Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 9.djvu/194

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ⅩⅩⅩⅧ, 27-34.

Shall we make those who believe and do right like those who do evil in the earth? or shall we make the pious like the sinners?

A blessed Book which we have sent down to thee that they may consider its verses, and that those endowed with minds may be mindful.

And we gave to David, Solomon, an excellent servant; verily, he turned frequently to us. 30 When there were set before him in the evening the steeds that paw the ground[1], and he said, 'Verily, I have loved the love of good things better than the remembrance of my Lord, until (the sun) was hidden behind the veil; bring them back to me;' and he began to sever their legs and necks.

And we did try Solomon, and we threw upon his throne a form; then he turned repentant[2]. Said he,

  1. The word in Arabic signifies a horse that stands on three legs and just touches the ground with the fore part of the hoof of the fourth. The story is that Solomon was so lost in the contemplation of his horses one day that he forgot the time of evening prayer, and was so smitten with remorse on discovering his negligence that he sacrificed them all except a hundred of the best. God however recompensed him by giving him dominion over the winds instead.
  2. The Mohammedan legend, borrowed from the Talmud, is that having conquered the king of Sidon and brought away his daughter Gerideh, he made her his favourite. She however so incessantly mourned her father that Solomon commanded the devils to make an image of him to console her, and to this she and her maids used to pay divine honours. To punish him for encouraging this idolatry, a devil named Sakhar one day obtained possession of his ring, which he used to entrust to a concubine named Aminah when he went out for any necessary purpose. As the whole secret of his power lay in this ring, which was engraved with the Holy Name, the devil was able to personate Solomon, who, being changed in form, was not recognised by his subjects, and wandered about for the space of forty days, the time during which the image had been worshipped in his house. After this Sakhar flew away and threw