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That his left hand be cut off, his property confiscated, and he himself banished for ever. This was my punishment also, and he asked me to prepare for the painful hour which awaited me. I will not describe to you that terrible hour, when I laid my hand upon the block in the public market place and my own blood shot over me in broad streams.

Valetti took me to his house, until I had recovered; he then most generously supplied me with money for travelling, for all I had acquired with so much difficulty had fallen a prey to the law. I left Florence for Sicily and embarked on the first ship that I found for Constantinople. My hope was fixed upon the sum which I had entrusted to my friend. I also requested to be allowed to live with him. But how great was my astonishment on being asked why I did not wish to live in my own house. He told me that some unknown man had bought a house in the Greek Quarter in my name, and this very man had also told the neighbours of my early arrival. I immediately proceeded thither accompanied by my friend, and was received by all my old acquaintances joyfully. An old merchant gave me a letter, which the man who had bought the house for me had left behind. I read as follows: "Zaleukos! Two hands are prepared to work incessantly, in order that you may not feel the loss of one of yours. The house which you see, and all its contents are yours, and every year you will receive enough to be counted amongst the rich of your people. Forgive him who is unhappier than yourself! I could guess who had written it, and in answer to my question, the merchant told me it had been a man, whom he took for a Frank, and who had worn a scarlet cloak. I knew enough to understand that the stranger was, after all, not entirely devoid of noble intentions. In my new house I found everything arranged in the best style, also a vaulted room stored with goods, more splendid than I had ever had. Ten years have passed since. I still continue my commercial travels, more from old custom than necessity, yet I have never again seen that country where I became so unfortunate. Every year since, I have received a thousand gold pieces; and although I rejoice to know that unfortunate man to be noble, yet he cannot

relieve me of the sorrow of my soul, for the terrible picture of the murdered Bianca is continually on my mind.

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Zaleukos, the Greek merchant, had finished his narrative. The others had listened to him with the utmost sympathy; the stranger particularly seemed to be much affected by it; he had sighed deeply several times, and it appeared to Muley as if he had even shed tears over it. For a long time they discussed the story.

"And do you not hate the unknown man who deprived you so shamefully of so vital a member of your body, and even endangered your life?" asked the stranger.

"Indeed at one time there were hours," replied the Greek, "in which my heart accused him before God for having caused me this grief and destroyed my life's happiness, but I found consolation in the faith of my ancestors, which commands me to love my enemies; perhaps he may be even more unhappy than I am.

"You are a kind man!" said the stranger, and shook the Greek's hand with emotion.

The chief of the watch, however, interrupted them in their conversation. He entered the tent with a serious look, announcing that it was not advisable to rest, for this was the place where caravans were usually attacked, and his sentinels believed they saw several horsemen in the distance.

The merchants were very much terrified at this news. Selim, the stranger, however, was surprised at this perplexity, and thought they were well protected, and that they need not fear a band of Arab robbers.


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Well, sir!" replied the chief of the watch, "If they were merely such rabble, one might lie down in peace, but lately the terrible Orbasan has turned up again, and in that case, one must be on the look out."

The stranger asked who this Orbasan was, whereupon Achmet, the old merchant, answered: "There are many reports amongst the people about this wonderful man. Some regard him as a superhuman being, because he often engages in a fight with five or six men together.

others look upon him as a valiant Frank, whom misfortune has driven here; of all these reports this much is certain, that he is a nefarious robber and thief." "That you cannot maintain," replied Lezah, one of the merchants. Although he may be a robber, yet he is of noble disposition, and as such he has proved himself by the way he treated my brother, as I could tell you. His whole tribe consists of orderly men, and as long as he roams about the desert, no other tribe dares to appear. Besides, he does not rob like others, for he only levies a tax on the caravans, and whosoever pays this willingly may continue his journey safely, for Orbasan is the Master of the desert."

Thus the travellers conversed amongst themselves in the tent; the sentinels, however, who were posted around the encampment, began to grow restless. A considerable number of armed horsemen was seen at a distance of half a league; they seemed to be riding in a straight line towards the encampment. One of the watch therefore went into the tent, in order to announce that very likely they would be attacked. The merchants consulted amongst themselves what was to be done, as to whether they should advance towards them, or await the attack. Achmet, together with the two elder merchants, voted for the latter; the ardent Muley, however, and Zaleukos desired the first, and called the stranger to their aid. The latter calmly pulled out of his girdle a little piece of blue cloth with red stars on it, tied it to a lance, and commanded one of the slaves to hoist it on the tent; he wagered his life, he said, the riders on seeing this sign would pass by quietly.


Muley did not believe in this; the slave, however, hoisted the sign. In the meantime, all who were in the encampment had seized their weapons, and with intense expectation awaited the riders. The latter, however, seemed to have observed the sign on the tent, and suddenly changed their course from towards the camp. They made a wide circuit and passed off on one side.

The travellers were astonished for a few moments, looking now upon the horsemen, now upon the stranger. The latter stood quite indifferently in front of the tent as if nothing had happened, looking over the plain. At last

Muley broke the silence: "Who art thou, mighty stranger," he exclaimed, "whom the wild hordes of the desert so promptly obey?" "You over-estimate my art," replied Selim Baruch, "I learned this sign prior to my escape from my captivity. What it means, I do not know myself, only I know this much that whoever travels with this sign is most powerfully protected."

The merchants thanked the stranger, and called him their deliverer. Indeed the number of riders had been so large, that the caravan would not have long resisted the attack.

They now went to rest with lighter hearts, and as the sun was setting, and the evening breeze passed across the desert, they struck their tents and continued their journey.

On the following day they encamped nearly another day's march before they reached the limit of the desert. When the travellers had again assembled in their great tent, Lezah, one of the merchants, began to speak: "I told you yesterday that the dreaded Orbasan was a noble fellow; allow me to show you this to-day by relating to you the adventures of my brother. My father was Cadi in Acara. He had three children. I was the eldest, my brother and sister were far younger than myself. When I was twenty years old one of my father's brothers sent for me. He appointed me heir to his property, on condition that I remained with him till his death. He reached a very great age, and it is only two years ago, that I returned home, and knew nothing of the serious troubles my people had met with in the meantime, and how kindly Allah had directed all."



My brother Mustapha and my sister Fatme were almost of the same age, the former being only two years older. They loved each other tenderly, and both together contributed to alleviate the burden of our infirm father's

old age. On Fatme's sixteenth birthday my brother gave an entertainment. He invited all her playmates, served them in my father's garden with the choicest meats, and in the evening, he invited them to a trip on the sea in a boat which he had hired and elegantly adorned. Fatme and her playmates agreed with much pleasure; for the evening was fine, and the town, viewed from the sea, afforded a magnificent sight, especially in the evening. The girls were so pleased in the boat that they induced my brother to row farther out to sea. Mustapha hesitated a great deal, because a corsair had made his appearance a few days ago. Not far from the town there was a promontory projecting into the sea, and thither the girls were anxious to go, in order to see the sun setting in the sea. As they were rowing round the promontory they saw at a short distance a bark in which were armed men.

Auguring no good, my brother ordered the rowers to put the boat about, and to row towards the land. Indeed his anxiety seemed to be justified, for the other bark quickly followed my brother's, gained on it, having a greater number of rowers, and always kept between the shore and our bark. The girls, however, on seeing the danger in which they were, jumped up and uttered cries of distress. In vain did Mustapha seek to reassure them; in vain he urged them to remain calm, for their running to and fro would endanger the boat and capsize it. All was in vain, and when the other boat was close upon them they all rushed to the stern of their boat and capsized it. Meanwhile the movements of the strange boat had been observed from the shore, and as the people had a long time harboured anxiety on account of corsairs, this boat had excited their suspicion, and several boats put off from land in order to assist ours. They came just in time to

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