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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/150

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The History of Sindban and

"Not as you have spoken does the case stand, for the fault is not the boy's. There is nothing more excellent than truthfulness; and whoever thinks within himself that he is wise and yet lies, he is counted not among the wise men, but among liars."

King's Son. XIX.—Then the king bade his son speak. And the boy lifted up his voice and addressed the philosophers thus: "My wisdom compared with your wisdom is like a fly compared to a monster. Nevertheless, there was once a man who made a banquet, and gave milk as a beverage. Now when the milk was all gone, the man sent his maid to market to buy some milk. So she took the pail, and went and bought the milk; and she carried the vessel on her head. But as the woman was returning to come home, a falcon happened to pass over her head bearing a serpent; and, the wind having blown upon that serpent, it spewed its poison into the pail of milk, without the maid perceiving it. She brought it to the master, he gave his guests to drink, and all of them died through the milk." And the lad spake: "Whose fault was it?"

The first philosopher began and said: "The fault belonged to the master of the house; because, before having given his guests to drink, he ought to have given the milk to the woman to taste."

The second began and said: "It is not so; for the master of the house was not the sinner: it was the serpent's fault."

The third one answered and said: "'Tis not so; the serpent was not at fault, for in its straits it let go and spewed the poison."

Then Sindban answered and said: "Let it be understood by you, that everything which God has created, and has within it a living soul, eats of that which God has put into its nature; and so also the falcon, the food which God gives it, it will eat. And therefore no fault attaches to this creature."