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and rolled down a huge stone, which crushed my young camel-he sunk down beside me dead. In my rage, I seized the stone and flung it back towards the wall, where it struck the old man who had killed my camel. The blow was mortal. I sought to save myself by flight, but these two young persons apprehended me, and have brought me be you.”—" Thou hast confessed thy crime,” said Omar; "the punishment of retaliation awaits
“I am ready to endure it,” replied the young man; " but I have a young brother, whom our father on his death-bed particularly recommended to my care. The property which by inheritance falls to him, lies buried in a spot known to none but myself. If you cause me to be put to death before I have delivered it to him, you will hereafter, 0 commander of the faithful! have to answer for the loss of his inheritance before God. Grant me but three days to arrange this business.” When Omar had reflected for a moment, he said: “But who will be responsible for your return ?” The young man pointed to Abizar, one of the members of the council, who, with no other security than the confidence with which the appearance of the young man inspired him, consented to become the guarantee for his return.
The third day was almost at an end, and still the Bedouin came not. The two brothers began to demand with a loud voice the blood of the man who had taken upon himself to answer for the murderer's return. The companions of the prophet opposed it: but the severe Omar pronounced sentence, that the life of Abizar should be taken if the young man returned not before the setting of the sun.
At that very moment he re-appeared, breathless with haste and in profuse perspiration. “I have,” said he, put my brother's money in safety; pardon me if the excessive heat has retarded me more than I expected.”“Commander of the faithful,” said Abizar, “ I have been security for this youth without ever having known anything of him, and inspired with confidence in him solely through his honest countenance—behold him here! Let us no more say there is neither truth nor honour upon earth!"
All were astonished at the upright conduct of the youth, and the two brothers, who were equally affected, withdrew their accusation, and declared they pardoned him. Omar accepted their pardon of the youth, and congratulated himself that there was so much truth and honour under his government, and among the Bedouins.
THE STORY OF THE SIRENS.
“SPREAD the sails to the wind,” said Ulysses of a thousand counsels. “Spread the sails to the wind, and let the ship bend her course to Ithaca.”
The breeze sang in the shrouds above,-the waves foamed to the oars below : and swiftly and steadily they cleft the deep. And the shores of beautiful Circe grew dim in the distance ;-of beautiful Circe, who could not make Ulysses forget his home. But when she saw that he would leave her, and that her charms availed not to stay him, she spake a word in his ear, and prudent counsel. “Avoid the Sirens," she said, “that dwell in the island of Pelorus. Their voice is sweet, but deadly,none ever listened to it and lived. He that tarries to hear that song, can never tear himself from it. He is rooted as a tree to the island, till he pines and dies of hunger. But since thou must needs pass their dwelling, I will show thee a refuge from destruction. Fill the ears of thy comrades with wax, and bid them lean on the oars. Thyself, if thou willest it, listen to the song; but first be bound to the mast. For this is the fate of the Sirens ; and they know it well of old. When one voyager has passed them unharmed, their life draws to an end.”
Night came down on the sea, and Ulysses spake to his companions. He told them of the wiles of the Sirens, and of the counsel of the heavenly goddess. “And if," he said, “the melody beguiles me also, so that I make signs to you to stay your speed, I charge you to disobey my words, and to bend more strongly to your oars. I myself am a mortal man; and may err like mortal men.”
So saying, he laid him down to sleep, and his comrades were stretched in the hold. But when Aurora drove forth her chariot from the glorious gates of the day, up sprang, from his hard couch, the holy strength of Ulysses. He called his companions around him, and gave pure wax to each. Then they bound him to the strong mast, fastened him with thongs and cables, lest he should yearn for the
melody of the Sirens, and should cast himself into the broad sea. And they filled their ears with the white wax, and addressed themselves to their daily labours.
Ulysses, bearer of many toils, stood imprisoned at his own mast. And when mid-day was bright in the sky, and the sun looked down fiercely on land and sea, Sicily arose, like a blue cloud from the horizon, lovely in the bazy distance. Capes there were and headlands, that jutted out upon the foaming sea : but chief among the thousand promontories, was the giant height of Pelorus. And less than a league from its foot, an island lifted itself up from the deep. Thither the vessel bent her way : for the gods sent a favouring gale.
But when he was as far from the beach as an archer, at three shots, might send a winged arrow, Ulysses caught a distant strain, sweet and luscious as honey. It stole into his mind,-it overpowered all his resolve,-he was captive to the melody of the Sirens. Louder it came and louder, and evermore sweeter still. Who can describe its loveliness ? it was not as the melody of earth. And every moment that the hero listened, his love for Ithaca grew less. The voice of the three sisters came lovelier over the waters; the perils of the homeward return seemed more terrible. Long time he struggled with his shame: at last the melody prevailed.
“ Loose me, loose me,” said the hero, shouting to his labouring companions. Speed the vessel whither ye will; but let me abide with the Sirens.”
In vain he commanded the crew; they could not hear his words. Steadily the vessel went forward; steadily the rowers laboured.
And the mind of Ulysses was rent within him ; for it was agony to depart from the island. And when they came to the nearest point, he raged like an imprisoned lion. Thrice he strained at the bands, and thrice the bands repressed him. But when for the fourth time he put forth his strength, and the thongs would, perchance, have yielded, up rose Perimedes, leader of men, and Eurylochus, the equal of the gods; and they bound him more closely to the mast, and confined him with threefold thongs. In vain he besought them to forbear, and stretched forth his hands to the gods. Onwards went the vessel and onward, passing the dangerous shore. And as the melody died away, Ulysses returned to himself. And he longed, as before, for Ithaca, and Penelope and young Telemachus. But not till the island had faded in the horizon, did, his comrades unbind his arms. Then they removed the waxen safeguard, and returned their thanks to the gods. We
e also, while we are passing over the waters of this world, are beset with three Sirens. Their voice is sweeter than honey, but it is death to listen to them. They are called the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life. Our only safety is in stopping our ears against their music. We need not think of listening, and yet remaining unharmed. And happy is he, who, when he is inclined to give ear to their voice, has a friend to restrain him from evil. And yet more happy is that friend, for he will save a soul from destruction.-J. M. Neale.
SLEEP AND DEATH.
The Angel of sleep, and the Angel of death, fraternally embracing each other, wandered over the earth. eventide. They laid themselves down beside a hill not far from the habitations of men. A melancholy silence reigned around, and the evening bell of the distant hamlet had ceased.
Silently and quietly, as is their wont, the two kindly genii of the human race lay in confidential embrace, and night began to steal on.
Then the Angel of sleep rose from his mossy couch, and threw around, with careful hand, the unseen grains of slumber. The evening wind bore them to the quiet dwellings of the wearied husbandmen. Now the feet of sleep embraced the inhabitants of the rural cots, from the hoary-headed old man who supported himself with his staff, to the infants in the cradle. The sick forgot their pains, the mourners their grief, and poverty its cares. All eyes were closed.
And now, after his task was done, the bountiful angel of sleep lay down again by the side of his sterner brother. When the morning dawn arose, he exclaimed in joyous innocency, “men praise me as their friend and benefactor. Oh! what a bliss it is, unseen and secretly, to befriend
them! How happy are we, the invisible messengers of the great God! How lovely is our quiet vocation.'
Thus spake the friendly Angel of sleep. And the Angel of death sighed in silent grief; and a tear, such as the immortals shed, trembled in his great dark eye. “ Alas,” said he, “that I cannot, as thou, delight myself with cheerful thanks. Men call me their enemy, and pleasure spoiler."
“Oh! my brother, rejoined the Angel of sleep,” will not the good also, when awaking, recognize in thee a friend and benefactor, and thankfully bless thee ? Are not we brothers, and messengers of one father ?”
Thus spake he, and the eyes of the Angel of Death sparkled, and more tenderly did the brotherly genii em. brace each other.- Krümmacher.
OBIDAH, the son of Abensina, left the caravansera early in the morning, and pursued his journey through the plains of Indostan. He was fresh and vigorous with rest; he was animated with hope; he was incited by desire; he walked swiftly forward over the valleys, and saw the hills gradually rising before him. As he passed along, his ears were delighted with the morning song of the bird of paradise, he was fanned by the last flutters of the sinking breeze, and sprinkled with dew by groves of spices; he sometimes contemplated the towering height of the oak, monarch of the hills ; and sometimes caught the gentle fragrance of the primrose, eldest daughter of the spring : all his senses were gratified, and all care was banished from the heart.
Thus he went on till the sun approached his meridian, and the increasing heat preyed upon his strength; he then looked round about him for some more commodious path. He saw, on his right-hand, a grove that seemed to wave its shades as a sign of invitation; he entered it, and found the coolness and verdure irresistibly pleasant. He did not, however, forget whither he was travelling, but found a narrow way bordered with flowers, which appeared to have the same direction with the main road, and