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OLD VARTABED AND THE SHEPHERD’S CALL

he was trying to attract my attention. I answered as softly as I could. All that day a new hope gave me courage. I was sure deliverance was at hand, though I could not explain why.

I did not even attempt to sleep that night. The sheep came in early and the shepherd whistled. An hour later I heard the call again—the shepherd still was in the yard. It must have been near midnight when I heard a rattling at the window bars. I looked, and there, framed in the moonlight, was a face I knew—the face of Old Vartabed, who had come to our house that Easter morning with his prophecy of ill—the prophecy that came true. God had sent him to me and had made me to hear and understand that familiar, whistled call!

Old Vartabed whispered: “Who is here who comes from the Mamuret-ul-Aziz?”

“It is Aurora, the daughter of the Mardiganians of Tchemesh-Gedzak. You are Old Vartabed, and I am the Aurora you loved so much.”

Old Vartabed tried to speak, but his voice shook so I could not understand him. I told him all that I could, quickly. How I had come to be a captive of Ahmed and why I was in the dungeon. Tears came into Old Vartabed’s ancient eyes when I told him how all my people were dead. I asked him how it was that he had been saved. “Old Vartabed is not worth the slaughter,” he said. “I am of much value, since I