Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Hi. — THE KHAN AND THE DERVIS.

A TARTAR khan was once riding with his nobles on a hunting party. On the way he met with a dervis,t who proclaimed with a loud voice that he would give some good advice to any one who would bestow upon him a hundred pieces of gold. The khan was curious, and asked the dervis what this valuable counsel might be. “I will tell you, O king," was the reply, “when. you

shall have paid me the hundred pieces of gold.” The khan ordered the money to be given him ; and he' then said, in a very impressive manner, “ Undertake nothing of which thou hast not well considered the end." He then went on his way.

The followers of the khan smiled, and made merry with the counsel which he had bought at so high a price. “It is true," said he, “ that the words of the dervis convey a very simple and obyious rule of prudence; but on that very account it may

be the less heeded, and that is probably the reason why the dervis inculcated it so earnestly. For the future it shall always be present in my mind. I will have the words written over the doors of my palace, upon the walls of my chambers, and

upon the household articles of daily use." After some time, an ambitious governor made a plot to kill the khan and possess himself of the crown. He bribed the royal physician, with a great sum of money, to further his wicked plans; and the physician promised to bleed the khan with a poisoned lancet, so soon as an occasion offered.

The desired opportunity soon occurred. But when the attendants brought in a silver basin, to receive the blood, the physician saw engraved upon the rim the words, “ Undertake nothing of which thou hast not well considered the end." Reading this inscription, he started back, and with obvious embarrassment laid down the poisoned lancet, and took up another.

* Khan, a Tartar king, or prince. + Dervis, a holy man; a man employed in religious duties and meditations.

The khan observed this, and asked him why he had changed the lancets. On being told that it was because the point of the first was dull, he desired to see it. The physician hesitated to reach it to him, betraying at the same time marks of great confusion ; when the khan sprang up, and seized him by the throat, saying, "I read wicked thoughts in your face. If

you would save your life, confess every thing."

The physician fell at his feet, and revealed to him the plot against his life, which had been defeated by the words on the rim of the basin. “ Then I have not paid the dervis too dearly for his advice," said the khan. He pardoned the physician, ordered the wicked governor to be executed, and sending for the dervis, gave him still further rewards.

IV. - ABDALLAH.

ONCE upon a time, a shah* of Persia was making a tour through his kingdom. At the close of a sultry summer's day, he met under the shade of a tree a young shepherd who was playing upon his flute. The king was pleased with his appearance, and on entering into conversation with him, was much struck with the shrewdness of his remarks, and the natural though uncultivated vein of good sense which he evidently possessed. He determined to take the youth with him to his court, and give to his fine talents the education they deserved.

Abdallah- for so the youth was named — followed the king with reluctance to his palace. There his progress equalled the highest expectations that had been formed of it. The king loved him as a son ; but, as a natural consequence, he

* Shah, a name by which the King of Persia is commonly called.

1

was hated and envied by the courtiers, and often looked back with a sigh upon the peaceful life he had once led, and would gladly have laid aside his jewelled turban and purple robe, and resumed the simple shepherd's garb.

The king advanced his favorite from one degree to another, and made him at last keeper of all the treasures of the crown. In vain did envy and malice assail him; he was too strong in the favor of the monarch to be reached by their weapons.

But at last the good prince died, and was succeeded by his son, a youth of twenty years, whose ear was open to flattery, and his heart, consequently, to evil.

The enemies of Abdallah accused him of gross misconduct. “ He has enriched himself,” they said, “ at the expense of the state. The wealth with which your father intrusted him he has converted to his own use. He has stolen some of the most precious of the crown jewels. He has in his house a -secret vault, guarded by three locks, where he spends many hours alone, counting over his ill-gotten riches.”

The credulous young prince believed the false charges of his courtiers. He surprised Abdallah one morning with an unexpected visit. “Give me the keys," said he,“ of the secret vault, at the end of the gallery, where you spend so many hours alone, and where none of your friends have ever been admitted.” Abdallah saw at a glance the malice of his enemies.

He looked smilingly at his accusers, and handed the keys to the shah. The vault was opened ; and they found therein a shepherd's crook and pouch, and a flute. - “ See here, my lord,” said Abdallah, “the emblems of my former happy state. I have kept them here, and often visited them in memory of those peaceful days passed in intercourse with nature, and among my own kindred. Take back all that

your
father

gave me; but leave me my shepherd's garb."

The young prince was much moved. He cast an angry glance upon his courtiers, and embracing Abdallah, offered to elevate him to the highest post in the kingdom. But Abdal

)

lah laid aside his rich robes, took up again his shepherd's crook, and passed the remainder of his days amid the peaceful scenes of his youth.

V. - THE LOST CHILD.

A FRENCH gentleman named Lefevre, who had been compelled to leave his own country on account of his religious opinions, possessed himself of a farm in the western settlements of North America, which his own labor, and that of his family, had reclaimed from a state of nature, and brought under cultivation. He had many children ; but the darling of the house was the youngest, a boy of four years old, whose name was Ernest.

One day Ernest was missing. They sought him among the neighbors, but without success. The whole region was scoured in vain; night set in, and to the agonized calls of the parents no answer was returned but echoes, or the cries of wild animals, that had never sounded so fearful before.

While Lefevre and all his family were in search of the lost boy, and their hopes were every moment sinking more and more into despair, an Indian hunter, named Tewessina, came to the house, laden with beaver skins. He was well known, for he had often sold his furs there. He found the place deserted by every one, except a colored female servant, who informed him of the misfortune which had befallen the family. When he had heard it, he directed her to sound upon the horn at once, — which was the signal agreed upon for calling back the wanderers, and he assured her that he would be able to restore them the child.

When Lefevre heard the horn, he hurried back in breathless haste, hoping to hear some news of the wanderer. The Indian could not immediately give him the desired assurance, but asked him for the shoes and stockings the child had last worn. These he held to the nose of his hound, and then led

him in a wide circle around the house, in the manner of a hunter who is making his dog recover a lost scent.

The circle had not been completed, when the hound set up a loud bark; by which his master knew that he had come upon the trail of the child. He then, with headlong speed, darted into the forest, and returned in about half an hour to his master, with such expressions of satisfaction that there could be no doubt he had discovered the lost one; but whether dead or alive no one could tell, and this fearful doubt was hardly less painful to the parents than their former anguish.

The Indian now followed the hound into the woods with all the speed of his race; and the others were not far behind. They at length found the child, at the foot of a huge tree, uninjured, but exhausted with fatigue, and more dead than alive. Having ventured into the forest, he had lost his way, and in his alarm had wandered farther and farther from home.

The Indian took him up in his arms, and carried him home, while the hound leaped around them with exulting movements. The joy of the parents at again embracing their lost treasure may be imagined, but not described. There was no end to their expressions of gratitude. The hound, too, came in for his share of caresses ; but he laid his head upon his master's lap, and seemed anxious to avoid the kind demonstrations of the family.

As soon as the news of the recovery of the child were spread abroad, the neighbors flocked in to congratulate the Lefevres, - who were universal favorites, and the house, though large, could hardly hold the throng. The whole night was passed in joyous festivity ; but the mother would not trust her rescued darling a moment out of her arms. The Indian was somewhat disturbed at so large an assemblage, and took refuge in the barn, and was brought forth with some difficulty, and not until a considerable portion of the visitors had retired.

Lefevre then embraced him, in presence of his family and of his remaining friends, and declared that he should adopt

« ElőzőTovább »