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as they called it, and did not doubt for one moment, however improbable this might be, that he had stolen both dog and horse. Whilst the others continued their inquiries, the master of the horse and the chief eunuch seized the Jew and brought the cunning one, smiling somewhat timidly, before the Emperor.
Enraged, Muley Ismael summoned the common council of the palace. After having heard the matter, and considering the importance of it, he himself acted as president. At the commencement of the proceedings the accused was adjudicated to receive fifty lashes upon the soles of his feet. In spite of Abner's crying and whining, or protesting his innocence, or promising to relate everything how it had happened, or quoting passages from the Bible or the Talmud, such as: "The injustice of the king is like the roaring of a young lion, but his mercy is like the dew upon the grass!" or: "Let not thy hand be closed although your eyes and ears are closed," Muley Ismael beckoned, and swore by the beard of the Prophet and his own, that the Philistine must pay with his head for the pains of the Prince Abdallah, and the hysterics of the Empress, if the fugitives were not recovered.
The palace of the Emperor of Morocco was still resounding with the cries of anguish of the sufferer, when the news arrived that both dog and horse had been found again. Aline was surprised in the company of some mastiffs, very respectable people, but which were not quite suitable for her, as a lady of the court; and Emir, after having tired himself by running, found the sweet grass upon the green meadows by the brook Tara more to his taste than the Imperial oats; just as the fatigued princely hunter who has lost his way whilst hunting forgets all dainties of his table while he is eating black bread and butter in the peasant's cottage.
Muley Ismael now demanded from Abner an explanation of his conduct, and the latter was now able, although somewhat late, to justify himself, which he did, after having touched the ground before his Highness' throne with his forehead, in the following words: "Most mighty Emperor, King of kings, ruler of the West, star of justice,
mirror of Truth, depth of wisdom, glittering like gold, and sparkling like the diamond, hard as iron, listen to me while your slave is permitted to lift up his voice before your beaming countenance. I swear by the gods of my ancestors, by Moses and the Prophets, that I have not seen with my eyes, either your blessed horse, or, the Gracious Empress's amiable dog. But listen how the matter occurred.
"I was walking, in order to refresh myself after the day's toil and labour, thinking of nothing, in the little wood where I had the honour to meet his Excellency the matser of the horse, and his Vigilance the black overseer of thy blessed liarem; I then perceived in the soft sand amongst the palm trees the impressions of an animal's foot; I, to whom the foot-prints of animals are very well known, immediately recognised them to be those of a little dog; fine long extended furrows ran over the little mounds of the sandy ground amongst the foot-prints; it is a bitch, I said to myself, and has tits hanging down; and had puppies not long ago; other traces near the forefeet, where the sand appears to have been drifted slightly, showed me that the animal had long, handsome drooping ears; and as I noticed how in longer spaces the sand had been thrown up, I thought the little bitch has a beautiful long-haired tail, which must look like a plume, and it has pleased her to beat the sand with it at times, I also did not fail to notice, that one paw was always making a less deep impression in the sand: it was obvious therefore to me, that the bitch of the most Gracious Lady, if I am permitted to say so, limps a little.
"As regards your Highness's horse, let me tell you that my attention was called to the marks of a horse's hoof, as I was walking on one of the pathways of the wood. No sooner had I noticed the elegant little hoof, the faint and yet bright glitter, I said within myself: A horse must have been here from Ischenner's breed, which is the noblest breed of all. It is hardly four months ago, that my Most Gracious Emperor sold to a Prince in Franksland a whole herd of this breed, and my brother Reuben was present when they struck the bargain, and my Most Gracious Emperor gained by it so and so much. And when I saw
that the marks were so far and at such an equal distance from each other, I could not help thinking it gallops very splendidly, and only my Emperor is worthy to possess such an animal, and I thought of the war-horse, of which it is written in the book of Job: It stamps upon the ground, rejoices in its strength, and goes to meet the warrior; it mocks at fear and is not terrified or flees before the sword, although the quiver resounds, and both spear and lance glitter.' I stooped, as I saw something glittering on the ground, as I always do, and behold, it was a pebble, on which the shoe of the racing horse had marked a line, and I recognised that it must have shoes made of fourteen carat silver; I know the mark of any metal, be it genuine or base. The avenue of trees through which I walked was seven feet wide, and here and there I saw the dust brushed off the palm leaves; The horse has fought with his tail,' I said, and it is three and a half feet in length;' underneath the trees, the tops of which were about five feet from the ground, I saw fresh leaves knocked off, which must have been rubbed off by his back in passing swiftly; that would be a horse of fifteen hands in height; and behold, there were under the same trees little tufts of hair, glittering like gold, and therefore it was a yellowdun horse! just as I stepped out of the bushes I noticed a mark of gold on a rock; this mark,' I said to myself, 'I ought to know,' and what do you think it was? A flintstone was pressed into the rock, and a gold mark as fine as a hair was upon it, such a one as the little man with the bundle of files on the foxes of the seven United Provinces of Holland is unable to draw finer or clearer. This mark must have been made by the bridle-bit of the runaway horse, which it rubbed against this rock in bounding past. Your sublime love of splendour is well known, King of kings, and it is equally well known that the least valuable of your horses would be ashamed to bite any other bit than a golden one. Thus the affair had happened, and if
Well, by Mecca and Medina ! exclaimed Muley Ishmael, "that is what I call eyes; and such eyes would not hurt you, Master of the hounds, for they would save you a pack of bloodhounds; you, chief of the police, would
be able to see farther with them than all your sergeants and spies! Well, Philistine, we will treat you leniently in consideration of your great acuteness, which has pleased us so well; the fifty strokes, which you have received in full, are worth fifty sequins, for they save you fifty; for you have only to pay now for fifty moro. Take out your purse, and refrain for the future from mocking our imperial property; you may, however, count upon our goodwill.
The whole Court admired Abner's gagacity, for his Majesty had sworn that he was a clever fellow; but this did not pay him for his sufferings, nor console him for his precious sequins. Whilst he was taking one after the other in a groaning and sighing manner out of his purse, and weighing every one on his finger ends before he parted with it, he was further mocked by Schnuri, the Imperial Jester, who asked him whether all his sequins had proved genuine on the flintstone on which the yellow dun horse of the Prince Abdallah had tried its bit. "Your wisdom has reaped renown to-day," he said; "but I would lay a wager for another fifty sequins you would have much preferred to have kept quiet. But what says the Prophet? No carriage overtakes a word once uttered, although it were harnessed with four fleet horses.. Also no greyhound 'overtakes it, Mr. Abner, even when it does not limp."
Not long after this painful occurrence Abner was again taking a walk one day in one of the green valleys amongst the slopes of Atlas. It happened just as before that he was overtaken by a troop of armed men, and the captain called out to him: "Ha! my good friend, did you not see Goro, the Emperor's black body-guardsman, run past? He has escaped, and must have gone this way to get amongst the mountains.”
“I regret I have not seen him, General," replied Abner. "Ah! are you not the cunning Jew who did not see the horse or dog? Do not make any excuses; the slave must have come this way; can you not yet smell the odour of his perspiration in the air? Do you not see the traces of the fugitive's feet in the long grass? Tell me; must catch that slave; he is quite an expert in shooting
sparrows with the pea-shooter, and this is his Majesty's favourite occupation for whiling away his time. Speak! or I shall have you immediately put in irons."
"It is impossible for me to say that I have seen a thing when I have not."
"Jew, for the last time I ask you: where has the slave gone? Think of the soles of your feet; think of your sequins!"
Oh, dear me! Well, if you insist that I must have seen the sparrow-shooter, run yonder; and if he is not there will find him elsewhere.'
"Then you have seen him?" roared the soldier.
Very well, then, Mr. Officer. Yes, I have seen him, if you will have it so.'
The soldiers hastily pursued the direction pointed out to them. Abner, however, delighted at his artfulness, went home. Scarcely however had he become four-andtwenty hours older when a troop of the sentries of the palace came into his house and defiled it, for it was the Sabbath-day, and dragged him into the presence of the Emperor of Morocco.
Dog of a Jew," growled the Emperor at him, "do you dare to send on a wrong track into the mountains imperial servants who are in pursuit of a fugitive slave, whilst the fugitive hastens to the sea-shore, and nearly escapes on a Spanish ship? Seize him, soldiers! give him a hundred lashes upon the soles of his feet, and let him pay a hundred sequins; and the more the soles swell from the blows, the more his purse shall suffer for it!
You are aware, O Master, that in the Empire of Fez and Morocco people execute justice quickly, and therefore poor Abner was beaten and fined, without his consent being asked first. He however cursed his fate, which had condemned him to this, that the soles of his feet and his purse had to suffer as often as his Majesty had lost something. When he limped out of the hall, muttering and sighing, amid the laughter of the rude palace people, the Jester Schnuri said to him: "Be satisfied, Abner, ungrateful Abner; do you not consider it a great honour that every loss our gracious Emperor, whom may God preserve, suffers, also causes you deep pain? But if you