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I-ORIENTAL FICTIONS-THE ARABIAN NIGHTSTHE BOOK OF SINDIBĀD.
HE Persians, like all Eastern nations, remarks Sir John Malcolm, "delight in Tales, Fables, and Apothegms; the reason of which appears obvious for where liberty is unknown, and where power in all its shapes is despotic, knowledge must be veiled to be useful." The ancient Persians also had their Tales and Romances, the substance of many of which is probably embodied in the celebrated Shah Nama, or Book of Kings, of Firdausi. And the fondness of the old pagan Arabs for the same class of compositions seems to have threatened the success of Muhammad's great mission, to win them back from their vain idolatry to the worship of the ONE God. For an Arabian merchant having brought from Persia the marvellous stories of Rustam, Isfendiar, Feridun, Zohāk, and other famous heroes, which he recited to the tribe of Kuraysh, they were so delighted with them, that they plainly told Muhammad that they much preferred hearing