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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 everything."
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.
THE WHITE SPARROW.
"Sleep is the worst of thieves
He steals half our lives."
In most parts of Germany there passes current among the people this proverb—
"He that would thrive Must the white sparrow see."
The meaning of the proverb is not at first sight so apparent as that of some others that circulate among us, such as, “Early habits make the man," and "Honesty is the best policy,” &c. ; but the moral signification it is intended to convey is not the less true and important. I will, therefore, here relate the story connected with its origin, even as I received it myself from the lips of an old and valued friend.
There was an old farmer, with whom everything appeared to grow worse from year to year. Scarcely a week passed by that either the taxgatherer or the pawnbroker did not come to his door, and, addressing him with a courteous bow, say, "I am really very sorry, Herr Ruckwart, to be compelled to put you to inconvenience, but I am obliged to do my duty.” The old friends of Herr Ruckwart also tried to do their duty to him. They advised, they entreated, and they helped him; but all in vain; and so one after another gave him up in despair, declaring, with a sigh, that, as for poor Ruckwart, there was no use in trying to help himhe was past being helped.
He had one friend, however, whose heart was in the right place, and who was not only a good man, but a very clear-sighted one. This friend thought he would not give Herr Ruckwart up altogether without making one more attempt to save him. So one day he led the conversation, as though accidentally, to the subject of sparrows-relating many anecdotes of these birds, and observing how greatly they had multiplied of late, and how very cunning and voracious they had become.
Herr Ruckwart shook his head gravely, in answer to this observation, and said,
They are, indeed, most destructive creatures. For my part, I have not the slightest doubt that it is mainly owing to their depredations that my harvest has of late years been so unproductive."
To this conjecture his old friend made no rejoinder; but, after a moment's pause, he continued the conversation by an interrogation.
Neighbour, have you ever seen a white sparrow?”
"No," replied Ruckwart; "the sparrows on my fields are all the common gray sort,"
“That is very probable, too,” rejoined his friend. “ The habits of the white sparrow are peculiar to itself. Only one comes into the world every year ; and being so different from its fellows, the other sparrows take a dislike to it, and peck at it when it appears among them. For this reason it seeks its food early in the morning, before the rest of the feathered tribe are astir, and then goes back to its nest, where it remains for the rest of the day.”
“That is very strange !” exclaimed Ruckwart. “I must really try to get a sight of that sparrow; and, if possible, I will catch it too."
On the morning following this conversation the farmer rose with the sun, and sallied forth into the fields. He walked around his farm, searched his farmyard in every corner, examined the roofs of his garners and the trees of his orchards, to see whether he could discover any traces of the wonderful white sparrow But the white sparrow, to the great disappointment of the farmer, would not show itself or stir from its imaginary nest. What vexed the farmer, however, still more, was, that although the sun stood high in the heavens by the time he had completed his round, not one of the farm labourers was astir; they, too, seemed resolved not to leave their nests.
Herr Ruckwart was reflecting on the disadvantages of this state of things, when suddenly he perceived a lad coming out of the house, carrying a sack of wheat on his shoulders. He seemed to be in great haste to get out of the precincts of the farm ; and Herr Ruckwart soon perceived that his ste not bent toward the mill, but toward a public-house
where Caspar had, unhappily, a long score to pay. He hastened after the astonished youth, and quickly relieved him of his burden.
The farmer next bent his steps to the cow-house, and, peeping in to see whether the white sparrow had perchance taken refuge there, he discovered, to bis dismay, that the milk-maid was handing a liberal portion of milk through the window to her neighbour.
“A pretty sort of housekeeping this is !” thought the farmer to himself, as he hastened to his wife's apartment, and aroused her from her slumbers. sure as my name is Ruckwart,” he exclaimed, in an angry tone, " there must be an end to these lazy habits. Everything is going wrong for the want of somebody to look after things. So far as I am concerned,” thought the good farmer to himself, “I will rise every day at the same hour I rose this morning, and then I shall get my farm cleared of those who do not intend to do their duty properly. Besides, who knows but some fine morning or other I may succeed in catching the white sparrow ?”
Days and weeks passed on. The farmer adhered to his resolution ; but he soon forgot the white sparrow, and only looked after the cattle and his corn-fields. Soon everything around him wore a flourishing aspect, and men began to observe that Herr Ruckwart (Backward) now well deserved to be called Herr Vorwart (Forward).
In due course of time, his old friend again came to spend a day with him, and inquired, in a humorous tone, “Well, how are you getting on now ? Have you succeeded in catching a glimpse of the white sparrow?"
The farmer only replied to this question by a smile, and then, holding out his hand to his old friend, he said, “God bless you, Herder! you have saved me and my family from ruin.”
Often, in after years, when Herr Ruckwart was a prosperous man, he was wont to relate the history of his early life; and thus, by degrees, the saying passed into a proverb, —
"He that would thrive Must the white sparrow see."
BETTER THAN GOLD.
BETTER than grandeur, better than gold,
Better than gold is a conscience clear,
Better than gold is the sweet repose