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display their best skill, while I would heard him speak, must have envied the smoke comfortably the chibouk, call for Sheik this treasure, for he was only ten the rich sherbet, and enjoy myself with years old, and still was already as learned all this like a king in Bagdad.” as others scarcely are at eighteen.”
“ The Sheik,” said a third of these “ And is he dead? The poor Sheik !" young people, who was a scribe, “the exclaimed the young scribe. Sheik must be a learned and wise man, “ It would be a consolation for him to and truly his lectures upon the Koran know that he had gone home to the dwelevince familiarity with all the poets and ling of the Prophet, where he would be writings of wisdom, but is his life so better provided for than here in Alexanregulated as beseems a reasonable be- dria ; but he has not this consolation. ing? There stands a slave with a It was at that time when the Franks, whole armful of scrolls—I would give like hungry wolves, crossed into our my best suit to be allowed to read even land and warred with us. They had one of them, for they are certainly rare conquered Alexandria, and marched out things, but he-he sits and smokes and hence farther and farther, and attacked leaves the books unnoticed. Were I the Mamelukes. The Sheik was a the Sheik Ali Banu, that fellow should wise man, and knew how to keep on read before me until he were out of good terms with them; but whether breath, or until night came, and even they coveted his treasures, or that he then he should not cease reading until had afforded shelter to some believing I had fallen asleep.”
Mussulmans, I am not certainly inform“ Ha! you know indeed how to live ed. Well, they came one day into his a fine life,” laughed a fourth, “ to eat house, and accused him of secretly and drink, sing and dance, read senten- supplying the Mamelukes with arms, ces, and hear the poems of miserable horses, and provisions. It was in vain poets ! No, I would do very different- to assert his innocence, for the Franks ly. He has the finest horses and cam- are a rough, hard-hearted people, when els, and much money; were I in his they wish to extort money.
They place I would travel travel to the end took his young son, Kairam, as he was of the world, even to the Muskovites, called, as a hostage into their camp. even to the Franks. No journey would He offered much gold for him, but they be too far to see the riches of the refused to give him up, in hopes world; thus would I do were I that probably of urging him to higher offers. man yonder."
All at once there came a command “ Youth is a lovely time, and the from their Basha, or whoever it was, to age when one is happy,” said an old embark. No one in Alexandria knew man of needy appearance who stood a word thereof, and, suddenly, they near them, and had heard their dis- were upon the broad sea, and it is course, “but permit me also to say that probable that they carried little Kairam, yonth is foolish and prates at random Ali Banu's son, with them, for nothing without knowing what.”.
has since been heard of him." “What mean you by that, old man ?" Ah, the poor man, how has Allah inquired the young people in surprise. stricken him!” exclaimed the young " Do you mean us by that ? What people with one voice, and looked commatter is it to you if we blame the life of passionately towards the Sheik, who, the Sheik ?
surrounded by splendor, sat lonely and “ If any one knows anything better sad beneath the palm trees. than another, let him correct his error ; “ His wife, whom he much loved, buch is the will of the prophet,” return- died from sorrow for her son. As for him, ed the old man. * The Sheik, it is true, he purchased a ship, equipped it, and is blessed with treasures, and possesses agreed with a Frankish physician, who all which the heart desires; still has he lives below by the_brook yonder, to
to be serious and sorrowful. journey with him to Frangistan, to seek Think you he has always been thus ? out his lost son. They embarked, were No; fifteen years ago I saw him, and a long time upon the sca, and arrived then he was cheerful and active as the at last in the land of those Giaours, gazelle, and lived happily and enjoyed those unbelievers who had been in the world, At that time he had a son, Alexandria. But there things were in the delight of his days, beautiful and a dreadful condition. They had killed well-shaped, and whoever saw him and their Sultan with the Bashas; the poor
and rich were beheading and murdering The young people thanked the old each other, and there was no longer man for his information, looked once any order in the land. In vain sought again at the sorrowing father, and they in every city after the little Kai- walked down the street, saying to each ram; no one knew anything of him, other, “ After all I would not be the and the Frankish Doctor at last coun- Sheik Ali Banu." selled the Sheik to set sail, because otherwise perhaps even their
Not long after these young people heads would have been in danger. had spoken with the old man of the
“ So they returned again; and since Sheik Ali Banu, it happened that about his arrival, the Sheik has lived as on this the time of the morning prayer they day, for he mourns for his son, and he walked again through this street. The has cause.
When he eats and drinks, old man and his narrative then occurred must he not think, Now perhaps my poor to them, and with one voice they grieved Kairam is without food and drink! for the Sheik, and looked towards his And when he clothes himself with rich house. But what was their astonishshawls, fine garments, as his office and ment, to see there everything adorned dignity demand, must he not say, He in the most sumptuous manner. Streamnow, perhaps, has not wherewith to ers and pennons waved from the roof, cover his nakedness! And when he is where the beautiful, gaily dressed surrounded by singers and dancers and slaves were walking; the entrance hall readers, his slaves, says he not, Now, of the house was covered with costly perhaps, is my poor son obliged to dance carpets ; silken stuff joined to this was and play before his Frankish master, as spread over the broad steps of the windhe orders it. And what gives him the ing ascent, and even upon the street greatest sorrow is, he believes that so beautiful fine cloth was extended, from far from the land of his fathers, and in which many would have wished a foot the midst of unbelievers, who will scoff carpet or a festival suit. at him, the little Kairam will become an “Ha! how the Sheik has changed apostate from the faith of his country, within a few days," said the young and he will not one day be able to em- scribe. “ Will he give a feast ?' Will brace him in the gardens of paradise. he employ his singers and dancers ? For this reason he so mild towards Look at these carpets—has any one as his slaves, and gives great sums to the fine in all Alexandria ? And this cloth poor, for he thinks Allah will repay it, upon the common earth—truly it is a and move, perhaps, the heart of his shame!” Frankish master, that he treat his son “Do you know what I think ?” said mildly. And when that day comes upon another. “ He receives certainly some which his son was torn from him, he high guest, for these are the preparagives twelve slaves their freedom.” tions wbich they make, when a lord of
“Of this I also have heard,” replied extensive lands, or an Effendi from the the scribe. Singular reports indeed Grand Seignor blesses a house with his are rumored, but not a word of his son presence. Who can it be that comes is mentioned in them. It is said merely to-day ?” that he is a strange man, and fond of Look, is not that our late old friend listening to the narrations of his slaves. walking yonder ? Ha! he knows all It is said also that every year he has about it doubtless, and must give us an a trial of skill among them, and to the explanation of the matter. Ho, there! one whose story most delights he gives old man. Will you not step hither ?" his liberty."
Thus they called; the old man observed “ Trust not to the speech of the peo- their signs, and came to them, for he ple,” said the old man, “ it is as I have recognized them as the young people said, and I know it accurately; It is with whom he had spoken a few days possible that on that heavy day he may before. They called his attention to wish to cheer himself, and listens to the preparations in the house of the their tales, but he frees them for his Sheik, and asked him if he knew not son's sake. But the evening is getting what high guest was expected. cool, and I must go my way. Salaam “ You think, then," he replied, " that aleikam! Peace be with you, ye young Ali Banu celebrates a festival, or that men, and for the future think beiter of the visit of a great lord honors his the good Sheik.”
house. It is not so; but to-day, as you
know, is the twelfth of the month Ra- and friends of the Sheik, a single person madan, and on this day was his son is not observed. I will speak with him carried
away into the camp of the that he may admit you. You are only Franks."
four, and it can easily be arranged. " But, by the beard of the Prophet,” Come to this spot about the ninth hour, exclaimed one of the young people, and I will give you an answer. “everything looks as if arranged for Thus said the old man ; the young bridal festivities, and still it is his well people thanked him, and departed full known day of mourning. How rhyme of curiosity for the result. you that together ? Confess the Sheik At the appointed hour they came upon is somewhat shattered in his under- the square before the house of the Sheik. standing."
The old man approached them, and said “ Judge you always so hastily ?” that the overseer of the slaves had perasked the old man, smiling. “ Your mitted him to bring them with him. arrow was this time pointed and sharp, He went forward, not up the richly and the string of your bow tightly covered steps, and through the wide drawn, and still have you shot wide portal, but by a side door which he from the mark. Know, that to-day the carefully locked again. Then he led Sheik expects his son."
them through several passages until “ He is found, then,” exclaimed the they came to the large saloon. There youths, and were delighted.
was here a great throng from all sides; “ No, and perhaps he will not be there were richly dressed men, noble found for a long time; but learn, that lords of the city, and friends of the Sheik, eight or ten years ago, when the Sheik who had come to console him in his passed this day in mourning and lamen- grief. There were slaves of all kinds tation, and freed his slaves, and gave and nations. But they all appeared many poor food and drink, it happened sorrowful, for they loved their master, also that he afforded nourishment to a and mourned with him. At the end of dervish, who lay weary and faint be- the saloon upon a rich divan sat the neath the shadow of his house. The chosen friends of Ali Banu, and were dervish was a holy man, and skilled in attended by slaves. Near them, upon prophesying an in reading the stars. the floor, sat the Sheik, for sorrow for When he was strengthened by the mild his son permitted him not to sit upon hand of the Sheik, he approached him the carpet of joy. His head was supand said: 'I know the cause of thy ported upon his hand, and he seemed sorrow; is not to-day the twelfth of the little to hear the consolation which his month Ramadan, and hast thou not on friends whispered to him. Opposite to this day lost thy son ? But be consoled. him sat some old and young men, in This day of mourning will become a slaves' apparel. The old man informed day of joy to thee; for know, that on his young friends that these were the this day thy son will return. Thus slaves to whom Ali Banu would this spake the dervish. It were a sin for a day give their freedom. There were Mussulman to doubt the words of such among them some Franks, and he par.
Ali's sorrow, it is true, was not ticularly called their attention to one of thereby removed; still, however, he them who was distinguished for his awaits on this day the return of his son, beauty, and was still very young. The and adorns his house, his halls and Sheik had a few days before purchased steps, as if he might arrive at each him from a slave merchant of Tunis, hour."
for a great sum, and still he already “Wonderful !” replied the scribe. gave him his liberty ; for he believed “But would that I could be there to see that the more Franks he sent back to how pobly all is arranged, how he him- their native land, so much the sooner self mourns in the midst of this splen- would the Prophet release his son. dor, and especially to listen to the sto- After fruits and sherbets had been ries of his slaves.'
carried around to all, the Sheik gave a “ Nothing is easier than this,” an- sign to the overseer of the slaves. This swered the old man. “ The overseer one stood up, and there was a deep of the slaves in that house has been my silence in the apartment. He stepped friend for many years, and grants me in front of those slaves who were to be always a place in the apartment on this freed, and said, with a clear and distinct day, where amid the crowd of servants voice : "Ye men who to-day are to ob
freedom by the favor of my They whispered with one another. lord Ali Banu, the Sheik of Alexandria, An old slave then raised his voice, and do now as is the custom on this day, in commenced as follows : this house, and commence your narrations."
THE STORY OF THE SPECTRE SHIP.
My father owned a little shop in Bal- DEAD!” Before I could question him sora ; he was neither poor nor rich, and concerning the singular exclamation, was one of those kind of men who are the sailors rushed in screaming and unwilling to venture anything, from the howling. “ Have you seen it?” they fear of losing the little which they have. cried. It is now all over with us!" He educated me plainly, but well, and At the captain's desire some devout soon brought me along so far that I sentences were read from the Koran, could be of some assistance to him. and he then placed himself at the helm. When I was about eighteen years old, But in vain! The storm now comand at the time when he made his first menced to rage, and before an hour had great venture, he died, probably out of passed the ship struck, and remained sorrow that he had trusted a thousand immovable. Her boats were got out, pieces of gold to the sea. Soon after- and scarcely had they rescued the last wards, however, I could not help view- sailor, when the ship sank before our ing his death as a blessing to him, since eyes, and I was a beggar upon the wide he died ignorant of a misfortune, which sea. I clasped my old servant in my he would have dreaded even more than arms, and we promised not to forsake the loss of life, for the news came in a each other. At last the day broke; but few weeks that the ship to which my the reddish gleam of the morning had father trusted his property had been scarce met our eyes, when the wind wrecked. But this event could not bend caught the boat in which we sat, and my youthful courage. All which my in an instant overturned it. I have father had left behind I turned into mo- never seen any of the ship's crew ney, and went forth to seek my fortune since. The accident had stunned me, in a foreign country, accompanied only and when I recovered I found myself by an old servant of my father's, who in the arms of my faithful old servant, from long attachment would not separate who had saved himself upon the bottom himself from me and my fate.
of the boat, and had drawn me up after We set sail from the harbor of Bal- him. The storm had subsided. Nothing sora with a favorable wind. The ship more was to be seen of our vessel, but in which I had embarked was bound for we descried another ship not far off, toIndia. We had already proceeded fif- wards which the waves were driving us. teen days upon the ordinary course, As we came nearer, I recognized it as when the captain announced to us the the same which had passed us in the approach of a storm. He looked dis- night, and at which the captain had turbed, for it seemed he was not suffi- been so terrified. I felt a strange horciently acquainted with the navigation ror at that ship. The exclamation of in those seas to meet a storm with com- the captain, which had been so fearfully posure. He ordered all the sails to be confirmed, the desolate appearance of taken in, and we were driven slowly the vessel
, upon which no one was to be along. The night had come on; it was seen, however near we came to it, or clear and cold, and the captain believed however loud we called out-all this that he had been deceived in his expec- filled me with terror. But it was our tation of a storm. Suddenly a ship only means of safety, and quieting our glided by us, which we had not before fears we thanked the Prophet who had observed. Wild shouting and scream- so wonderfully preserved us. ing resounded from the deck, at which A long rope hung down from the I greatly wondered, in that hour of prow of the ship. We rowed towards anxiety, before an approaching tempest. it with our hands and feet, in order to But the captain, who stood at my side, lay hold thereof. We at last succeeded. became pale as death. “My ship is I called out loudly, but not a sound was lost !” he exclaimed. “There sail the to be heard on board. We climbed up
by the rope, I, as the youngest, first. thought that all would come into my But who can imagine my horror at the possession, but Ibrahim recalled to me spectacle which met my sight as I the thought that we were still very far stepped upon the deck! It was stained from land; whither we could not arrive with blood, and thereupon lay from alone and without aid. twenty to thirty bodies in Turkish gar- We refreshed ourselves with the food ments, around. Against the mainmast and drink of which we found an abunstood a man richly dressed, with a drawn dance, and ascended, at last, again upon cimeter in his hand; his face was pale the deck. But here we were in conand distorted, and a large nail was tinual horror, at the fearful spectacle driven directly through his forehead, before us. We resolved at last to get which fastened him to the mast. He rid of the bodies, by throwing them into too was dead. Terror held my steps; the sea ; but what were our feelings, I ventured scarcely to breathe. By this when we found that not one of them time my companion had ascended. The could be moved from its place! They view of the deck, which showed nothing lay as if fast bound to the deck, and to living, but only so many frightful corp- remove them, it would be necessary to ses, startled him also. We ventured at tear up the planks, for the accomplishlast to proceed farther, after we had ment of which we were destitute of inprayed in anguish of soul to the Pro- struments. The captain also could not phet. At each step we looked about be made loose from the mast, neither us, to see if nothing new and more fear- could we force the cimeter from his ful would display itself; but every rigid hand. We passed the day in sad thing remained as it was ; all around reflections upon our situation, and when there was nothing living, nothing mov- the night drew on, I permitted old Ibraing, but ourselves and the ocean. We hiin to lay down and sleep, while I did not once venture to speak loud, from watched upon the deck, in order to look fear that the dead captain, who was around for aid. But as the moon arose, nailed to the mast, might cast his staring and when I reckoned by the stars that it eyes upon us, or one of the bodies turn was about eleven o'clock, such an irreits head. At last we arrived to the sistible sleep fell upon me that I sank stairs which led to the cabin. Here we down behind a cask that stood upon the involuntarily made a pause, and looked deck. Yet it was rather stupefaction upon each other, for neither of us ven- than sleep, for I heard plainly the sea tured to express his thoughts. washing against the side of the ship,
“Oh, master !” said my faithful ser- and the sails rattling and whistling in vant, at last, “ something dreadful has the wind. Suddenly I thought I heard happened here. But even if the ship is voices and steps upon the deck. I tried full of murderers below, yet I would to raise myself up in order to look rather yield myself to their mercy or around for them, but an invisible power their cruelty, than to stay longer among seemed to render me motionless, nor these dead." I thought as he did ; we was I able even to unclose my eyes. took heart and descended, full of anx. But the voices became still more disiety. But all was as still as the grave tinct, and it appeared to me as if a here also, except the noise of our steps merry ship's crew were hurrying to and as they sounded upon the stairs. We fro about the deck. Among these I stood at the door of the cabin. I placed thought I could distinguish the powerful my ear against it, and listened, but there voice of one in command, and I heard was nothing to be heard. I opened it. clearly the ropes and sails drawn up The room presented a singular appear- and down. By degrees my senses disance. Garments, and weapons, and appeared, and I fell into a deep sleep, in various other things lay scattered around. which a clashing of weapons seemed Everything was in confusion. The still to reach my ear. When I awoke crew, or at least the captain, must have the sun stood high, and was casting his been carousing very lately, for the burning rays upon my face. I gazed traces of it were still evident. We went around in wonder; storm and ship, the on from room to room, and found every- dead, and all that I had heard during where a rare store of silks, pearls, su- the night, seemed to me a dream, but as gar, &c., &c. I was overjoyed at this I looked I found everything as it had sight, for as no one was in the ship, I been yesterday. The dead lay motion