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to which he alluded; and Bakhtyar began it accordingly, in the following manner :

STORY OF THE JEWEL-MERCHANT.

THERE WAS a certain jewel-merchant, a very wealthy man, and eminently skilled in the knowledge of precious stones. His wife, a very prudent and amiable. woman, was in a state of pregnancy when it happened that the King sent a messenger to her husband, desiring his attendance at court, that he might consult him in the choice of jewels. The merchant received the King's messenger with all due respect, and immediately prepared to set out on his journey to the capital. When taking leave of his wife, he desired her to remember him in her prayers; and, in case she should bring forth a boy, to call his name Bihrūz.

After this injunction he departed from his house, and at length arrived in the capital, where he waited on the King, and having paid his respects, was employed in selecting from a box of pearls those that were most valuable. The King was so much pleased with his skill and ingenuity, that he kept him constantly naer his own person, and entrusted to him

the making of various royal ornaments, crowns, and girdles studded with jewels.

At length the wife of this jewel-merchant was delivered of two boys; one of whom, in compliance with her husband's desire, she called Bihrūz, the other Rūzbih; and she sent intelligence of this event to the father, who solicited permission from the King that he might return home for a while and visit his family; but the King would not grant him this indulgence. The next year he made the same request, and with the same success. Thus during eight years he as often solicited leave to visit his wife and sons, but could not obtain it.

In the course of this time the boys had learned to read the Qur'an, and were instructed in the art of penmanship and other accomplishments; and they wrote a letter to their father, expressing their sorrow and anxiety on account of his absence. The jewelmerchant, no longer able to resist his desire of seeing his family, represented his situation to the King in such strong colours that he desired him to send for his wife and children, and allowed him an ample sum of money to defray the expenses of their journey.

A trusty messenger was immediately despatched to the jewel-merchant's wife, who, on receipt of her husband's letter, set out with her two sons on their way to the capital. One evening, after a journey of a month, they arrived at the sea-side. Here they resolved to wait until morning; and, being refreshed with a slight repast, the boys amused themselves in wandering along the shore.

It happened that the jewel-merchant, in expectation of meeting his wife and children, had come thus far on the way; and having left his clothes and money concealed in different places, he bathed himself in the sea, and on returning to the shore put on his clothes, but forgot his gold. Having taken some refreshment, he was proceeding on his journey, when he thought of his money, and went back to seek it, but could not find it. At this moment he perceived the two boys, who had wandered thus far, amusing themselves playing along the shore. He immediately suspected that these boys had discovered and taken the gold, and accused them accordingly. They declared their ignorance of the matter, which so enraged the jewel-merchant, that he seized them both, and cast them headlong into the sea. G*

After this he proceeded on his way; whilst the wife was so unhappy at the long absence of her sons, that the world became dark in her eyes, and she raised her voice and called upon the boys. When the jewel-merchant heard the voice of his wife, he hastened to meet her, and inquired after his two sons, expressing his eager desire of seeing them. The wife told him that they had left her some time before, and had wandered along the sea-side. At this intelligence the jewelmerchant began to lament, and tore his clothes, and exclaimed: Alas, alas, I have drowned my sons!" He then related what had happened, and proceeded with his wife along the shore in search of the boys, but they sought in vain. Then they smote their breasts and wept. And when the next morning came, they said: "From this time forth, whatsoever happens must be to us a matter of indifference ;" and they set out on their journey towards the city, with afflicted bosoms and bleeding hearts, being persuaded that their sons had perished in the water.

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But they were ignorant of the wonderful kindness of Providence, which rescued the two boys from destruction; for it happened that the King of that country, being on a hunting excursion, passed along

the shore on that side where Bihrūz had fallen.

When

he perceived the boy, he ordered his attendants to take him up, and finding him of a pleasing counten. ance, although pale from the terror of the water and the danger he had escaped, he inquired into the circumstances which had befallen him. The boy informed him, that with his brother he had been walking on the shore, when a stranger seized upon them, and flung them into the water. The King, not having any child, inquired the name of the boy; and when he answered, that his name was Bihrūz, he exclaimed: "I accept it as a favourable omen,* and adopt you as my own son." After this, Bihrūz, mounted on a horse, accompanied the King to his capital, and all the subjects were enjoined to obey him as heir to the crown. After some time the King died, and Bihruz reigned in his place, with such wisdom, liberality, and uprightness, that his fame resounded through all quarters of the world.

It happened in the meantime, that the other boy, whose name was Rūzbih, had been rescued from the water by some robbers, who agreed to sell him as a

* Bihrūz and Rūzbih are compounded of the words bih, good, excellent, and rūz, day; meaning "whose day is excellent."-ED.

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