Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

son.

to cheer and bless him; and his son and da ughter were such as were not to be found in all that Province..

No youth could rein the horse, hurl the javelin, chase the lion, or delight the social cirele, like this

No daughter of kings could be found so beautiful and perfect, as was this daughter, with an eye so bright and joyous, and a form so symmetrical, as hers. But who can insure earthly happiness? In one short week, Hafed was stripped of all his joys. His wife went to see a new white peacock, which it was said a neighbor, who lived a mile off in the ravinė, had just brought home. She took cold, and a quick fever fol-, lowed; and on her return, Hafed saw that she must die.

Before two days were gone, the old man was standing at her open grave, : Hé gazed long; and said impatiently—“Cóver her,-cover the only woman that I ever loved!" The son and daughter had returned from the burial of their mother, fatigued and sick. The nurse gave them, as she thought, a simple medicine. In a few hours, it was found to be poison. Hafed saw that they must. die; for the laws of nature are fixed, and poison kills. He buried them in one wide, deep grave, and it seemed as if in that grave he buried his reason and his" religion. He toře his gray hair,-he cursed the light of days and wished the moon turned into blood; and above all, declared thắt the laws which "God had established were all wrong, useless, and worse thän none;

He wished the world were governed by chance; but, as this was a hopeless wish, he wished that at his death he might go to a world where there was no God to fix unalterable laws. He arraigned the wisdom of

God in his government over this world, declaring that his plans were worse than none, and that it would be far better to have no God in the universe! In the centre of Hafed's garden stood a large, beautiful palmtree. Under it was Hafed sitting, the second evening after closing the grave over his children. The seat on which he sat had been reared by his son. On the leaf of the tree which lay before him, were some exquisite verses, written by the pencil of his daughter.

Before him lay the beautiful country, covered with green, sprinkled here and there, as far as the eye could see, with the habitations of men; and upon this great landscape the shadows of the mighty mountains were now setting. In the east, the moon was just pushing up her modest face, and the gold of day was softening into the silver of night. While Hafed.looked on all this, grief began to swell in his throat; his tongue murmured; his heart was full of hard thoughts of God.. As the night deepenedy; Hafed, as he then thought, fell asleep with a heavy heart. When he supposed he awoke, it was in a new spot. The mountain, the landscape, the home, were all gone. All

.

.

was new.

but every

As he stood wondering where he was, he saw a creature approaching him, which, at first, he mistook for a baboon; but, on its coming near, he discovered that it was a creature somewhat resembling a man, way mal-formed, ill-shaped, and monstrous. He came up and walked around Vated, as he would å superior being, exclaiming, “ Beautiful, beautiful creature !" “Shame, shame on thee!” said Hafed; “dost thou treat a stranger thus with insults ? Leave off thy jests,

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and tell me where I am, and how I came here?" "I do not know how you came here, but here you are, in our world, which we call chance-world, because every thing happens here by chance.”

“Ah! is it so ? This must be delightful! This is just the world for me. Oh! had I always lived here, my beautiful children would not have died under an inexorable law! Come, show me this world, -for I long to see it. But have ye really no God, nor any one to make laws and govern you just as he sees fit?" “I don't know what you mean by God: we have nothing of that kind here,-nothing but chance; but go with me, and you will understand all about it.” As they proceeded, Hafed began to notice that every thing looked queer

and odd. Some of the grass was green, some red, some white, some new, and some dying; some grew with the top downward: all kinds were mingled together; and on the whole, the sight was very painful.

He stopped to examine an orchard; here chance had been at work. On a fine looking apple tree, he saw no fruit but large, coarse cucumbers. A small peach tree was breaking down under its load of gourds. The guide, told Hafed that there was no certainty about these trees; and you could never tell what fruit a tree would happen to bear. The tree which this year bears cucumbers, may bear potatoes next year.

a

LESSON LII.

HAFED'S DREAM.-[CONTINUED.) THEY soon met another of the “ chance men." His legs were very unequal in length; one had no knee, and the other no ankle. His ears were set

upon

his shoulders, and around his head was a thick, black bandage. He came groping his way, and Hafed at once asked him how long since he had lost his sight. “I have not lost it,” said he; “but when I was born, my eyeballs happened to be turned in instead of out, and the back parts, being outward, are very painful in the light, and so I put on a covering. “Well, but canst thou see any thing? Methinks thou mayest see strange things within." " True, but the difficulty is to get any light in there. Yet I am as well off as others. My brother has one good eye on the top of his head; but he only looks directly up with it to the clouds; and the sun almost puts it out. He shuts it most of the time during the day; but it happens to be one of those eyes that will stay shut.

They stopped to look at some chance cattle”.in a yard. Some had but three legs; some had the head on the wrong part of the body; some were covered with wool, under which they were sweltering in a. climate always tropical. Some were half horse and

One cow had a young dwarf of a camel following her, and claiming her as his mother. Young elephants were there with the flocks of sheep; horses with claws like a lion, and geese clamping round the

half ox.

yard with hoofs like horses. It was all the work of chance. Just as they were leaving the premises, the owner came out, to admire, and show, and talk over his treasures. “Don't think I am a happy man,” said

" he to Hafed, “in having so many and such perfect animals. Alas! even in this happy and perfect world, there are drawbacks. That fine looking cow yonder happens to give nothing but warm water for milk; and her calf, poor thing, died the first week. Some of them have good-looking eyes, but from some defect are stone blind. Some cannot live in the light, and few of them can hear. No two eat the same food, and it is a great labor to take care of them."

While they were talking, in an instant, they were in midnight darkness. The sun was gone, and Hafed could not for some time see his guide. "What has happened?” said he. “Oh! nothing uncommon,” said the guide. “The sun happened to go down now.

" There is no regular time for him to shine; but he goes and comes just as it happens. Sometimes he is gone for months, and sometimes for weeks, and sometimes only for a few minutes, just as it happens. We may not see him again for months, but perhaps he will come soon.”

As the guide was proceeding, to the inexpressible joy of all, the sun at once broke out. The light was so sudden, that Hafed at first thought he must be struck with lightning, and actually put his hands up to his eyes, to see if they were safe. He then clapped his hands over his eyes, till he could gradually bear the light. There was a splendor about the sun which he had never before seen ; and it was intolerably hot.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »