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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/125

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the Seven Wise Masters.

a land—such are his qualities.[1] I have learnt, moreover, that kings are like fire, which, when it comes in contact with a man, burns him. I will show you that I shall teach your son, my sovereign lord; and when his tuition shall be completed, thou shalt give me that which I shall request of thee." And the king said: "That which thou hast asked, I shall give thee." Sindban says: "Whatsoever thou dost not wish that a man do unto thee, do thou not unto another."

And they wrote an agreement between them; and Sindban gave his right hand to the king, who handed the child unto Sindban, charging and saying unto him, that after six months and two hours he should bring the lad to his father, failing which, he would not wait one hour without taking off the head of Sindban. And Sindban took hold of the child's hand, and brought him to his house, and built for him a spacious dwelling, and covered it with chalk, and whitewashed it, and wrote upon its walls. And Sindban sat by him, and used to instruct him; and in the same house they had food and drink, and no moment was lost of the appointed term which they had fixed between them; so that, at the expiration of six months, the boy had learnt an amount, the like of which, no human being could have learnt. Now a day previous the king had sent to Sindban, and said to him: "How fares it with thee?" Whereupon he answered and said: "According to thy desire, I will bring you the lad to-morrow, at the hour of two o'clock, the Lord being willing." And the king was glad and rejoiced. And Sindban turned to the child and said unto him: "This night do I wish to consult your star, for I am desirous of bringing you to your father." Now as soon as he looked at the star of the lad, he saw that it would not be right (for the boy) to speak for seven days, fearing for him, lest he might die.

  1. I have attempted by the alteration or addition of one letter to make sense out of a passage hitherto considered hopeless.