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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/124

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The History of Sindban and

unwelcome, and would at the same time add a new link to the chain of evidences adduced by Comparetti in his work. It is to be regretted that the Syriac version is not quite complete. I have striven to be as literal as possible, making no substantial alterations, but only correcting here and there some slight inaccuracies in the text; and in one passage alone have I substituted a paraphrase in place of the literal translation.


In the Name of our Lord, the History of the wise Sindban and of his comrades.

There was once a king whose name was Cyrus, and all the days of his life he had no child, though he had seven wives. So he rose and prayed and vowed a vow, and anointed himself (or fasted?). And it pleased God to give him a son, and the boy grew and flourished like a cedar. So he gave him away, that he might learn wisdom; and he was three years with his teacher without having learnt anything. Whereupon the king exclaimed: "If this lad were ten thousand years with his teacher he would learn nothing. Now I will give him to the wise Sindban, since he is a wise man and excels all philosophers." So the king called Sindban and said to him: "Tell me how you wish to teach the boy." And Sindban answered, and said to the king: "I will instruct the boy in six months, so that he shall be able to discuss with all the philosophers that are under thy rule. And if I do not fulfil that which I have stated, let my life be destroyed from off the earth, and let all that I possess be yours; for I have learnt that, as regards the land in which a just king is born, and the king, who is son of a king, is diligent, he is as running waters both to the rich and poor, as a physician who does not act wrongfully, but uses his profession among mankind, in a manner so as to do {or lead) to that land all those things which we are to have in