back to his native city; and that his parents easily
recognized their son in the handsome young man; that he bought a shop
with the presents given him by Wetterbock; and that he became rich and
happy.

To this I will add, that after Jacob's escape from the palace, great
trouble ensued; for on the following day, as the duke was about to
carry out his threat of taking off the dwarf's head if he did not
succeed in finding the plant, that individual was nowhere to be found.
But the prince asserted that the duke had connived at his escape, so as
not to be compelled to kill his best cook; and the prince accused the
duke of breaking his word. From this a great war broke out between the
two rulers, which is known to history as "The Vegetable War." Many
battles were fought, but finally peace was restored, and this peace was
called "The Pastry Peace," inasmuch as at the peace banquet, the
Souzeraine, queen of the pastries, was prepared by the prince's cook,
and rejoiced the palate of his grace, the duke.

Thus do the most trivial causes often lead to great results; and this,
O Sire, is the story of the _Dwarf Nosey_.



Such was the story of the Frankish slave. When he had finished, Ali
Banu had fruits served to him and the other slaves, and conversed,
while they were eating, with his friends. The young men who had been
introduced into the room so stealthily, were loud in their praises of
the sheik, his house, and all his surroundings. "Really," said the
young writer, "there is no pleasanter way of passing the time than in
hearing stories. I could sit here the livelong day with my legs
crossed, and one arm resting on a cushion, with my head supported by my
hand, and, if allowable, the sheik's nargileh in my hand, and so
situated listen to stories with the greatest zest. Something like this,
I fancy, will be our existence in the Gardens of Mohammed."

"So long as you are young and able to work," replied the old man, who
had conducted the young men into the house, "you can not be in earnest
in such an idle wish. At the same time, I admit that there is a
peculiar charm about these narratives. Old as I am--and I am now in my
seventy-seventh year--and much as I have already heard in my life,
still I am not ashamed when I see a large crowd gathered round a
story-teller at the corner, to take my place there too and listen to
him. The listener dreams that he is an actor in the events that are
narrated; he lives for the time being amongst these people, among these
wonderful spirits, with fairies and other folk, whom one does not meet
every day; and has afterwards, when he is alone, the means of
entertaining himself, just as does the traveller through the desert,
who has provided well for his wants."

"I had never thought much about wherein the charm of these stories
lay," responded another of the young men. "But I agree with you. When I
was a child, I could always be quieted with a story. It mattered not,
at first, of what it treated, so long as it was told me, so long as it
was full of incidents and changes. How often have I, without
experiencing the slightest fatigue, listened to those fables which wise
men have devised, and in which they express a world of wisdom in a
sentence: stories of the fox and the foolish stork, of the fox and the
wolf, and dozens of stories of lions and other animals. As I grew
older, and associated more with men, those short stories failed to
satisfy me; I required longer ones, which treated too of people and
their wonderful fortunes."

"Yes, I recall that time very plainly," interrupted one of the last
speaker's friends. "It was you who created in us the desire for stories
of all kinds. One of your slaves knew as many as a camel-driver could
tell on the trip from Mecca to Medina. And when he was through with his
work, he had to sit down with us on the grassplot before the house, and
there we would tease until he began a story; and so it went on and on
until night overtook us."

"And was there not then disclosed to us a new, an undiscovered realm?"
said the young writer. "The land of genii and fairies, containing, too,
all the wonders of the vegetable kingdom, with palaces of emeralds and
rubies, inhabited by giant slaves, who appear when a ring was turned
around on the finger and back again, or by rubbing a magical lamp, and
brought splendid food in golden shells? We felt that we were
transported to that country; we made those marvelous voyages with
Sinbad, we accompanied Haroun-al-Raschid, the wise ruler of the
Faithful, on his evening walks, and we knew his vizier as well as we
knew each other; in short, we lived in those stories, as one lives in
his nightly dreams, and for us there was no part of the day so
enjoyable as the evening, when we gathered on the grass-plot, and the
old slave told us stories. But tell us, old man, why it is that this
craving for stories is as strong in us to-day as it was in our
childhood?"

The commotion that had arisen in the room, and the request of the
steward for silence, prevented the old man from replying. The young men
were uncertain whether they ought to rejoice at the prospect of hearing
another story, or to feel vexed that their entertaining conversation
with the old man had been broken off so suddenly. When silence had been
restored, a second slave arose and began his story.



                            ABNER, THE JEW,
                         WHO HAD SEEN NOTHING.


Sire, I am from Mogadore, on the coast of the Atlantic, and during the
time that the powerful Emperor Muley Ismael reigned over Fez and
Morocco, the following incident occurred, the recital of which may
perhaps amuse you. It is the story of Abner, the Jew, who had seen
nothing.

Jews, as you know, are to be found every-where, and every-where they
are Jews--sharp, with the eye of a hawk for the slightest advantage to
be gained; and the more they are oppressed the more do they exhibit the
craft on which they pride themselves. That a Jew may sometimes,
however, come to harm through an exhibition of his smartness, is
sufficiently shown by what befel Abner, one afternoon, as he took his
way through the gates of Morocco for a walk.

He strode along with a pointed hat on his head, his form enveloped in a
plain and not excessively clean mantle, taking from time to time a
stolen pinch from a gold box that he took special pains to conceal. He
stroked his mustaches, and in spite of the restless eyes that expressed
fear, watchfulness, and the desire to discover something that could be
turned to account, a certain satisfaction was apparent in his shifting
countenance, which plainly denoted he must have recently concluded some
very good bargains. He was doctor, merchant, and every thing else that
brought in money. He had this day sold a slave with a secret defect,
had bought a camel-load of gum very cheap, and had prepared the last
dose for a wealthy patient--not the last before his recovery, but the
last before his death.

He had just emerged from a small thicket of palm and date trees, when
he heard the shouts of a number of people running after him. They were
a crowd of the emperor's grooms, headed by the master of the horse,
looking about them on all sides as they ran, as if in search of
something.

[Illustration]

"Philistine!" panted the master of the horse. "Have you not seen one of
the emperor's horses, with saddle and bridle on, run by?"

"The best racer to be seen anywhere--a small neat hoof, shoes of
fourteen carat silver, a golden mane, fifteen hands high, a tail three
and a half feet long, and the bit of his bridle of twenty-three carat
gold?"

"That's he!" cried the master of the horse. "That's he!" echoed the
grooms. "It is Emir," said an old riding-master. "I have warned the
Prince Abdallah not to ride Emir without a snaffle. I know Emir, and
said beforehand he would throw the prince, and though his bruises
should cost me my head, I warned him beforehand. But quick! which way
did he go?"

"I haven't seen a horse at all!" returned Abner, smiling. "How then can
I tell you where the emperor's horse ran?"

Astonished at this contradiction, the gentlemen of the royal stables
were about to press Abner further, when another event occurred, that
interfered with their purpose.

By one of those singular chances of which there are numerous examples,
the empress's lap-dog had turned up missing; and a number of black
slaves came running up, calling at the top of their voices: "Have you
seen the empress's lap-dog?"

"A small spaniel," said Abner, "that has recently had a litter, with
hanging ears, bushy tail, and lame in the right fore-leg?"

"That's she--her own self!" chorused the slaves. "That's Aline; the
empress went into fits as soon as her pet was missed. Aline, where are
you? What would become of us if we were to return to the harem without
you? Tell us quickly, where did you see her run to?"

"I have not seen any dog, and never knew that my empress--God preserve
her--owned a spaniel!"

The men from the stable and harem grew furious at Abner's insolence, as
they termed it, in making jests over the loss of imperial property; and
did not doubt for a moment that Abner had stolen both dog and horse.
While the others continued the search, the master of the horse and the
chief eunuch seized the Jew, and hurried him, with his half-sly and
half-terrified expression, before the presence of the emperor.

Muley Ismael, as soon as he heard the charge against Abner, sent for
his privy-counsellor, and, in view of the importance of the subject,
presided over the investigation himself. To begin with, fifty lashes on
the soles of the feet were awarded the accused. Abner might whine or
shriek, protest his innocence or promise to tell every thing just as it
had happened, recite passages from the Scripture or from the Talmud; he
might cry: "The displeasure of the king is like the roar of a young
lion, but his mercy is like dew on the grass," or "Let not thy hand
strike when thy eyes and ears are closed." Muley Ismael made a sign to
his slaves, and swore by the beard of the Prophet, and his own, that
the Philistine should pay with his head for the pains of the Prince
Abdallah and the convulsions of the empress, if the runaways were not
restored.

The palace of the emperor was still resounding with the shrieks of the
Jew, as the news was brought that both dog and horse had been found.
Aline was surprised in the company of some pug dogs, quite respectable
curs, but not fit associates for a court lady; while Emir, after tiring
himself out with running, had found the fragrant grass on the green
meadows by the Tara brook suited his taste better than the imperial
oats--like the wearied royal huntsman who, having lost his way on the
chase, forgot all the delicacies of his own table as he ate the black
bread and butter in a peasant's hut.

Muley Ismael now requested of Abner an explanation of his behavior, and
the Jew saw that the time had come, although somewhat late, when he
could answer; which, after prostrating himself three times before his
highness's throne, he proceeded to do in the following words:

"Most high and mighty Emperor, King of Kings, Sovereign of the West,
Star of Justice, Mirror of Truth, Abyss of Wisdom, you who gleam like
gold, sparkle like a diamond, and are as inflexible as iron! Hear me,
as it is permitted your slave to lift his voice in your august
presence. I swear by the God of my fathers, by Moses and the Prophets,
that I never saw your sacred horse, and the amiable dog of my gracious
empress, with the eyes of my body. But listen to my explanation.

"I walked out to refresh myself after the fatigues of the day, and in
the small wood where I had the honor to meet his excellency, the master
of the horse, and his vigilancy, the black overseer of your blessed
harem, I perceived the trail of an animal in the fine sand between the
palms. As I am well acquainted with the tracks of various animals, I at
once recognized these as the footprints of a small dog; other traces
near the prints of the fore-paws where the sand seemed to be lightly
brushed away, assured me that the animal must have had beautiful
pendant ears; and as I noticed how, at long intervals, the sand was
brushed up, I thought: the little creature has a fine bushy tail that
must look something like a tuft of feathers, and it has pleased her now
and then to whip up the sand with it. Nor did it escape my observation
that one paw had not made as deep an imprint on the sand as the others;
unfortunately, therefore, it could not be concealed from me that the
dog of my most gracious empress--if it is permitted me to say it
aloud--limped a little.

"Concerning your highness's horse, I would say that on turning into a
path in the wood I came upon the tracks of a horse. I had no sooner
caught sight of the small noble hoof-print of the fine yet strong frog
of the foot, than I said in my heart; a horse of the Tschenner stock,
of which this must have been one of the noblest specimens, has passed
by here. It is not quite four months since my most gracious emperor
sold a pair of this breed to a prince in the land of the Franks, and my
brother Ruder was there when they agreed on the price, and my most
gracious emperor made so and so much by the transaction. When I saw how
far apart these hoof-prints were, and how regular were the distances
between them, I thought: that horse galloped beautifully and gently and
could only be owned by my emperor; and I thought of the war horse
described by Job--'He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his
strength; he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is
not affrighted: neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver
rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.' And as I
saw something glistening on the ground, I stooped down, as I always do
in such cases, and lo, it was a marble stone in which the hoof of the
running horse had cut a groove, from which I perceived that the shoe
must have been of fourteen carat silver, as I have learned the mark
each metal makes, be it pure or alloyed. The path in which I walked was
seven feet wide, and here and there I noticed that the dust had been
brushed from the palms; the horse switched it off with his tail,
thought I, which must therefore be three and a half feet long. Under
trees that began to branch about five feet from the ground, I saw
freshly-fallen leaves, that must have been knocked off by the horse in
his swift flight; hence he was fully fifteen hands high; and behold,
under the same trees were small tufts of hair of a golden lustre, hence
his hide would have been a yellow-dun! Just as I emerged from the
copse, my eye was caught by a deep scratch on a wall of rock. I ought
to know what caused this, thought I, and what do you think it was? I
put a touch-stone, dusted over, on the scratch, and got an impression
of some fine hairlines such as for fineness and precision could not be
excelled in the seven provinces of Holland. The scratch must have been
caused by the stem of the horse's bit grazing the rock, as he ran close
by it. Your love of splendor is well-known. King of Kings; and one
should know that the most common of your horses would be ashamed to
champ any thing less fine than a golden bit. Such was the result of my
observations, and if----"

"Well, by the cities of the Prophet!" cried Muley Ismael, "I call that
a pair of eyes! Such eyes would not harm you, master of the huntsmen;
they would save you the expense of a pack of hounds; you, minister of
the police, could see further than all your bailiffs and spies. Well,
Philistine, in view of your uncommon acuteness, that has pleased us so
well, we will show you clemency; the fifty lashes that you justly
received are worth fifty zecchini, as they will save you fifty more; so
draw your purse and count out fifty in cash, and refrain in the future
from joking over our imperial property; as for the rest, you have our
royal pardon."

The whole court were astonished at Abner's sagacity, and his majesty,
too, had declared him to be a clever fellow; but all this did not
recompense him for the anguish he suffered, nor console him for the
loss of his dear ducats. While groaning and sighing, he took one coin
after another from his purse, and before parting with it weighed it on
the tip of his finger. Schnuri, the king's jester, asked him jeeringly
whether all his zecchini were tested on the stone by which the bit of
Prince Abdallah's dun horse was proved. "Your wisdom to-day has brought
you fame," said the jester; "but I would bet you another fifty ducats
that you wish you had kept silent. But what says the Prophet? 'A word
once spoken can not be overtaken by a wagon, though four fleet horses
were harnessed to it.' Neither will a greyhound overtake it, Mr. Abner,
even if it did not _limp_."

Not long after this (to Abner) painful event, he took another walk in
one of the green valleys between the foot-hills of the Atlas range of
mountains. And on this occasion, just as before, he was overtaken by a
company of armed men, the leader of whom called out:

"Hi! my good friend! have you not seen Goro, the emperor's black
body-guard, run by? He has run away, and must have taken this course
into the mountains."

"I can not inform you, General," answered Abner.

"Oh! Are you not that cunning Jew who had seen neither the dog nor the
horse? Don't stand on ceremony; the slave must have passed this way;
can you not scent him in the air? or can you not discover the print of
his flying feet in the long grass? Speak! the slave must have passed
here; he is unequalled in killing sparrows with a pea-shooter, and this
is his majesty's greatest diversion. Speak up! or I will put you in
chains!"

"I can not say I have seen what I have yet not seen."

"Jew, for the last time I ask, where is the slave? Think on the soles
of your feet; think on your zecchini!"

"Oh, woe is me! Well, if you will have it that I have seen the
sparrow-shooter, then run that way; if he is not there, then he is
somewhere else."

"You saw him, then?" roared the general.

"Well, yes, Mr. Officer, if you will have it so."

The soldiers hastened off in the direction he had indicated; while
Abner went home chuckling over his cunning. Before he was twenty-four
hours older, however, a company of the palace guards defiled his house
by entering it on the Sabbath, and dragged him into the presence of the
Emperor of Morocco.

"Dog of a Jew!" shouted the emperor. "You dare to send the imperial
servants, who were pursuing a fugitive, on a false scent into the
mountains, while the slave was fleeing towards the coast, and very
nearly escaped on a Spanish ship. Seize him, soldiers! A hundred on his
soles, and a hundred zecchini from his purse! The more his feet swell
under the lash, the more his purse will collapse."

You know, O Sire, that in the kingdom of Fez and Morocco the people
love swift justice; and so the poor Abner was whipped and taxed without
consulting his own inclinations beforehand. He cursed his fate, that
condemned his feet and his purse to suffer every time it pleased his
majesty to lose any thing. As he limped out of the room, bellowing and
groaning, amidst the laughter of the rough court people, Schnuri, the
jester, said to him: "You ought to be contented, Abner, ungrateful
Abner; is it not honor enough for you that every loss that our gracious
emperor--whom God preserve--suffers, likewise arouses in your bosom the
profoundest grief? But if you will promise me a good fee, I will come
to your shop in Jews Alley an hour before the Sovereign of the West is
to lose any thing, and say: 'Don't go out of your house, Abner; you
know why; shut yourself up in your bedroom under lock and key until
sunset.'"

This, O Sire, is the story of _Abner, the Jew, Who had seen Nothing_.



When the slave had finished, and every thing was quiet in the _salon_,
the young writer reminded the old man that the thread of their
discourse had been broken, and requested him to declare wherein lay the
captivating power of tales.

"I will reply to your question," returned the old man. "The human
spirit is lighter and more easily moved than water, although that is
tossed into all kinds of shapes, and by degrees, too, bores through the
thickest objects. It is light and free as the air, and, like that
element, the higher it is lifted from earth, the lighter and purer it
is. Therefore is there an inclination in humanity to lift itself above
the common events of life, in order to give itself the freer play
accorded in more lofty domains, even if it be only in dreams. You
yourself, my young friend, said to me: 'We lived in those stories, we
thought and felt with those beings,' and hence the charm they had for
you. While you listened to the stories of yonder slaves, that were only
fictions invented by another, did you also use your imagination? You
did not remain in spirit with the objects around you, nor were you
engrossed by your every-day thoughts: no, you experienced in your own
person all that was told; it was you yourself to whom this and that
adventure occurred, so strongly were you interested in the hero of the
tale. Thus your spirit raised itself, on the thread of such a story,
over and away from the present, which does not appear so fair or have
such charms for you. Thus this spirit moved about, free and unconfined
in a strange and higher atmosphere; fiction became reality to you--or,
if you prefer, reality became fiction--because your imagination and
being were absorbed into fiction."

"I do not quite comprehend you," returned the young merchant; "but you
are right in saying that we live in fiction, or fiction lives in us. I
remember clearly that beautiful time when we had nothing to do. Waking,
we dreamed; we pretended that we were wrecked on desert islands, and
took counsel with one another as to what we should do to prolong our
lives; and often we built ourselves huts in a willow copse, made scanty
meals of miserable fruits, although we could have procured the very
best at the house not a hundred paces distant; yes, there were even
times when we waited for the appearance of a kind fairy, or a wonderful
dwarf, who should step up to us and say: 'The earth is about to
open--will it please you to descend with me down to my palace of
rock-crystal, and take your choice of what my servants, the baboons,
can serve up?'"

The young men laughed, but confessed to their friend that he had spoken
truth. "To this day," continued another, "this enchantment creeps over
me now and then. I became, for instance, somewhat vexed at the stupid
fable with which my brother would come rushing up to the door: 'Have
you heard of the misfortune of our neighbor, the stout baker? He had
dealings with a magician, who, out of revenge, transformed him into a
bear, and now he lies within his chamber growling fearfully.' I would
get angry, and call him a liar. But what a different aspect the case
took on when I was told that the stout neighbor had made a journey into
a far-distant and unknown land, and there fell into the hands of a
magician who transformed him into a bear! I would after a while find
myself absorbed in the story; would take the trip with my stout
neighbor; experience wonderful adventures, and it would not have
astonished me very much if he had actually been stuck into a bear-skin
and forced to go on all fours."

"And yet," said the old man, "there is a very delightful form of
narrative, in which neither fairies nor magicians figure, no palace of
crystal and no genii who bring the most delicious food, no magic horse,
but a kind that differs materially from those usually designated as
tales."

"Another kind?" exclaimed the young men. "Please explain to us more
clearly what you mean."

"I am of the opinion that a certain distinction should be made between
fairy tales and narratives which are commonly called stories. When I
tell you that I will relate a fairy tale, you would at the outset count
upon its treating of events outside of the usual course of life and of
its being located in a kingdom entirely different from any thing on
earth. Or, to make my meaning plain, in a fairy tale you would look for
other people as well as mortals to appear; strange powers, such as
fairies and magicians, genii and ruling spirits, are concerned in the
fate of the person of whom the tale treats; the whole fabric of the
story takes on an extraordinary and wonderful shape, and has somewhat
the appearance of the texture of our carpets, or many pictures of our
best masters which the Franks call arabesques. It is forbidden the true
Mussulman to represent human beings, the creatures of Allah, in colors
and paintings, as a sin; therefore one sees in this texture wonderful
tortuous trees, and twigs with human heads; human beings drawn out into
a bush or fish; in short, forms that remind one of the life around him,
and are yet unlike that life. Do you follow me?"

"I believe I perceive your meaning," said the young writer; "but
continue."

"After this fashion then is a fairy tale; fabulous, unusual,
astonishing; and because it is untrue to the usual course of life, it
is often located in foreign lands or referred to a period long since
passed away. Every land, every tribe, has such tales; the Turks as well
as the Persians, the Chinese as well as the Mongolians; and even in the
country of the Franks there are many, at least so I was told by a
learned Giaour; still they are not as fine as ours, for instead of
beautiful fairies who live in splendid palaces, they have decrepit old
women, whom they name witches--an ugly, artful folk, who dwell in
miserable huts, and instead of riding in a shell wagon, drawn by
griffins, through the blue skies, they ride through the mist astride of
a broomstick. They also have gnomes and spirits of the earth, who are
small, undersized people, and cause all kinds of apparitions. Such are
the fairy tales; but of far different composition are the narratives
commonly called stories. These are located in an orderly way on the
earth, treat of the usual affairs of life, the wonderful part mostly
made up of the links of fate drawn about a human being, who is made
rich or poor, happy or unhappy, not by magic or the displeasure of
fairies, as in the tale, but by his own action, or by a singular
combination of circumstances."

"Most true!" responded one of the young men; "and such stories are also
to be found in the glorious tales of Scheherazade called 'The Thousand
and One Nights.' Most of the events that befel King Haroun-al-Raschid
and his vizier were of that nature. They go out disguised and see this
and that very singular incident, which is afterwards solved in a
natural manner."

"And yet you must admit," continued the old man "that those stories did
not constitute the least interesting part of 'The Thousand and One
Nights.' And still, how they differ in their motive, in their
development and in their whole nature from the tales of a Prince
Biribinker, or the three dervishes with one eye, or the fisher who drew
from the sea the chest fastened with the seal of Salomo! But after all
there is an original cause for the distinctive charms possessed by both
styles--namely, that we live to experience many things striking and
unusual. In the fairy tales, this element of the unusual is supplied by
the introduction of a fabulous magic into the ordinary life of mortals;
while in the stories something happens that, although in keeping with
the natural laws, is totally unexpected and out of the usual course of
events."

"Strange!" cried the writer, "strange, that this natural course of
events proves quite as attractive to us as the supernatural in the
tales. What is the explanation of that?"

"That lies in the delineation of the individual mortal,"
replied the old man. "In the tales, the miraculous forms the chief
feature, while the mortal is deprived of the power of shaping his
course; so that the individual figures and their character can only be
drawn hastily. It is otherwise with the simple narrative, where the
manner in which each one speaks and acts his character, in due
proportion, is the main point and the most attractive one."

"Really, you are right!" exclaimed the young merchant. "I never took
time to give the matter much thought. I looked at every thing, and then
let it pass by me. I was amused with one, found another wearisome,
without knowing exactly why; but you have given us the key that unlocks
the secret, a touch-stone with which we can make the test and decide
properly."

"Make a practice of doing that," answered the old man, "and your
enjoyment will constantly increase, as you learn to think over what you
have heard. But see, another slave has risen to tell his story."



                         THE YOUNG ENGLISHMAN.


Sire, I am a German by birth, and have been in your country too short a
time to be able to entertain you with a Persian tale or an amusing
story of sultans and viziers. You must, therefore, permit me to tell
you a story of my native land. Sad to say, our stories are not always
as elevated as yours--that is, they do not deal with sultans or kings,
nor with viziers and pashas, that are called ministers of justice or
finance, privy-counsellors, and the like, but they treat very modestly
(soldiers sometimes excepted) of persons outside of official life.

In the southern part of Germany lies the town of Gruenwiesel, where I
was born and bred. It is a town identical with its neighbors; in its
centre a small marketplace with a town-pump, on one corner a small old
town-hall, while built around the square were the houses of the justice
of the peace and the well-to-do merchants, and, in a few narrow streets
that opened out of the square, lived the rest of the citizens.
Everybody knew everybody else; every one knew all that was going on;
and if the minister, or the mayor, or the doctor had an extra dish on
the table, the whole town would know of it before dinner was over. On
afternoons, the wives went out to coffee parties, as we call them,
where, over strong coffee and sweet cakes, they gossiped of the great
events of the day, coming to the conclusion that the minister must have
invested in a lottery ticket and won an unchristian amount of money,
that the mayor was open to a bribe, and that the apothecary paid the
doctor well to write costly prescriptions. You may therefore imagine,
Sire, how unpleasant it was for an orderly town like Gruenwiesel, when
a man came there of whom nothing was known--not even where he came
from, what he wanted there, or on what he lived. The mayor, to be sure,
had seen his passport, a paper that every one is compelled to have in
our country----

"Is it, then, so unsafe on the street," interrupted the sheik, "that
you must have a firman from your sultan in order lo protect yourselves
from robbers?"

No, Sire, (replied the slave); these passports do not protect us from
thieves, but are only a regulation by which the identity of the holder
is every-where established. Well, the mayor had investigated this
strange man's passport and at a gathering at the doctor's house had
said that it had been found all right from Berlin to Gruenwiesel, but
there must be some cheat in it, as the man was a suspicious-looking
character. The mayor's opinion being entitled to great weight in
Gruenwiesel, it is no wonder that from that time forth the stranger
was looked upon with suspicion. And his course of life was not adapted
to change this opinion of my countrymen. The stranger rented an entire
house that had formerly been unoccupied, had a whole wagon full of
singular furniture--such as stoves, ranges, frying-pans, and the
like--put in there, and lived there alone by himself. Yes, he even
cooked for himself; and not a single soul entered his house, with the
exception of an old man living in Gruenwiesel, who made purchases for
him of bread, meat, and vegetables. Still, even this old man was only
allowed to step inside the door, where he was always met by the
stranger, who relieved him of his bundles.

I was ten years of age when this man came to our town, and I can to-day
recall the uneasiness which his presence caused, as clearly as though
it had all happened yesterday. He did not come in the afternoon, like
the other men, to the bowling alley; nor did he visit the inn in the
evening, to discuss the news over a pipe of tobacco. It was in vain
that, one after another, the mayor, the 'squire, the doctor, and the
minister invited him to dinner or to lunch; he always excused himself.
Thus it was that some believed him crazy; others took him to be a Jew;
while a third party firmly insisted that he was a magician or sorcerer.

I grew to be eighteen, twenty years old, and still this man passed
under the name of "the strange gentleman." There came a day, however,
on which some fellows came to our town leading a number of strange
animals. They were a rough lot of vagrants, who had a camel that would
kneel, a bear that danced, some dogs and monkeys looking very comical
in clothes and playing all sorts of tricks. These vagrants generally go
through the town, stopping at all the cross streets and squares, making
a horrible tumult with a small drum and fife, compelling their animals
to dance and perform tricks, and then collect money in the houses. But
the band, which was now exhibiting in Gruenwiesel, was distinguished
above others of its class by the presence of a monster orang-outang,
nearly as large as a human being, which walked on two legs, and could
perform all manner of clever tricks. This dog-and-ape-troupe stopped
before the house of the strange gentleman. At the sound of the fife and
drum, the latter appeared at the dust-dimmed window, looking rather
displeased; but after a time his face lighted up, and, to everybody's
surprise, he opened the window, looked out, and laughed heartily at the
tricks of the orang-outang, and even gave such a large silver coin to
the show that the whole town spoke of it.

On the following day these vagrants left the place. The camel carried a
large number of baskets in which the dogs and monkies sat demurely,
while the men and the big ape walked behind the camel. They had hardly
been gone an hour, however, when the strange gentleman sent to the
post, and ordered, to the astonishment of the postmaster, a carriage
with post-horses, and shortly drove through the same gate, out on the
same road that had been taken by the band of men and monkeys. The whole
town was vexed because it could not be learned where he was bound.
Night had set in before the strange gentleman returned to the gate. But
another person sat in the wagon with him, who pressed his hat down over
his face, and had bound up his mouth and ears in a silk handkerchief.
The gate-keeper held it to be his duty to question the other stranger,
and to ask him for his passport; he answered, however, very roughly,
muttering away in a quite unintelligible language.

"It is my nephew," said the strange gentleman, pleasantly, to the
gate-keeper, as he pressed some silver coin into his hand; "it is my
nephew, who does not at present understand very much German. He was
just now cursing in his own dialect at our being stopped here."

"Well, if he is your nephew," replied the gate-keeper, "of course a
pass is not necessary. He will probably lodge with you?"

"Certainly," said the strange gentleman, "and will most likely remain
here some time."

The gate-keeper had no further objections to make, so the strange
gentleman and his nephew drove into the town. The mayor and citizens,
however, were not very well pleased with the action of the gate-keeper.
He might at least have taken notice of a few words of the nephew's
dialect, so that thereby it might have been easily ascertained from
what country he and his uncle originally came. On this the gate-keeper
asserted that his dialect was neither French nor Italian, but it
sounded broad enough to be English.

Thus did the gate-keeper help himself out of disgrace, and at the same
time supply the young man with a name. For every body now was talking
about the young Englishman.

But, like his uncle, the young Englishman did not show himself either
at the bowling alley or the beer table; but yet he gave the people much
to busy themselves about in another way. For instance, it often
happened that, in the formerly quiet house of the strange gentleman,
such fearful cries and noises were heard, that the people would crowd
together before the house and look up at the windows. They would then
see the young Englishman, clad in a red coat and green knee-breeches,
with bristly hair, and a frightened expression, run by the windows, and
through all the rooms, with inconceivable rapidity, chased by his
uncle, wearing a red dressing-gown, with a hunting whip in his hand; he
often missed hitting him, but after a time the crowd felt sure that the
young man had been caught, as the most pitiable cries and whip-lashings
were heard. The ladies of the town now felt such a lively sympathy for
the young man who was treated so cruelly that they finally prevailed on
the mayor to take some steps in the matter. He wrote the strange
gentleman a note, in which he expressed his opinion very emphatically
about the way the young Englishman had been treated, and threatened
that if any more such scenes occurred he would take the young man under
his own protection.

But who could have been more astonished than was the mayor, when, for
the first time in ten years, he saw the strange gentleman enter his
house! The old gentleman excused his conduct, on the ground that it was
in accordance with the expressed charge of the young man's parents, who
had sent their son to him to be educated. This youth was in other
respects wise and forward for his years, but he did not learn languages
easily; and he was very anxious to teach his nephew to speak German
fluently, that he might take the liberty of introducing him to the
society of Gruenwiesel. And yet this language seemed so hard for him to
acquire, that often there was nothing left to do but to whip it into
him. The mayor expressed himself well satisfied with these
explanations, only advising moderation on the old man's part; and he
said that evening, over his beer, that he had seldom seen so
intelligent and clever a man as the strange gentleman. "It is a pity,"
added he, in conclusion, "that he comes so little into society; still,
I think that when the nephew is a little further advanced in German, he
will visit my circle oftener."

[Illustration]

Through this single circumstance, the public opinion of the town was
completely changed. The stranger was looked upon as a clever man,
wishes for his better acquaintance were freely expressed, and when, now
and then, a terrible shriek was heard to come from the house, the
Gruenwiesel people simply said: "He is giving his nephew lessons in the
German language," and ceased to block up the street before his house,
as they had been wont to do on hearing those cries. In the course of
three months the German exercises seemed to be finished, as the old
gentleman took another step in the education of his nephew. There lived
a feeble old Frenchman in the town, who gave the young people lessons
in dancing. The old gentleman sent for him one day, and told him that
he wished his nephew to be instructed in dancing. He gave him to
understand that while the young man was quite docile, yet where dancing
was concerned he was rather peculiar; he had, for instance, once
learned how to dance from another master, but so singular were the
figures taught him, that he could not be taken out into society. But
then his nephew believed himself to be a great dancer, notwithstanding
the fact that his dancing did not bear the slightest resemblance to a
waltz or a gallopade. As for the rest, he promised the dancing-master a
thaler a lesson; and the Frenchman announced himself as ready to begin
the instruction of this peculiar pupil. Never in the world, as the
Frenchman privately asserted, was there anything so extraordinary as
these dancing-lessons. The nephew, quite a tall, slim young man, whose
legs were still much too short, would make his appearance, finely
dressed in a red coat, loose green trousers, and kid gloves. He spoke
but little, and with a foreign accent, was at the beginning fairly
clever and well-behaved, but would suddenly break into the wildest
leaps, danced the boldest figures that took away the master's sight and
speech; and if he attempted to set him right again, the young man would
draw off his dancing-shoes, and throw them at the master's head, and
then get down on the floor and run about on all fours. Summoned by the
noise, the old gentleman would then rush out of his room, attired in a
loose red dressing-gown, with a gold-paper capon his head, and lay the
hunting whip on the back of the young man without mercy. The nephew
would thereupon scream frightfully, spring upon tables and bureaus, and
cry out in an odd foreign tongue. The old man in the red dressing-gown
would at length catch him by the leg, drag him down from a table, beat
him black and blue, and choked him by twisting his cravat, whereupon he
would become clever and decent again, and the dancing-exercise would
continue without further interruption.

But when the Frenchman had advanced his pupil so far that music could
be used during the lesson, there was a magical change in the nephew's
behavior. A town musician was called in, and given a seat on the table
in the _salon_ of the desolate house. The dancing-master would then
represent a lady, the old gentleman furnishing him with a silk dress
and an Indian shawl; and the nephew would request the lady to dance
with him. The young Englishman was a tireless dancer, and would not let
the Frenchman escape out of his long arms, but forced him to dance, in
spite of his groans and cries, till he fell down from fatigue, or until
the fiddler's arm became too lame to keep up the music.

The dancing-master was nearly brought to his grave by these lessons,
but the thaler that he received regularly every day, and the good wine
that the old man set out for him, caused him to keep on, even though he
firmly resolved each day not to enter the desolate house again.

But the inhabitants of Gruenwiesel took an altogether different view of
the matter. They found that the young man must have sociable qualities;
while the young ladies rejoiced that, in the great scarcity of young
men, they should have so nimble a dancer for the forthcoming winter.

One morning the maids, on returning from market, reported to their
mistresses a wonderful occurrence. Before the desolate house, a
splendid coach, with beautiful horses, was drawn up, with a footman in
rich livery holding open the door. Thereupon the door of the desolate
house was opened, and two richly dressed gentlemen stepped out, one of
whom was the old gentleman and the other probably the young Englishman,
who had had such a hard time in learning German, and who danced so
actively. Both men took seats in the coach, the footman sprang up on
the rack at the back, and the coach--just think of it!--had been driven
up to the mayor's door.

As soon as the ladies had heard these stories from their servants, they
tore off their kitchen aprons and caps, and dressed themselves in
state. "Nothing is more certain," they exclaimed to their families,
while all were running about to set the parlor in order, "nothing is
more certain than that the stranger is about to bring his nephew out.
The old fool has not had the decency to set his foot in our house for
ten years; but we will pardon him on account of the nephew, who must be
a charming fellow." Thus said the ladies, and admonished their sons and
daughters to appear polite if the strangers came--to stand up straight,
and also to take more pains than usual in their speech. And the wise
women of the town were not wrong in their calculations, as the old
gentleman went the rounds with his nephew, to recommend himself and the
young Englishman to the favor of the Gruenwiesel families.

Every-where the people were quite charmed with the appearance of the
two strangers, and felt sorry that they had not made the acquaintance
of these agreeable gentlemen earlier. The old gentleman showed himself
to be a worthy, sensible man, who, to be sure, smiled a little over all
he said, so that one was not quite sure whether he was in earnest or
not; but he spoke of the weather, of the suburbs, and of the Summer
pleasures in the cave on the mountain side, so wisely and elaborately
that every one was charmed with him. But the nephew! He bewitched
everybody; he took all hearts by storm. Certainly, so far as his
exterior was concerned, his face could not be called handsome; the
under part, the chin especially, protruded too far, and his complexion
was exceedingly dark; then, too, he frequently made all sorts of
singular grimaces, closing his eyes and gnashing his teeth; but in
spite of all this, the contour of his face was found to be unusually
interesting. Nothing could be more athletic than his figure. His
clothes, it is true, hung somewhat loosely and unevenly on his body;
but he was pleased with every thing; he flew about the room with
uncommon activity, threw himself here on a sofa and then in an
arm-chair, and stretched out his legs before him. But what in another
young man would have been considered vulgar and unseemly, passed in the
case of the nephew for agreeableness. "He is an Englishman," they would
say, "they are all like that; an Englishman can lie down on a sofa and
go to sleep while ten ladies stand up for lack of a seat; we shouldn't
take it amiss in an Englishman." He was very watchful, however, of the
old gentleman, his uncle; and when he began to spring about the room,
or, as he seemed constantly inclined to do, put his feet up in a chair,
a serious look served to make him behave himself a little better. And
then, how could any one take any thing amiss, when the uncle on
entering would say to the lady of the house: "My nephew is still
somewhat coarse and uncultured, but I am sanguine that a little society
will do much to polish his manners, and I therefore recommend him to
you with my whole heart."

[Illustration]

Thus was the nephew brought into society, and all Gruenwiesel spoke of
nothing else for two whole days. The old gentleman did not stop with
this, however, but set about changing his entire course of life. In the
afternoon, in company with his nephew, he would go out to the cave on
the mountain, where the most respectable gentlemen of Gruenwiesel drank
beer and played at bowls. The nephew there showed himself to be an
accomplished master of the sport, as he never bowled down less than
five or six pins. Now and then, it is true, a singular spirit seemed to
control him. He would, for instance, often chase a ball with the speed
of an arrow, right down among the pins, and there set up all kinds of
strange noises; or when he had knocked down the king, or made a strike,
he would stand on his beautifully curled head, and throw his feet into
the air; or when a wagon rattled by, he would be found, before he was
fairly missed from the room, on the driver's seat, would ride a short
distance, and then come back.

On these occasions, the old gentleman was accustomed to beg pardon of
the mayor and the other gentlemen, for the antics of his nephew; but
they laughed, charged it all to the account of his youth, asserted that
at his age they were also as nimble, and loved the harum-scarum chap,
as they called him, uncommonly well.

But there were also times when they were not a little vexed with him,
and yet they did not venture to make any complaints, because the young
Englishman passed every-where as a model of culture and intelligence.
The old gentleman was accustomed to take his nephew with him every
evening to the "Golden Hirsch," an inn of the town. Although the nephew
was quite a young man, he did all that his elders did, placed his glass
before him, put on an enormous pair of spectacles, produced a mighty
pipe, lighted it, and blew his smoke among them mischievously. If the
papers, or war, or peace, were spoken of, and the doctor and the mayor
fell into a discussion on these subjects, surprising all the other
gentlemen by their deep political knowledge, the nephew was quite
liable to interpose very forcible objections; he would strike the table
with his hand, from which he never drew the glove, and gave the doctor
and the mayor very plainly to understand that they had not any correct
information on these subjects; that he had heard all about them
himself, and possessed a deeper insight into them. He then gave
expression to his own views, in singular broken German, which received,
much to the disgust of the mayor, the approval of all the other
gentlemen; for he must, naturally, as an Englishman, understand all
this much better than they.

Then, when the mayor and doctor, to conceal the anger they did not dare
express, sat down to a game of chess, the nephew would come up, look
over the mayor's shoulders with his great goggles, and find fault with
this and that move, and tell the doctor he must move thus and so, until
both men were secretly burning with anger. If then the mayor challenged
him to play a game, with the design of mating him speedily--as he held
himself to be a second Philidor--the old gentleman would grasp his
nephew by the cravat, whereupon the young man at once became quiet and
polite, and gave mate to the mayor.

They had been accustomed to play cards of an evening at Gruenwiesel, at
half a kreuzer a game for each player; this the nephew thought was a
miserable stake, and laid down crown-thalers and ducats himself,
asserting that not one of them could play as well as he, but generally
consoled the insulted gentlemen by losing large sums of money to them.
They suffered no twinges of conscience in this taking of his money. "He
is an Englishman, and inherits his wealth," said they, as they shoved
the ducats into their pockets.

Thus did the nephew of the strange gentleman establish his
respectability in the town in a very short time. The oldest inhabitants
could not remember having ever seen a young man of this style in
Gruenwiesel, and he created the greatest sensation that had ever been
known there. It could not be said that the nephew had learned any thing
more than the art of dancing; Latin and Greek were to him, as we were
wont to express it, "Bohemian villages." In a game at the mayor's house
he was called upon to write something, and it was discovered that he
could not even write his own name. In geography, he made the most
egregious blunders--as he would place a German city in France, or a
Danish town in Poland; he had not read any thing, had not studied any
thing, and the minister often shook his head seriously over the utter
ignorance of the young man. Yet, in spite of all these defects, every
thing he said or did was considered excellent; for he was so impudent
as to claim that he was always right, and the close of every one of his
speeches was, "I know better than you!"

Winter came, and now the young Englishman appeared in still greater
glory. Every party was voted wearisome where he was not a guest. People
yawned when a wise man began to speak; but when the young Englishman
uttered the veriest nonsense in broken German, all was attention. It
was now discovered that the young man was also a poet, for rarely did
an evening go by that he did not pull out a piece of paper from his
pocket and read some sonnets to the company. There were, to be sure,
some people who maintained that some of these poems were poor and
without sense, and that others they had read somewhere in print; but
the nephew did not permit himself to be put down in any such manner. He
read, and read, directed the attention of his hearers to the beauties
of his verses, and was applauded to the echo.

His great triumph, however, was at the Gruenwiesel ball. No one could
dance more gracefully and rapidly than he. None could execute such
uncommonly difficult steps. His uncle dressed him in the greatest
splendor, after the latest fashion; and although the clothes did not
fit his body very well, yet every one thought him charmingly dressed.
The men, to be sure, thought themselves somewhat insulted by the new
fashion which he introduced. The mayor had always been accustomed to
open the ball in his own person, while the leading young people had the
right to arrange the other dances; but since the appearance of the
young Englishman, all this was changed. Without much ceremony, he took
the next best lady by the hand and led her out on the floor, arranged
every thing to suit himself, and was lord and master and king of the
ball. But because these innovations were acceptable to the ladies, the
men did not venture to make any objections, and the nephew held firmly
to his self-appointed office.

This ball seemed to furnish great entertainment for the old gentleman;
he never once took his eyes off his nephew, wore a smiling face, and
when all the world of Gruenwiesel moved up to him to sound the praises
of the noble well-bred youth, he could no longer contain himself from
very joy, but broke out into a hearty laugh, and conducted himself
almost foolishly. The Gruenwiesel people attributed these singular
manifestations of pleasure to his great love for his nephew, and did
not think them unnatural. Still, every now and then he had to turn his
fatherly attention to his nephew, for, in the middle of an elegant
dance, the young man would leap up to the platform where the town
musicians sat, take away the bass-viol from its owner, and scrape out a
horrible medley; or for a change he would throw his heels up into the
air and dance about on his hands. At such times, the old gentleman
would take him aside, would talk to him very seriously, and tighten his
neck-tie, until he once more was tractable.

Thus did the nephew conduct himself in society. It is usually the case
with social customs, that the objectionable ones spread much more
rapidly than the good ones; and a new and striking fashion, even though
ludicrous in itself, may have something attractive in it for young
people who have not thought very deeply about themselves and the world.
Thus it was in Gruenwiesel, over the young Englishman and his singular
manners. When the young people saw how he, with his perverse
disposition, with his coarse laughs and jests, with his rude answers to
elderly people, was more praised than blamed, that all this was
considered spirited, they said to themselves, "It would be very easy
for me to become such a spirited fellow." They had formerly been
industrious and clever young people; now they thought, "Of what use is
study, when ignorance is more highly rewarded?" They let books alone,
and spent their time on the square and in the streets. Formerly they
were well-behaved and polite towards every one--had waited until they
were spoken to, and then replied modestly; but now they placed
themselves in the company of their elders, gossiped with them, gave
expression to their opinions, and even laughed in the mayor's face when
he spoke, and affirmed that they knew better than he. Formerly the
young men of Gruenwiesel had had a horror of a coarse and vulgar life;
but now they sang all kinds of low songs, smoked tobacco in enormous
pipes, and frequented the worst saloons. They also bought large
goggles, although their sight was not impaired, set them on their nose,
and thought that they were now made, as they looked just like the
celebrated young Englishman. At home, or when they were visiting, they
would lie down on the lounge with their boots and spurs on; they tilted
back their chairs in company, or put their elbows on the table and
rested their cheeks on their fists--a posture that was in the highest
degree charming to look at. All in vain did their mothers and friends
tell them how foolish and disgraceful these actions were; they quoted
the shining example of the nephew in defence of their behavior. All in
vain was it represented to them that one should overlook in the nephew,
as a young Englishman, a certain national rudeness;--the young men of
Gruenwiesel would assert that they had just as good a right as the best
Englishman living, to be rude in a spirited way; in short, it was a
pity to see how the evil example of the nephew had completely destroyed
the customs and good manners of Gruenwiesel.

But the joy of the young men, in their rude unrestrained life did not
last long, as the following event wrought a complete change in the
scene. The Winter amusements were to close with a concert, that was to
be given, partly by the town musicians, and partly by the lovers of
music in Gruenwiesel. The mayor played the violoncello, the doctor the
bassoon, extremely well; the apothecary, although he had a very poor
talent for it, blew the flute; the young ladies of Gruenwiesel had
learned some songs, and every thing was all nicely arranged. But the
strange gentleman gave out that while the concert would undoubtedly be
a success, yet it was a mistake not to introduce a duet, as a duet was
a recognized feature of every concert. The old gentleman's declaration
proved quite an embarrassment to the managers. It was true that the
mayor's daughter sang like a nightingale; but where should they find a
gentleman who could sing a duet with her? In their perplexity, they at
last hit upon the old organist who had once possessed an excellent bass
voice; but the strange gentleman asserted that they need have no
uneasiness on that score, as his nephew was an exceptionally fine
singer. They were not a little surprised over this new accomplishment
of the young man, and requested him to sing something, that they might
judge of his acquirements. He sang for them, and, barring a few
outlandish affectations which were supposed to be the English style, he
sang like an angel. The duet was therefore decided on and hurriedly
practiced, and the evening finally came on which the ears of the
Gruenwiesel people were to be refreshed with a concert.

The old gentleman, sad to say, was sick and could not attend the
concert; but he gave the mayor, who called on him just before the hour
of opening the concert, some directions regarding his nephew. "He is a
good soul, my nephew," said he, "but now and then he is overtaken by
all sorts of singular fancies, and does many stupid things; it is,
therefore, a great misfortune that I can not be present at your
concert, as in my presence he always behaves himself--he well knows
why! I must say, in his favor, that he does not commit these actions in
a spirit of wantonness, but they are a fault of his constitution,
deeply implanted in his nature. If then, Mr. Mayor, he should sit down
on the music-desk, or attempt to play the bass-viol, just loosen his
neck-tie a little; or, if that does not help matters, pull it off
entirely, and you will see how quiet and well-behaved he will become."
The mayor thanked the sick man for his confidence, and promised that if
it should be necessary he would carry out his instructions.

The concert-hall was crowded; all Gruenwiesel and the surrounding
country were there. All the royal gamekeepers, the ministers,
officials, landlords, and others, within a circumference of ten miles,
came with their numerous families to share the rare enjoyment of the
concert with the Gruenwiesel people. The town musicians did themselves
honor. After them, the mayor appeared with his violoncello, accompanied
by the apothecary with his flute; after these, the organist sang, amid
universal applause; and the doctor, too, was cheered not a little when
he appeared with his bassoon.

The first part of the concert was over, and every one was impatiently
awaiting the second part, in which the young stranger was to sing a
duet with the mayor's daughter. The nephew was present, in a brilliant
costume, and had already attracted the attention of all present. He
had, with the greatest composure, laid himself back in an easy chair,
which had been reserved for a countess of the neighborhood, stretched
his legs out before him, and stared at everybody through a large
spyglass, stopping occasionally to play with a large mastiff which he,
in spite of the rule excluding dogs, had brought with him into this
goodly company. The countess for whom the chair had been reserved, put
in an appearance; but he showed no disposition to vacate the seat,--on
the contrary, he settled himself down in it more comfortably, and as no
one dared say any thing to the young man about it, the noble lady was
forced to take a common straw-bottomed chair in the midst of the other
ladies; a proceeding that vexed her not a little.

During the excellent playing of the mayor, during the fine singing of
the organist, yes, even while the doctor was performing some fantasias
on the bassoon, and all were breathlessly listening, the young
Englishman amused himself by having the dog fetch his handkerchief, or
chatted aloud with his neighbors, so that every one who was not
acquainted with him wondered at the extraordinary conduct of the young
man.

It was no wonder, therefore, that there was great curiosity to hear him
in the duet. The second part began; the town musicians had opened with
a short piece of music, and now the mayor, with his daughter, stepped
up to the young man, handed him a sheet of music, and said: "Mosjoh!
Will it please you to sing the duet now?" The young man laughed,
gnashed his teeth, sprang up, and the others followed him to the
music-stand, while the entire company were in full expectation. The
organist began the accompaniment and beckoned the nephew to begin. The
young Englishman looked through his goggles at the music, and broke out
into the most discordant tones. The organist called out to him, "Two
tones deeper, your honor! You must sing in C, C!"

Instead of singing in C, however, the nephew took off his shoe, and
struck the organist such a blow on the head that the powder flew in all
directions. As the mayor saw this, he thought: "Ha! he has another
attack!" and sprang forward, seized him by the throat, and loosened his
neck-tie; but this only increased the young man's violence; he no
longer spoke German, but a strange language instead, that no one
understood, and began to leap about in an extraordinary manner. The
mayor was very much annoyed by this unpleasant disturbance; he
therefore resolved, inasmuch as the young man must have been attacked
by some very unusual symptoms, to remove the cravat entirely. But he
had no sooner done this, than he stood motionless with horror, for
instead of a human skin and complexion, the neck of the young man was
covered with a dark-brown fur. The young man took some higher leaps,
grasped his hair with his gloved hands, pulled it, and, oh, wonder!
this beautiful hair was simply a wig, which he flung into the mayor's
face; and his head now appeared, covered with the same brown fur.

He jumped over tables and benches, threw down the music-stands, stamped
on the fiddles and clarionet, and appeared to have gone mad. "Catch
him! catch him!" shouted the mayor, quite beside himself. "He is out of
his senses, catch him!" That was, however, a difficult thing to do, as
the Englishman had pulled off his gloves, disclosing nails on his
fingers, with which he scratched the faces of those who attempted to
hold him. Finally an experienced hunter succeeded in holding him. He
bound his long arms down by his side so that he could only move his
feet. The people gathered round and stared at the singular young
gentleman, who no longer resembled a human being.

Just then a scientific gentleman of the neighborhood who had a large
cabinet full of specimens of natural history, and possessed all kinds
of stuffed animals, approached nearer, examined him closely, and then
exclaimed, in tones of surprise: "Good gracious! ladies and gentlemen,
how is it you bring this animal into genteel company? That is an ape,
of the _Homo Troglodytes_ species. I will give six thalers for him on
the spot, if you will let me have him, for my cabinet."

Who could describe the astonishment of the Gruenwiesel people as they
heard this! "What! an ape, an orang-outang in our society? The young
stranger a common ape?" cried they, and looked at one another in a
stupefied way. They could not believe it; they could not trust their
ears. The men examined the animal more closely, but it was beyond all
doubt a quite natural ape.

"But how is this possible," cried the mayor's wife. "Has he not often
read his poems to me? Has he not eaten at my table, just like any other
man?"

"What?" exclaimed the doctor's wife. "Has he not often drank coffee
with me, and a great deal of it? And has he not talked learnedly with
my husband, and smoked with him?"

"What! is it possible!" cried the men; "has he not bowled nine-pins
with us at the cave? and discussed politics like one of us?"

"And how can it be?" lamented they all; "has he not danced at our
balls? An ape! an ape? It is a miracle! It is witchcraft!"

"Yes, it is witchcraft, and a satanic spook!" echoed the mayor,
exhibiting the cravat of the nephew, or ape. "See, this cloth contains
the magic that made him so acceptable to our eyes. There is a broad
strip of elastic parchment covered with all manner of singular
characters. I think it must be Latin. Can any one read it?"

The minister, a scholarly gentleman who had lost many a game of chess
to the young Englishman, walked up, examined the parchment, and said:
"By no means! They are only Latin letters," and read:

           "THE APE CAN DO MOST COMIC FEATS,
            WHEN OF THE APPLE FRUIT HE EATS."

"Yes, it is a wicked fraud, a kind of sorcery; and the perpetrator of
it should be made an example of."

The mayor was of the same opinion, and started to go to the house of
the stranger, who must be a sorcerer; while six militia-men took the
ape along, as the stranger would be immediately put on trial.

They arrived at the desolate house, accompanied by a large crowd of
people, as every one was anxious to see the outcome of the affair. They
knocked on the door and pulled the bell, but no one responded. The
mayor, in his wrath, had the door beaten in, and went up to the room of
the stranger. But nothing was to be seen there save various kinds of
old furniture. The strange gentleman was not to be found; but on his
work-table lay a large sealed letter, directed to the mayor, who
immediately opened it. He read:


"MY DEAR GRUENWIESEL FRIENDS:--When you read this I shall be far away
from your town, and you will have discovered of what rank and country
my dear nephew is. Take this joke, which I have allowed myself to
indulge in at your expense, as a lesson not to seek the society of a
stranger who prefers to live quietly by himself. I felt above sharing
in your eternal clack, in your miserable customs, and your ridiculous
manners. Therefore, I educated a young orang-outang, which, as my
deputy, won such a warm place in your affections. Farewell; make the
best use of this lesson."


The people of Gruenwiesel were not a little ashamed at the position
they were in before the whole country. They had hoped that all this
could be shown to have some connection with supernatural things. But
the young people experienced the deepest sense of shame, because they
had copied the bad customs and manners of an ape. They ceased to prop
their elbows on the table; they no longer tilted back their chairs;
they were silent until spoken to; they laid aside their spectacles, and
were good and obedient; and if any one of them chanced to slip back
into the old ways, the Gruenwiesel people would say, "It is an ape!"
But the ape, that had so long played the _rôle_ of a young gentleman,
was surrendered to the learned man who possessed a cabinet of natural
curiosities. He allowed the ape to have the run of his yard, fed it
well, and showed it as a curiosity to strangers, where it can be seen
to this day.

There was loud laughter in the _salon_, when the slave had concluded,
in which the young men joined. "There must be singular people among
these Franks; and, of a truth, I would rather be here with the sheik
and mufti in Alessandria, than in the company of the minister, the
mayor, and their silly wives in Gruenwiesel!"

"You speak the truth there," replied the young merchant, "I should not
care to die in the Frank's country. They are a coarse, wild, barbaric
people, and it must be terrible for a cultivated Turk or Persian to
live there."

"You will hear all about that presently," promised the old man. "From
what the steward told me, the fine-looking young man yonder will have
something to say about the Franks, as he was among them for a long
time, and is by birth a Mussulman."

"What, the last one in the row? Really, it is a sin for the sheik to
free him! He is the handsomest slave in the whole country. Only look at
his courageous face, his sharp eye, his noble form! He might give him
some light duties, such as fan or pipe-bearing. It would be an easy
matter to provide such an office for him, and truly such a slave as he
would be an ornament to the palace. And the sheik has only had him
three days, and now gives him away? It is folly! It is a sin!"

"Do not blame him--he, who is wiser than all Egypt;" said the old man,
impressively. "I have already told you that he gives this slave his
freedom, believing that he will thereby deserve the blessing of Allah.
You say the slave is handsome and well-formed; and you say the truth.
But the son of the sheik--whom may the Prophet restore to his father's
house--was also a beautiful boy, and must be now tall and well-formed.
Shall the sheik then save his money, and set a less expensive slave
free, in the hope to receive his son therefor? He who wishes to do
anything in the world had far better not do it at all, than not do it
well."

"And see how the sheik's eyes are fastened on this slave! I have
noticed it the whole evening. During the recital of the stories, his
look was fixed on the young slave's face. It evidently pains him to
part with him."

"Do not think that of the sheik. Do you think the loss of a thousand
tomans would pain him who every day receives three times that sum?"
asked the old man. "But when his glance falls sorrowfully on the young
slave, he is doubtless thinking of his son, who languishes in a strange
land, and whether a merciful man lives there who will buy his freedom
and send him back to his father."

"You may be right," responded the young merchant, "and I am ashamed
that I have been looking at only the darker and ignobler traits of
people, while you prefer to see a nobler meaning underlying their
actions. And yet, taken as a whole, mankind are bad; have you not found
it so, old man?"

"It is precisely because I have not found it so, that I love to think
well of people. I used to feel as you do. I lived so thoughtlessly,
heard much that was bad about people, experienced much that was wicked
in myself, and so readily began to look upon humanity as made up of a
poor lot of creatures. Still, I chanced to think that Allah, who is as
just as wise, would not suffer so abandoned a race to people this fair
earth. I thought over again what I had seen and what I had experienced
in my own person, and behold! I had taken account only of the evil and
had forgotten the good. I had paid no attention when one had performed
a deed of charity; it seemed quite natural when whole families lived
virtuous and orderly lives; but whenever I heard of something wicked or
criminal, I stored it away in my memory. Thus did I begin to look about
me with clearer eyes. I rejoiced when I found that the good was not so
rare a quality as I had at first thought it. I noticed the evil less,
or it made less impression on my mind; and so I learned to love
humanity, learned to think well of people. And in my long life, I have
made fewer mistakes in speaking and thinking well of people, than I
should have made if I had looked upon them as avaricious or ignoble or
ungodly."

The old man was interrupted here by the steward, who said: "Sir, the
Sheik of Alessandria, Ali Banu, has remarked your presence here with
pleasure, and invites you to step forward and take a seat near him."

The young men were not a little astonished at the honor shown the old
man whom they had taken for a beggar; and when he had left them to sit
with the sheik, they held the steward back and the young writer asked
him: "By the beard of the Prophet! I implore you to tell us who this
old man is with whom we have been conversing, and whom the sheik so
honors?"

"What!" cried the steward clasping his hands in surprise, "do you not
know this man?"

"No."

"But I have seen you speaking with him several times on the street, and
my master has also noticed this and only recently said, 'They must be
valiant young people with whom this man grants a conversation.'"

"But tell us who he is!" cried the young merchant impatiently.

"Go away; you are trying to make a fool of me," answered the steward.
"No one enters this _salon_ without special permission, and to-day the
old gentleman sent word to the sheik that he would bring some young men
with him into the _salon_, if it were not disagreeable to the sheik,
and the sheik sent back the reply that his house was at his service."

"Do not leave us longer in ignorance. As true as I live, I do not know
who the man is. We got acquainted with him by chance, and fell to
talking with him."

"Well, you may consider yourselves fortunate, for you have conversed
with a famous and learned man, and all present honor you and wonder at
you accordingly. He is none other than Mustapha, the learned dervish."

"Mustapha! the wise Mustapha, who educated the sheik's son, who has
written many learned books, and travelled to all parts of the world?
Have we spoken with Mustapha? And spoken, too, as though he were one of
us, without the least respect!"

While the young men were talking about the dervish, Mustapha, and the
honor they felt had been done them by his condescension, the steward
came to them again, and invited them to follow him, as the sheik wished
to speak with them. The hearts of the young men beat excitedly. Never
yet had they spoken with a man of such high rank. But they collected
their wits, so as not to appear like fools, and followed the steward to
the sheik. Ali Banu sat upon a rich cushion, and refreshed himself with
sherbet. At his right sat the old man, his shabby clothes resting on
splendid cushions, while his well-worn sandals were placed on a rich
rug; but his well-shaped head, and his eye, expressive of dignity and
wisdom, indicated that he was a man worthy to be seated near the sheik.

The sheik was very grave, and the old man appeared to be speaking words
of consolation and of hope to him. The young men also feared that their
summons to the sheik had been caused by a stratagem on the part of the
old man, who very likely would now ruin them by a word to the sorrowing
father.

"Welcome, young men," said the sheik. "Welcome to the house of Ali
Banu! My old friend here deserves my thanks for bringing you with him;
still I am a little inclined to quarrel with him that he did not make
me acquainted with you before this. Which of you is the young writer?"

"I, O Sire! and at your service!" replied the writer, crossing his arms
on his breast and making a low obeisance.

"You are pleased with stories, and also love to read books with
beautiful verses and wise sayings?"

The young man blushed, and answered: "O Sire! for my part, I know of no
pleasanter way of passing the day. It cultivates the mind and whiles
away the time. But every one to his taste; I do not quarrel with any
one who does not----"

"Very well, very well," interrupted the sheik, with a laugh, as he
beckoned the second young man forward. "And now who may you be?"

"Sire, my duties are those of an assistant to a physician, and I have
cured some patients myself."

"Just so," replied the sheik. "And you are one who loves high-living.
You would like to sit down to a good table with your friends. Isn't
that so? Have I not guessed right?"

The young man was much abashed; he felt that the old man had betrayed
him also; but he plucked up courage to say: "Oh yes, Sire, I reckon it
as one of the great enjoyments of life to be able to make merry now and
then with one's friends. My purse does not permit me to entertain my
friends with much besides watermelons, and other cheap things; but
still we contrive to be merry even with these--so that it stands to
reason that if my purse was longer our enjoyment would be
proportionately increased."

This spirited answer pleased the sheik so well that he could not
refrain from laughing. "Which of you is the young merchant?" was his
next inquiry.

The young merchant made his obeisance to the sheik with an easy grace,
for he was a man of good breeding; and the sheik said to him:

"And you? Do you not take pleasure in music and dancing? Are you not
charmed to hear good artists sing and play, and to see dancers perform
ingenious dances?"

The young merchant replied: "I see clearly, O Sire, that this old
gentleman, in order to amuse you, has told you of all our follies. If
he thereby succeeded in cheering you up, I shall not regret having been
made the object of your sport. As concerns music and dancing, however,
I will confess that it would be difficult to find any thing that so
cheers my heart. But yet, do not suppose that I blame you, O Sire, that
you do not likewise----"

"Enough! not another word!" cried the sheik, smiling, and waving his
hand. "Every one to his taste, you were about to say. But there stands
another: that must be the young man who is so fond of travelling. Who,
then, are you, young gentleman?"

"I am a painter, O Sire," answered the young man. "I paint landscapes,
sometimes on the walls of _salons_, and sometimes on canvas. To see
foreign lands is, above all things, my wish, for one sees there a great
variety of beautiful regions that can be reproduced, and what one sees
and sketches is as a rule much finer than that which is evolved from
one's fancy."

The sheik surveyed the group of handsome young men with an earnest
look. "I once had a dear son," said he, "and he must by this time be
grown up like you. You should be his companions, and every one of your
wishes should be satisfied. With that one he would read, hear music
with this, with the other he would invite good friends and make merry,
and I would send him with the painter to beautiful regions and would
then feel sure of his safe return. But Allah has ordained otherwise,
and I bow uncomplainingly to his will. Still, it is within my power to
fulfill your wishes, and you shall leave Ali Banu with happy hearts.
You, my learned friend," continued he, turning to the young writer,
"will take up your residence in my house, and take charge of my books.
You will be at liberty to do as you think best, and your only duty will
be, when you have read some very fine story, to come and relate it to
me. You, who love to sit at a good table with your friends, shall have
the oversight of my entertainments. I myself live alone and take no
pleasures; but it is a duty that attaches to my office to now and then
invite guests. Now you shall prepare every thing in my place, and can
also invite your friends whenever you please to sit down with you--and,
let it be understood, to something better than watermelons. I certainly
can not take the young merchant away from his business, which brings
him in money and honor; but every evening, my young friend, dancers,
singers, and musicians will be at your service, and will play and dance
for you to your heart's content. And you," turning to the painter,
"shall see foreign lands, and educate your tastes by travel. My
treasurer will give you for your first journey, that you can start on
to-morrow, a thousand gold pieces, together with two horses and a
slave. Travel wherever you desire; and when you see anything beautiful,
paint it for me."

The young men were beside themselves with astonishment, speechless with
joy and gratitude. They would have kissed the ground at the feet of the
kind man, but he prevented them. "If you are indebted to any one, it is
to this wise old gentleman who told me about you. He has also given me
pleasure in this matter by making me acquainted with four such worthy
young gentlemen."

The dervish, Mustapha, however, checked the thanks of the young men.
"See," said he, "how one should never judge too hastily. Did I
exaggerate the goodness of this noble man?"

"Let us hear from another of the slaves, who is to be liberated
to-day," interrupted Ali Banu; and the young gentlemen took their
seats.

The young slave who had attracted general attention by reason of his
beautiful form and features and his bright look, now arose, and in a
melodious voice began his story.



                         THE STORY OF ALMANSOR.


Sire, the men who have preceded me have told wonderful stories which
they had heard in strange lands; whilst I must confess with shame that
I do not know a single tale that is worthy of your attention.
Nevertheless if it will not weary you, I will relate the strange
history of one of my friends.

On the Algerian privateer, from which your generous hand set me free,
was a young man of my own age who did not seem to have been born to the
slave-costume that he wore. The other unfortunates on the ship were
either rough, coarse people, with whom I did not care to associate or
people whose language I did not understand; therefore, every moment
that I had to myself was spent in the company of this young man. He
called himself Almansor, and, judging from his speech, was an Egyptian.
We were well pleased to be in each other's society, and one day we
chanced to tell our stories to one another; and I discovered that my
friend's story was far more remarkable than my own. Almansor's father
was a prominent man in an Egyptian city, whose name he failed to give
me. The days of his childhood passed pleasantly, surrounded by all the
splendor and comfort earth could give. At the same time, he was not too
tenderly nurtured, and his mind was early cultivated: for his father
was a wise man who taught him the value of virtue, and provided him
with a teacher who was a famous scholar, and who instructed him in all
that a young man should know. Almansor was about ten years old when the
Franks came over the sea to invade his country and wage war upon his
people.

The father of this boy could not have been very favorably regarded by
the Franks, for one day, as he was about to go to morning prayers, they
came and demanded first his wife as a pledge of his faithful adherence
to the Franks, and when he would not give her up, they seized his son
and carried him off to their camp.



When the young slave had got this far in his story, the sheik hid his
face in his hands, and there arose a murmur of indignation in the
_salon_. "How can the young man there be so indiscreet?" cried the
friends of the sheik, "and tear open the wounds of Ali Banu by such
stories, instead of trying to heal them? How can he recall his anguish,
instead of trying to dissipate it?" The steward, too, was very angry
with the shameless youth, and commanded him to be silent. But the young
slave was very much astonished at all this, and asked the sheik whether
there was any thing in what he had related that had aroused his
displeasure. At this inquiry, the sheik lifted his head, and said:
"Peace, my friends; how can this young man know any thing about my sad
misfortune, when he has not been under this roof three days! might
there not be a case similar to mine in all the cruelties the Franks
committed? May not perhaps this Almansor himself----but proceed, my
young friend!" The young slave bowed, and continued:



The young Almansor was taken to the enemy's camp. On the whole, he was
well treated there, as one of the generals took him into his tent, and
being pleased with the answers of the boy that were interpreted to him,
took care to see that he wanted for nothing in the way of food and
clothes. But the homesickness of the boy made him very unhappy. He wept
for many days; but his tears did not move the hearts of these men to
pity. The camp was broken, and Almansor believed that he was now about
to be returned to his home; but it was not so. The army moved here and
there, waged war with the Mamelukes, and took the young Almansor with
them wherever they went. When he begged the generals to let him return
home, they would refuse, and tell him that he would have to remain with
them as a hostage for his father's neutrality. Thus was he for many
days on the march.

One day, however, there was a great stir in camp, and it did not escape
the attention of the boy. There was talk about breaking camp, or
withdrawing the troops, of embarking on ships; and Almansor was beside
himself with joy. "For now," he reasoned, "when the Franks are about to
return to their own country, they will surely set me at liberty." They
all marched back towards the coast, and at last reached a point from
which they could see their ships riding at anchor. The soldiers began
to embark, but it was night before many of them were on the vessels.
Anxious as Almansor was to keep awake--for he believed he would soon be
set at liberty--he finally sank into a deep sleep. When he awoke, he
found himself in a very small room, not the one in which he had gone to
sleep in. He sprang from his couch; but when he struck the floor, he
fell over, as the floor reeled back and forth, and every thing seemed
to be moving and dancing around him. He at last got up, steadied
himself against the walls, and attempted to make his way out of the
room.

A strange roaring and rushing was to be heard all about him. He knew
not whether he waked or dreamed; for he had never heard anything at all
like it. Finally he reached a small stair-case, which he climbed with
much difficulty, and what a sensation of terror crept over him! For all
around nothing was to be seen but sea and sky; he was on board a ship!
He began to weep bitterly. He wanted to be taken back, and would have
thrown himself into the sea with the purpose of swimming to land if the
Franks had not held him fast. One of the officers called him up, and
promised that he should soon be sent home if he would be obedient, and
represented to him that it would not have been possible to send him
home across the country, and that if they had left him behind he would
have perished miserably.

But the Franks did not keep faith with him; for the ship sailed on for
many days, and when it finally reached land, it was not the Egyptian,
but the Frankish coast. During the long voyage, and in their camp too,
Almansor had learned to understand and to speak the language of the
Franks; and this was of great service to him now, in a country where
nobody knew his own language. He was taken a long journey through the
country, and everywhere the people turned out in crowds to see him; for
his conductors announced that he was the son of the King of Egypt, who
was sending him to their country to be educated. The soldiers told this
story to make the people believe that they had conquered Egypt, and had
concluded a peace with that country. After his journey had continued
several days, they came to a large city, the end of their journey.
There he was handed over to a physician, who took him into his home and
instructed him in all the customs and manners of the Franks.

First of all, he was required to put on Frankish clothes, which he
found very tight, and not nearly as beautiful as his Egyptian costume.
Then he had to abstain from making an obeisance with crossed arms, but
when he wished to greet any one politely, he must, with one hand,
lift from his head the monstrous black felt hat that had been given
him to wear, let the other hand hang at his side, and give a scrape
with his right foot. He could no longer sit down on his crossed
legs, as is the proper custom in the Levant, but he had to seat
himself on a high-legged chair, and let his feet hang down to the
floor. Eating also caused him not a little difficulty; for every thing
that he wished to put in his mouth he had to first stick on a metal
fork.

The doctor was a very harsh, wicked man, given to teasing the boy; for
when the lad would forget himself and say to an acquaintance, "_Salem
aleicum!_" the doctor would beat him with his cane telling him he
should have said, "_Votre serviteur!_" Nor was he allowed to think, or
speak, or write in his native tongue; at the very most, he could only
dream in it; and he would doubtless have entirely forgotten his own
language, had it not been for a man living in that city, who was of the
greatest service to him.

This was an old but very learned man, who knew a little of every
Oriental language--Arabic, Persian, Coptic, and even Chinese. He was
held in that country to be a miracle of learning, and he received large
sums of money for giving lessons in these languages. This man sent for
Almansor several times a week, treated him to rare fruits and the like;
and on these occasions the boy felt as if he were at home once more in
his own country. The old gentleman was a very singular man. He had some
clothes made for Almansor, such as Egyptian people of rank wore. These
clothes he kept in a particular room in his house, and whenever
Almansor came, he sent him with a servant to this room and had the boy
dressed after the fashion of his own country. From there the boy was
taken to a _salon_ called "Little Arabia." This _salon_ was adorned
with all kinds of artificially-grown trees--such as palms, bamboos,
young cedars, and the like; and also with flowers that grew only in the
Levant. Persian carpets lay on the floor, and along the walls were
cushions, but nowhere Frankish tables or chairs. Upon one of these
cushions the old professor would be found seated, but presenting quite
a different appearance from common. He had wound a fine Turkish shawl
about his head for a turban, and had fastened on a gray beard, that
reached to his sash, and looked for all the world, like the genuine
beard of an important man. With these he wore a robe that he had had
made from a brocaded dressing-gown, baggy Turkish trowsers, yellow
slippers, and, peaceful as he generally was, on these days he had
buckled on a Turkish sword, while in his sash stuck a dagger set with
false stones. He smoked from a pipe two yards long, and was waited on
by his servants, who were likewise in Persian costumes, and one half of
whom had been required to color their hands and face black.

[Illustration]

At first all this seemed very strange to the youthful Almansor; but
he soon found that these hours could be made very useful to him,
were he to join in the mood of the old man. While at the doctor's
he was not allowed to speak an Egyptian word, here the Frankish
language was forbidden. On entering, Almansor was required to give the
peace-greeting, to which the old Persian responded spiritedly, and then
he would beckon the boy to sit down near him, and began to speak
Persian, Arabic, Coptic, and all languages, one after another, and
considered this a learned Oriental entertainment. Near him stood a
servant--or, as he was supposed to be on these days, a slave--who held
a large book. This book was a dictionary; and when the old man stumbled
in his words, he beckoned to the slave, looked up what he wanted to
say, and then continued his speech.

The slaves brought in sherbet in Turkish vessels and to put the old man
in the best of humors, Almansor had only to say that every thing here
was just as it was in the Levant. Almansor read Persian beautifully,
and it was the chief delight of the old man to hear him. He had many
Persian manuscripts, from which the boy read to him, then the old man
would read attentively after him, and in this way acquired the right
pronunciation. These were holidays for little Almansor, as the
professor never let him go away unrewarded, and he often carried back
with him costly gifts of money or linen, or other useful things which
the doctor would not give him.

So lived Almansor for some years in the capital of the Franks; but
never did his longing for home diminish. When he was about fifteen
years old, an incident occurred that had great influence on his
destiny. The Franks chose their leading general--the same with whom
Almansor had often spoken in Egypt--to be their king. Almansor could
see by the unusual appearance of the streets and the great festivities
that were taking place, that something of the kind had happened; but he
never once dreamed that this king was the same man whom he had seen in
Egypt, for that general was quite a young man. But one day Almansor
went to one of the bridges that led over the wide river which flowed
through the city, and there he perceived a man dressed in the simple
uniform of a soldier, leaning over the parapet and looking down into
the water. The features of the man impressed him as being familiar, and
he felt sure of having seen him before. He tried to recall him to
memory; and presently it flashed upon him that this man was the general
of the Franks with whom he had often spoken in camp, and who had always
cared kindly for him. He did not know his right name, but he mustered
up his courage, stepped up to him, and, crossing his arms on his breast
and making an obeisance, addressed him as he had heard the soldiers
speak of him among themselves: "_Salem aleicum_, Little Corporal!"

The man looked up in surprise, cast a sharp look at the boy before him,
recalled him after a moment's pause, and exclaimed: "Is it possible!
you here, Almansor? How is your father? How are things in Egypt? What
brings you here to us?"

Almansor could not contain himself longer; he began to weep, and said
to the man: "Then you do not know what your countrymen--the dogs--have
done to me, Little Corporal? You do not know that in all this time I
have not seen the land of my ancestors?"

"I cannot think," said the man, with darkening brow, "I cannot think
that they would have kidnapped you."

"Alas," answered Almansor, "it is too true. On the day that your
soldiers embarked, I saw my fatherland for the last time. They took me
away with them, and one general, who pitied my misery, paid for my
living with a hateful doctor, who beats and half starves me. But
listen, Little Corporal," continued he confidentially, "it is well that
I met you here; you must help me."

The man whom he thus addressed, smiled, and asked in what way he should
help him.

[Illustration]

"See," said Almansor, "it would be unfair for me to ask much from you;
you were very kind to me, but still I know that you are a poor man, and
when you were general you were not as well-dressed as the others, and
now, judging from your coat and hat, you cannot be in very good
circumstances. But the Franks have recently chosen a sultan, and beyond
doubt you know people who can approach him--the minister of war, maybe,
or of foreign affairs, or his admiral; do you?"

"Well, yes," answered the man; "but what more?"

"You might speak a good word for me to these people, Little Corporal,
so that they would beg the sultan to let me go. Then I should need some
money for the journey over the sea; but, above all, you must promise me
not to say a word about this to either the doctor or the Arabic
professor!"

"Who is the Arabic professor?"

"Oh, he is a very strange man; but I will tell you about him some other
time. If these two men should hear of this, I should not be able to get
away. But will you speak to the minister about me? Tell me honestly!"

"Come with me," said the man; "perhaps I can be of some use to you
now."

"Now?" cried the boy, in a fright. "Not for any consideration now; the
doctor would whip me for being gone so long. I must hurry back!"

"What have you in your basket?" asked the soldier, as he detained him.
Almansor blushed, and at first was not inclined to show the contents of
his basket; but finally he said: "See, Little Corporal, I must do such
services as would be given to my father's meanest slave. The doctor is
a miserly man, and sends me every day an hour's distance from our house
to the vegetable and fish-market. There I must make my purchases among
the dirty market-women, because things may be had of them for a few
coppers less than in our quarter of the city. Look! on account of this
miserable herring, and this handful of lettuce, and this piece of
butter, I am forced to take a two hours' walk every day. Oh, if my
father only knew of it!"

The man whom Almansor addressed was much moved by the boy's distress,
and answered: "Only come with me, and don't be afraid. The doctor
shall not harm you, even if he has to go without his herring and salad
to-day. Cheer up, and come along." So saying, he took Almansor by the
hand and led him away with him; and although the boy's heart beat fast
when he thought of the doctor, yet there was so much assurance in the
man's words and manner, that he resolved to go with him. He therefore
walked along by the side of the man, with his basket on his arm,
through many streets; and it struck him as very wonderful that all the
people took off their hats as they passed along and paused to look
after them. He expressed his surprise at this to his companion, but he
only laughed and made no reply.

Finally they came to a magnificent palace. "Do you live here. Little
Corporal?" asked Almansor.

"This is my house, and I will take you in to see my wife," replied the
soldier.

"Hey! how finely you live! The sultan must have given you the right to
live here free."

"You are right; I have this house from the emperor," answered his
companion, and led him into the palace. They ascended a broad
stair-case, and on coming into a splendid _salon_, the man told the boy
to set down his basket, and he then led him into an elegant room where
a lady was sitting on a divan. The man talked with her in a strange
language, whereupon they both began to laugh, and the lady then
questioned the boy in the Frankish language about Egypt. Finally the
Little Corporal said to the boy: "Do you know what would be the best
thing to do? I will lead you myself to the emperor, and speak to him
for you!"

Almansor shrank back at this proposal, but he thought of his misery and
his home. "To the unfortunate," said he, addressing them both, "to the
unfortunate, Allah gives fresh courage in the hour of need. He will not
desert a poor boy like me. I will do it; I will go to the emperor. But
tell me. Little Corporal, must I prostrate myself before him? must I
touch the ground with my forehead? What shall I do?"

They both laughed again at this, and assured him that all this was
unnecessary.

"Does he look terrible and majestic?" inquired he further. "Tell me,
how does he look?"

His companion laughed once more, and said: "I would rather not describe
him to you, Almansor. You shall see for yourself what manner of man he
is. But I will tell you how you may know him. All who are in the
_salon_ will, when the emperor is there, respectfully remove their
hats. He who retains his hat on his head is the emperor."

So saying, he took the boy by the hand and went with him towards the
_salon_. The nearer they came, the faster beat the boy's heart, and his
knees began to tremble. A servant flung open the door, and revealed
some thirty men standing in a half-circle, all splendidly dressed and
covered with gold and stars (as is the custom in the land of the Franks
for the chief ministers of the king). And Almansor thought that his
plainly-dressed companion must be the least among these. They had all
uncovered their heads, and Almansor now looked around to see who
retained his hat; for that one would be the king. But his search was in
vain; all held their hats in their hands, and the emperor could not be
among them. Then, quite by chance, his eye fell upon his companion, and
behold----he still had his hat on his head!

The boy was utterly confounded. He looked for a long time at his
companion, and then said, as he took off his own hat: "_Salem aleicum_,
Little Corporal! This much I know, that I am not the Sultan of the
Franks, nor is it my place to keep my head covered. But you are the one
who wears a hat; Little Corporal, are you the emperor?"

"You have guessed right," was the answer; "and, more than that, I am
your friend. Do not blame me for your misfortune, but ascribe it to an
unfortunate complication of circumstances, and be assured that you
shall return to your fatherland in the first ship that sails. Go back
now to my wife, and tell her about the Arabic professor and your other
adventures. I will send the herrings and lettuce to the doctor, and you
will, during your stay here, remain in my palace."

Thus spake the emperor. Almansor dropped on his knees before him,
kissed his hand, and begged his forgiveness, as he had not known him to
be the emperor.

"You are right," answered the emperor, laughing. "When one has been an
emperor for only a few days, he cannot be expected to have the seal of
royalty stamped on his forehead." Thus spake the emperor, and motioned
the boy to leave the _salon_.

After this Almansor lived happily. He was permitted to visit the Arabic
professor occasionally, but never saw the doctor again. In the course
of some weeks, the emperor sent for him, and informed him that a ship
was lying at anchor in which he would send him back to Egypt. Almansor
was beside himself with joy. But a few days were required in which to
make his preparations; and with a heart full of thanks, and loaded down
with costly presents, he left the emperor's palace, and travelled to
the seashore, where he embarked.

But Allah chose to try him still more, chose to temper his spirit by
still further misfortune, and would not yet let him see the coast of
his fatherland. Another race of Franks, the English, were carrying on a
naval warfare with the emperor. They took away all of his ships that
they could capture; and so it happened that on the sixth day of
Almansor's voyage, his ship was surrounded by English vessels, and
fired into. The ship was forced to surrender, and all her people were
placed in a smaller ship that sailed away in company with the others.
Still it is fully as unsafe on the sea as in the desert, where the
robbers unexpectedly fall on caravans, and plunder and kill. A Tunisian
privateer attacked the small ship, that had been separated from the
larger ships by a storm, and captured it, and all the people on board
were taken to Algiers and sold.

Almansor was treated much better in slavery than were the Christians
who were captured with him, for he was a Mussulman; but still he had
lost all hopes of ever seeing his father again. He lived as the slave
of a rich man for five years, and did the work of a gardener. At the
end of that time, his rich master died without leaving any near heirs;
his possessions were broken up, his slaves were divided, and Almansor
fell into the hands of a slave-dealer, who had just fitted up a ship to
carry his slaves to another market, where he might sell them to
advantage. By chance I was also a slave of this dealer, and was put on
this ship together with Almansor. There we got acquainted with each
other, and there it was that he related to me his strange adventures.
But as we landed I was a witness of a most wonderful dispensation of
Allah. We had landed on the coast of Almansor's fatherland; it was the
market-place of his native city where we were put up for sale; and O,
Sire! to crown all this, it was his own, his dear father who bought
him!



The sheik, All Banu, was lost in deep thought over this story, which
had carried him along on the current of its events. His breast swelled,
his eye sparkled, and he was often on the point of interrupting his
young slave; but the end of the story disappointed him.

"He would be about twenty-one years old, you said?" began the sheik.

"Sire, he is of my age, from twenty-one to twenty-two years old."

"And what did he call the name of his native city? You did not tell us
that."

"If I am not mistaken, it was Alessandria!"

"Alessandria!" cried the sheik. "It was my son! Where is he living? Did
you not say that he was called Kairam? Has he dark eyes and brown
hair?"

"He has, and in confidential moods he called himself Kairam, and not
Almansor."

"But, Allah! Allah! Yet, tell me: his father bought him before your
eyes, you said. Did he say it was his father? Is he not my son!"

The slave answered: "He said to me: 'Allah be praised; after so long a
period of misfortune, there is the market-place of my native city.'
After a while, a distinguished-looking man came around the corner, at
whose appearance Almansor cried: 'Oh, what a blessed gift of heaven are
one's eyes! I see once more my revered father!' The man walked up to
us, examined this and that one, and finally bought him to whom all this
had happened; whereupon he praised Allah, and whispered to me. 'Now I
shall return to the halls of fortune; it is my own father that has
bought me.'"

"Then it was not my son, my Kairam!" exclaimed the sheik in a tone of
anguish.

The young slave could no longer restrain himself. Tears of joy sprang
into his eyes; he prostrated himself before the sheik, and said: "And
yet it is your son, Kairam Almansor; for you are the one who bought
him!"

"Allah! Allah! A wonder, a miracle!" cried those present, as they
crowded closer. But the sheik stood speechless, staring at the young
man, who turned his handsome face up to him. "My friend Mustapha!" said
the sheik at last to the old man, "before my eyes hangs a veil of tears
so that I cannot see whether the features of his mother, which my
Kairam bare, are graven on the face of this young man. Come closer and
look at him!"

The old dervish stepped up, examined the features of the young man
carefully, and laying his hand on the forehead of the youth, said:
"Kairam, what was the proverb I taught you on that sad day in the camp
of the Franks?"

"My dear master!" answered the young man, as he drew the hand of the
dervish to his lips, "it ran thus: _So that one loves Allah, and has a
clear conscience, he will not be alone in the wilderness of woe, but
will have two companions to comfort him constantly at his side._"

The old man raised his eyes gratefully to heaven, drew the young man to
his breast, and then gave him to the sheik, saying: "Take him to your
bosom; as surely as you have sorrowed for him these ten years, so
surely is he your son!"

The sheik was beside himself with joy; he scanned the features of his
newly-found son again and again, until he found there the unmistakable
picture of his boy as he was before he had lost him. And all present
shared in his joy, for they loved the sheik, and to each one of them it
was as if a son had that day been sent to him.

Now once more did music and song fill these halls, as in the days of
fortune and of joy. Once more must the young man tell his story, and
all were loud in their praises of the Arabic professor, and the
emperor, and all who had been kind to Kairam. They sat together until
far into the night; and when the assembly broke up, the sheik presented
each one with valuable gifts that they might never forget this day of
joy.

But the four young men, he introduced to his son, and invited them to
be his constant companions; and it was arranged that the son should
read with the young writer, make short journeys with the painter, that
the merchant should share in his songs and dances, and the other young
man should arrange all the entertainments. They too received presents,
and left the house of the sheik with light hearts.

"Whom have we to thank for all this?" said they to one another; "whom
but the old man? Who could have foreseen all this, when we stood before
this house and declaimed against the sheik?"

"And how easily we might have been led into turning a deaf ear to the
discourses of the old man, or even into making sport of him? For he
looked so ragged and poor, who would have suspected that he was the
wise Mustapha?"

"And--wonderful coincidence--was it not here that we gave expression to
our wishes?" said the writer. "One would travel, another see singing
and dancing, the third have good company, and I----read and hear
stories; and are not all our wishes fulfilled? May I not read all the
sheik's books, and buy as many more as I choose?"

"And may not I arrange the banquets and superintend all his
entertainments, and be present at them myself?" said the other.

"And I, whenever my heart is desirous of hearing songs and stringed
instruments, may I not go and ask for his slaves?"

"And I," cried the painter; "until to-day I was poor, and could not set
foot outside the town; and now I can travel where I choose."

"Yes," repeated they all, "it was fortunate that we accompanied the old
man, else who knows what would have become of us?"

So they spoke and went cheerful and happy to their homes.





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