Imagens das páginas

attained, thus thought=" I am a poor fellow, of low descent; it is better for me to serve and acquire wealth, than to live in independence and starve.” So he proceeded to the palace, and according to the edict, gave three blows

upon the gate. The porter immediately opened it, and brought him in. He was introduced to the Emperor's presence, who said, “ What seek you, my friend ?" Guido replied,

I wish to serve your Majesty.”—“ And for what office may you be fit?” returned the Emperor. I can serve, with tolerable expertness in six capacities ;" said Guido, “First, I can act as body-guard to the prince; I can make his bed, dress his food, and wash his feet. Secondly, I can watch when others sleep, and sleep when others watch. Thirdly, , I can drink good drink, and tell whether it be good or not. Fourthly, I can invite company to a festival for my master's honor. Fifthly, I can make a fire without the least smoke, which will warm all that approach it. Sixthly, I can teach people the way to the holy land, from whence they will return in excellent health."-" By my faith,” said the Emperor,

“ these are fine matters, and will be useful to a good many: thou shalt stay with me, and serve me first as body-guard. In each department thou shalt remain a full year.” Guido expressed himself content; and every. night made ready the Emperor's bed, washed the linen, and occasionally changed it. Then he lay down at the entrance of the chamber, armed at all points. He likewise provided a dog, whose barking might warn him of any danger. Every night, he washed the King's feet, and in all respects ministered so faithfully and manfully, that not the least fault was found in him. The Emperor, therefore, was well pleased ; and at the expiration of the year, made him his seneschal, preparatory to the fulfilment of the second office, which was, to provide every thing requisite. Then Guido commenced his operations; and during the whole summer collected a variety of stores, and watched with great assiduity the fittest opportunities. So that on the approach of winter, when others, who had wasted the pro. per season, began to labor and lay up, he took his ease, and thus completed the service

of the second year. When the Emperor perceived his diligence and sagacity, he called to him his chief butler, and said, “ Friend, put into my cup some of the best wine, mingled with must and vinegar, (15) and give it to Guido to taste: for that is his third ministry, namely, to taste good drink, and pronounce upon its qualities." The butler did as he was commanded. When Guido had tasted, he said, “ It was good; it is good, it will be good. That is, the must which is new, will be good when it is older ; the old wine is good, at present; and the vinegar was good formerly." The Emperor saw that he had answered discreetly and accurately; and this without previously knowing the component parts of the beverage. He therefore said, “ Go now through town and country and invite all my friends to a festival; for Christmas is at hand: herein shall consist your fourth ministry.” Guido instantly set out; but instead of executing the orders he had received, he invited none but the Emperor's enemies : thus, on Christmas eve, his court was filled with them. When he ob

served this, he was exceedingly perturbed, and calling Guido to him, said, “ How is this ? did you not say that you knew what men to ask to my table ?” He answered,

Surely, my Lord."-" And said I not," returned the Emperor, very much provoked, “ said I not, that thou wert to invite my friends? How comes it that thou hast assembled only my enemies?"_" My Lord,' replied Guido, “suffer me to speak. At all seasons, and at all hours, your friends may visit you, and they are received with pleasure ; but it is not so with your enemies. From which reflection, I persuaded myself that a conciliating behaviour, and a good dinner would convert your inveterate enemies into warm friends.” This was really the case; before the feast concluded, they all became cordial partisans, and as long as they lived remained faithful to their sovereign. The Emperor, therefore, was much delighted, and cried, “ Blessed be God, my enemies, are now my friends! Execute thy fifth ministry, and make both for them and me, a fire that shall burn without smoke.” Guido replied,

“ It shall be done immediately,” and he thus performed his promise. In the heat of summer, he dried a quantity of green wood in the sun: having done this, he made a fire with it, that blazed and sparkled, but threw out no smoke: so that the Emperor' and his friends warmed themselves without inconvenience. He was now directed to perform his last service, and promised great' honors and wealth on completing it also, equally to the satisfaction of his master. My Lord,” said Guido, “ whoever would travel to the Holy Land, must follow me to the sea-side." . Accordingly, proclamation being made, men, women, and children, in immense crowds, hastened after him. When they arrived at the appointed place, Guido said,“ My friends, do you

observe in the sea the same things which I do?” They answered, “ We know not that.”_" Then," continued he,“ do you perceive in the midst of the waves an immense rock?' Lift up your eyes and look.” They replied, “ Master, we see it well enough, but do not understand why you ask us.”_“Know,

, said he, “ that in this rock there is a sort of

« AnteriorContinuar »