The Baldwin Library
I II I I Ilr %
FTA. RIMO. TA- SEMPER
"THE WONDER CLOCK" PEPPER AND SALT"
"MEN OF IRON" ETC.
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
THE WORKS OF HOWARD PYLE.
Illustrated by the A lthor.
THE WONDER CLOCK. Square 8vo, Half Leather,
PEPPER AND SALT. 4to, Cloth, Ornamental, $2 oo.
MEN OF IRON. 8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $2 oo.
THE ROSE OF PARADISE. Post 8vo, Cloth, Orna-
mental, $r 25; Paper, 50 cents.
A MODERN ALADDIN. Post 8vo, Cloth, Orna-
mental, $x 25.
PUBLISHED Bv HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.
i' For sale by all booksellers, or will be sent by the
publishers to any fart of the United States, Canada,
or lIexico, on receipt of price.
Copyright, 1894, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rihits reserved.
Table of Contents.
INTRODUCTION . . .
THE STOOL OF FORTUNE .. ..
THE TALISMAN OF SOLOMON .
ILL-LUCK AND THE FIDDLER .
EMPTY BOTTLES . . .
GOOD GIFTS AND A FOOL'S FOLLY
THE GOOD OF A FEW WORDS .
WOMAN'S WIT .
A PIECE OF GOOD LUCK . .
THE FRUIT OF HAPPINESS .
NOT A PIN TO CHOOSE . ..
MUCH SHALL HAVE MORE AND LITTLE
LESS . . .
WISDOM'S WAGES AND FOLLY'S PAY . 313
THE ENCHANTED ISLAND . . 337
ALL THINGS ARE AS FATE WILLS. . 365
WHERE TO LAY THE BLAME . . 387
THE SALT OF LIFE .. . 405
SFOUND myself in Twilzhzt Land.
How I ever got there I cannot tell,
but there I was in Twilight Land.
What is Twilight Land? It is a
wonderful, wonderful place where no sun shines
to scorch your back as you jog along the way,
where no rain falls to make the road muddy and
hard to travel, where no wind blows the dust into
your eyes or the chill into your marrow. Where
all is sweet and quiet and ready to go to bed.
Where is Twilight Land? Ah! that I can-
not tell, you. You will either have to ask your
mother or find it for yourself
There I was in Twilight Land. The birds
Were singing their good-night song, and the little
frogs were piping "peet, peet." The sky overhead
was full of still brightness, and the moon in tke
east hung in the purple gray lzke a great bubble
as yellow as gold. All the air was full of the
smell of growing things. The high-road was
gray, and the trees were dark.
I drifted along the road as a soaf-bubble floats
before the wind, or as a body foats in a dream. I
floated along and I foated along past the trees,
past the bushes, fast the mill-pond, past the mill
where the old miller stood at the door looking
I floated on, and there was the Inn, and it was
the Szgn of Mother Goose.
The sign hung on a pole, and on it was painted
a picture of Mother Goose with her gray gander.
It was to the Inn I wished to come.
I foated on, and I would have floated past the
Inn, and perhaps have gotten into the Land of
Never- Come-Back-Again, only I caught at the
branch of an apple-tree, and so I stopped myself,
though the apple-blossoms came falling down like
pink and white snowflakes.
The earth and the air and the sky were all still,
just as it is at twilight, and I heard them laugh-
ing and talking in the taf-room of the Inn of the
Sign of Mother Goose-the clinking of glasses, and
the rattling and clatter of knives and forks and
plates and dishes. That was where I wished to go.
So in I went. Mother Goose herself opened the
door, and there I was.
The room was all full of twilight; but there
they sat, every one of them. I did not count them,
but there were ever so many: Aladdin, and Ali
Baba, and Fortunatis, and Jack-the-Giant-Killer,
and Doctor Faustus, and Bidpai, and Cinderella,
and Patient Grizzle, and the Soldier who cheated
the Devil, and St. George, and Hans in Luck, who
traded and traded his lump of gold until he had
only an empty churn to show for it ; and there
was Sindbad the Sailor, and the Tailor who killed
seven flies at a blow, and the Fisherman who
fished up the Genie, and the Lad who fiddled for
the Jew in the bramble-bush, and the Blacksmith
who made Death sit in his apple-tree, and Boots,
who always marries the Princess, whether he
wants to or not-a rag-tag lot as ever you saw in
your life, gathered from every place, and brought
together in Twilight Land.
Each one of them was telling a story, and now
it was the turn of the Soldier who cheated the
I WILL tell you," said the Soldier who cheat-
ed the Devil, a story of a friend of mine."
Take a fresh pipe of tobacco," said St. George.
Thank you, I will," said the Soldier who cheat-
ed the Devil.
He filed his long pipe full of tobacco, and then
he tilted it upside down and sucked in the light of
Pzf7f! puff! p !ff and a cloud of smoke went
up about his head, so that you could just see his
red nose shining through it, and his bright eyes
twinkling in the midst of the smoke-wreath, like
two stars through a thin cloud on a summer night.
I'll tel you," said the Soldier who cheated the
Devil, the story of a friend of mine. 'Tis every
word of it just as true as that I myself cheated the
He took a drink from his mug of beer, and then
'Tis called," said he-
Stool of Fortune
ONCE upon a time
there came a soldier
marching along the road,
j ^ kicking up a little cloud
of dust at each step -as
strapping and merry and
bright-eyed a fellow as you
7 would wish to see in a sum-
mer day. Tramp! tramp!
S tramp! he marched, whist-
ling as he jogged along,
though he carried a heavy
musket over his shoulder
and though the sun shone
hot and strong and there
) was never a tree in sight to
7 give him a bit of shelter.
At last he came in sight
of the King's Town and to a great field of stocks
and stones, and there sat a little old man as
withered and brown as a dead leaf, and clad all
in scarlet from head to foot.
Ho! soldier," said he, "are you a good shot ?"
Aye," said the soldier, that is my trade."
Would you like to earn a dollar by shooting
off your musket for me ?"
"Aye," said the soldier, "that is my trade
Very well, then," said the little man in red,
"here is a silver button to drop into your gun in-
stead of a bullet. Wait you here, and about sun-
set there will come a great black bird flying. In
one claw it carries a feather cap and in the other
a round stone. Shoot me the silver button at
that bird, and if your aim is good it will drop the
feather cap and the pebble. Bring them to me
to the great town-gate and I will pay you a dol-
lar for your trouble."
Very well," said the soldier, shooting my gun
is a job that fits me like an old coat." So, down
he sat and the old man went his way.
Well, there he sat and sat and sat and sat until
the sun touched the rim of the ground, and then,
just as the old man said, there came flying a great
black bird as silent as night. The soldier did not
tarry to look or to think. As the bird flew by up
came the gun to his shoulder, squint went his eye
along the barrel-Puff Bang !-
I vow and declare that if the shot he fired had
cracked the sky he could not have been more
frightened. The great black bird gave a yell so
terrible that it curdled the very blood in his veins
and made his hair stand upon end. Away it flew
like a flash- a bird no longer, but a great, black
demon, smoking and smelling most horribly of
brimstone, and when the soldier gathered his wits,
there lay the feather cap and a little, round, black
stone upon the ground.
Well," said the soldier, it is little wonder that
the old man had no liking to shoot at such game
as that." And thereupon he popped the feather
cap into one pocket and the round stone into an-
other, and shouldering his musket marched away
until he reached the town-gate, and there was the
old man waiting for him.
Did you shoot the bird ?" said he.
I did," said the soldier.
"And did you get the cap and the round
Then here is your dollar."
Wait a bit," said the soldier, I shot greater
game that time than I bargained for, and so it's
ten dollars and not one you shall pay me before
you lay finger upon the feather cap and the
Very well," said the old man, here are ten
Ho! ho!" thought the soldier, "is that the
way the wind blows ?"-" Did I say ten dollars ?"
said he; "'twas a hundred dollars I meant."
At that the old man frowned until his eyes
shone green. Very well," said he, "if it is a
hundred dollars you want, you will have to come
home with me, for I have not so much with me.
Thereupon he entered the town with the soldier
at his heels.
Up one street he went and down another, un-
til at last he came to a great, black, ancient, ram-
shackle house; and that was where he lived. In
he walked without so much as a rap at the door,
and so led the way to a great room with furnaces
and books and bottles and jars and dust and cob-
webs, and three grinning skulls upon the mantel-
piece, each with a candle stuck atop of it, and
there he left the soldier while he went to get the
The soldier sat him down upon a three-legged
stool in the corner and began staring about him;
and he liked the looks of the place as little as any
he had seen in all of his life, for it smelled musty
and dusty, it did: the three skulls grinned at him,
and he began to think that the little old man
was no better than he should be. I wish," says
.'l he, at last, that in-
/" stead of being here
I might be well out
of my scrape and in
a safe place."
Now the little old
man in scarlet was a
great magician, and
there was little or
nothing in that
i/ \ house that had not
/ some magic about
/it, and of all things
stool had been con-
jured the most.
,/" I wish that instead of being
here I might be well out of my
7 scrape, and in a safe place."
That was what the soldier said;
and hardly had the words left
his lips when-whisk! whir!-
away flew the stool through the window, so sud-
denly that the soldier had only just time enough
to gripe it tight by the legs to save himself from
falling. Whir! whiz!-away it flew like a bullet.
Up and up it went-so high in the air that the
earth below looked like a black blanket spread
out in the night; and then down it came again,
with the soldier still griping tight to the legs,
until at last it settled as light as a feather upon a
balcony of the king's palace; and when the soldier
caught his wind again he found himself without
a hat, and with hardly any wits in his head.
There he sat upon the stool for a long time
without daring to move, for he did not know what
might happen to him next. There he sat and sat,
and by-and-by his ears got cold in the night air,
and then he noticed for the first time that he had
lost his head gear, and bethought himself of the
feather cap in his pocket. So out he drew it and
clapped it upon his head, and then-lo and be-
hold!-he found he had become as invisible as
thin air-not a shred or a hair of him could be
seen. Well!" said he, "here is another wonder,
but I am safe now at any rate." And up he got
to find some place not so cool as where he sat.
He stepped in at an open window, and there
he found himself in a beautiful room, hung with
cloth of silver and blue, and with chairs and
tables of white and gold; dozens and scores of
waxlights shone like so many stars, and lit every
crack and cranny as bright as day, and there at
one end of the room upon a couch, with her eye-
lids closed and fast asleep, lay the prettiest prin-
cess that ever the sun shone upon. The soldier
stood and looked and looked at her, and looked
and looked at her, until his heart melted within
him like soft butter, and then he kissed her.
Who is that ?" said the princess, starting up,
wide-awake, but not a soul could she see, because
the soldier had the feather cap upon his head.
Who is that ?" said she again; and then the
soldier answered, but without taking the feather
cap from his head.
"It is I," said he, "and I am King of the
Wind, and ten times greater than the greatest of
kings here below. One day I saw you walking
in your garden and fell in love with you, and
now I have come to ask you if you will marry
me and be my wife ?"
But how can I marry you ?" said the princess,
"without seeing you ?"
You shall see me," said the soldier, "all in
good time. Three days from now I will come
again, and will show myself to you, but just now
it cannot be. But if I come, will you marry me?"
"Yes I will," said the princess, "for I like the
way you talk-that I do !"
Thereupon the soldier kissed her and said
good-bye, and then stepped out of the window as
he had stepped in. He sat him down upon his
three-legged stool. I wish," said he, to be car-
ried to such and such a tavern." For he had
been in that town before, and knew the places
where good living was to be had.
Whir! whiz! Away flew the stool as high
and higher than it had flown before, and then
down it came again, and down and down until it
lit as light as a feather in the street before the
tavern door. The soldier tucked his feather cap
in his pocket, and the three-legged stool under
his arm, and in he went and ordered a pot of
beer and some white bread and cheese.
Meantime, at the king's palace was such a
gossiping and such a hubbub as had not been
heard there for many a day; for the pretty prin-
cess was not slow in telling how the invisible
King of the Wind had come and asked her to
marry him; and some said it was true and some
said it was not true, and everybody wondered
and talked, and told their own notions of the
matter. But all agreed that three days would
show whether what had been told was true or no.
As for the soldier, he knew no more how to do
what he had promised to do than my grand-
mother's cat; for where was he to get clothes
fine enough for the King of the Wind to wear?
So there he sat on his three-legged stool think-
ing and thinking, and if he had known all that I
know he would not have given two turns of his
wit upon it. I wish," says he, at last-" I wish
that this stool could help me now as well as it
can carry me through the sky. I wish," says he,
" that I had a suit of clothes such as the King of
the Wind might really wear."
The wonders of the three legged stool were
Hardly had the words left the soldier's lips
when down came something tumbling about his
ears from up in the air; and what should it be
but just such a suit of clothes as he had in his
mind-all crusted over with gold and silver and
Well," says the soldier, as soon as he had got
over his wonder again, I would rather sit upon
this stool than any I ever saw." And so would
I, if I had been in his place, and had a few
minutes to think of all that I wanted.
So he found out the trick of the stool, and
after that wishing and having were easy enough,
and by the time the three days were ended the
real King of the Wind himself could not have
cut a finer figure. Then down sat the soldier
upon his stool, and wished himself at the king's
palace. Away he flew through the air, and by-and-
by there he was, just where he had been before.
He put his feather cap upon his head, and
stepped in through the window, and there he
found the princess with her father, the king, and
her mother, the queen, and all the great lords and
nobles waiting for his coming; but never a stitch
nor a hair did they see of him until he stood in
the very midst of them all. Then he whipped the
feather cap off of his head, and there he was, shin-
ing with silver and gold and glistening with jew-
els-such a sight as man's eyes never saw before.
Take her," said the king, "she is yours." And
the soldier looked so handsome in his fine clothes
that the princess was as glad to hear those words
as any she had ever listened to in all of her life.
You shall," said the king, be married to-mor-
Very well," said the soldier. Only give me
a plot of ground to build a palace upon that shall
be fit for the wife of the King of the Wind to
You shall have it," said the king, and it shall
be the great parade ground back of the palace,
which is so wide and long that all my army can
march round and round in it without getting into
its own way; and that ought to be big enough."
Yes," said the soldier, it is." Thereupon he
put on his feather cap and disappeared from the
sight of all as quickly as one might snuff out a
He mounted his three-legged stool and away
he flew through the air until he had come again
to the tavern where he was lodging. There he
sat him down and began to churn his thoughts,
and the butter he made was worth the having, I
can tell you. He wished for a grand palace of
white marble, and then he wished for all sorts of
things to fill it-the finest that could be had.
Then he wished for servants in clothes of gold
and silver, and then he wished for fine horses and
gilded coaches. Then he wished for gardens and
orchards and lawns and flower-plats and foun-
tains, and all kinds and sorts of things, until the
sweat ran down his face from hard thinking and
wishing. And as he thought and wished, all the
things he thought and wished for grew up like
soap-bubbles from nothing at all.
Then, when day began to break, he wished him-
self with his fine clothes to be in the palace that
his own wits had made, and away he flew through
the air until he had come there safe and sound.
But when the sun rose and shone down upon
the beautiful palace and all the gardens and or-
chards around it, the king and queen and all the
court stood dumb with wonder at the sight.
Then, as they stood staring, the gates opened and
out came the soldier riding in his gilded coach
with his servants in silver and gold marching be-
side him, and such a sight the daylight never
looked upon before that day.
Well, the princess and the soldier were married,
and if no couple had ever been happy in the
world before, they were then. Nothing was heard
but feasting and merrymaking, and at night all
the sky was lit with fireworks. Such a wedding
had never been before, and all the world was glad
that it had happened.
That is, all the world but one; that one was
the old man dressed in scarlet that the soldier
had met when he first came to town. While all
the rest were in the hubbub of rejoicing, he put
on his thinking-cap, and by-and-by began to see
pretty well how things lay, and that, as they say in
our town, there was a fly in the milk-jug. Ho,
ho !" thought he, so the soldier has found out
all about the three-legged stool, has he ? Well, I
will just put a spoke into his wheel for him." And
so he began to watch for his chance to do the
soldier an ill turn.
Now, a week or two after the wedding, and after
all the gay doings had ended, a grand hunt was
declared, and the king and his new son-in-law
and all the court went to it. That was just
such a chance as the old magician had been
waiting for; so the night before the hunting-
party returned he climbed the walls of the gar-
den, and so came to the wonderful palace that
the soldier had built out of nothing at all, and
there stood three men keeping guard so that no
one might enter.
But little that troubled the magician. He be-
gan to mutter spells and strange words, and all
of a sudden he was gone, and in his place was a
great black ant, for he had changed himself into
an ant. In he ran through a crack of the door
(and mischief has got into many a man's house
through a smaller hole for the matter of that).
In and out ran the ant through one room and an-
other, and up and down and here and there, until
at last in a far-away part of the magic palace he
found the three-legged stool, and if I had been in
the soldier's place I would have chopped it up
into kindling-wood after I had gotten all that I
wanted. But there it was, and in an instant the
magician resumed his own shape. Down he sat
him upon the stool. "I wish," said he, "that this
palace and the princess and all who are within it,
together with its orchards and its lawns and its
gardens and everything, may be removed to such
and such a country, upon the other side of the
And as the stool had obeyed the soldier, so
everything was done now just as the magician
The next morning back came the hunting-
party, and as they rode over the hill lo and be-
hold!- there lay stretched out the great parade
ground in which the king's armies used to march
around and around, and the land was as bare as
the palm of my hand. Not a stick or a stone of
the palace was left; not a leaf or a blade of the
orchards or gardens was to be seen.
The soldier sat as dumb as a fish, and the
king stared with eyes and mouth wide open.
" Where is the palace, and where is my daugh-
ter ?" said he, at last, finding words and wit.
I do not know," said the soldier.
The king's face grew as black as thunder.
"You do not know?" he said, "then you must
find out. Seize the traitor !" he cried.
But that was easier said than done, for, quick
as a wink, as they came to lay hold of him, the
soldier whisked the feather cap from his pocket
and clapped it upon his head, and then they
might as well have hoped to find the south wind
in winter as to find him.
But though he got safe away from that trouble
he was deep enough in the dumps, you may be
sure of that. Away he went, out into the wide
world, leaving that town behind him. Away he
went, until by-and-by he came to a great forest,
and for three days he travelled on and on-he
knew not whither. On the third night, as he sat
beside a fire which he had built to keep him
warm, he suddenly bethought himself of the little
round stone which had dropped from the bird's
claw, and which he still had in his pocket. Why
should it not also help me," said he, "for there
must be some wonder about it." So he brought
it out, and sat looking at it and looking at it, but
he could make nothing of it for the life of him.
Nevertheless, it might have some wishing power
about it, like the magic stool. I wish," said the
soldier, that I might get out of this scrape."
That is what we have all wished many and many
a time in a like case; but just now it did the
soldier no more good to wish than it does good
for the rest of4 us. Bah !" said he, "it is noth-
ing but a black stone after all." And then he
threw it into the fire.
Puff! Bang! Away flew the embers upon
every side, and back tumbled the soldier, and
there in the middle of the flame stood just such
a grim, black being as he had one time shot at
with the silver button.
As for the poor soldier, he just lay flat on his
back and stared with eyes like saucers, for he
thought that his end had come for sure.
What are my lord's commands ?" said the
being, in a voice that shook the marrow of the
Who are you ?" said the soldier.
I am the spirit of the stone," said the being.
" You have heated it in the flame, and I am here.
Whatever you command I must obey."
Say you so?" cried the soldier, scrambling to
his feet. Very well, then, just carry me to where
I may find my wife and my palace again."
Without a word the spirit of the stone snatch-
ed the soldier up, and flew away with him swifter
than the wind. Over forest, over field, over
mountain and over valley he flew, until at last,
just at the crack of day, he set him down in
front of his own palace gate in the far country
where the magician had transported it.
After that the soldier knew his way quickly
enough. He clapped his feather cap upon his
head and into the palace he went, and from one
room to another, until at last he came to where
the princess sat weeping and wailing, with her
pretty eyes red from long crying.
Then the soldier took off his cap again, and
you may guess what sounds of rejoicing followed.
They sat down beside one another, and after the
soldier had eaten, the princess told him all that
had happened to her; how the magician had
found the stool, and how he had transported the
palace to this far-away land; how he came every
day and begged her to marry him-which she
would rather die than do.
To all this the soldier listened, and when she
had ended her story he bade her to dry her tears,
for, after all, the jug was only cracked, and not
past mending. Then he told her that when the
sorcerer came again that day she should say so
and so and so and so, and that he would be by to
help her with his feather cap upon his head.
After that they sat talking together as happy
as two turtle-doves, until the magician's foot
was heard on the stairs. And then the soldier
clapped his feather cap upon his head just as the
"Snuff, snuff !" said the magician, sniffing the
air, here is a smell of Christian blood."
"Yes," said the princess, "that is so; there
came a peddler to-day, but after all he did not
He'd better not come again," said the magi-
cian, "or it will be the worse for him. But tell
me, will you marry me?"
No," said the princess, I shall not marry
you until you can prove yourself to be a greater
man than my husband."
Pooh!" said the magician, that will be easy
enough to prove; tell me how you would have
me do so and I will do it."
Very well," said the princess, then let me
see you change yourself into a lion. If you can
do that I may perhaps believe you to be as great
as my husband."
It shall," said the magician, be as you say.
He began to mutter spells and strange words,
and then all of a sudden he was gone, and in his
place there stood a lion with bristling mane and
flaming eyes a sight fit of itself to kill a body
"That will do!" cried the princess, quaking
and trembling at the sight, and thereupon the
magician took his own shape again.
Now," said he, do you believe that I am as
great as the poor soldier ?"
"Not yet," said the princess; I have seen
how big you can make yourself, now I wish to
see how little you can become. Let me see you
change yourself into a mouse."
"So be it," said the magician, and began again
to mutter his spells. Then all of a sudden he
was gone just as he was gone before, and in his
place was a little mouse sitting up and looking
at the princess with a pair of eyes like glass
But he did not sit there long. This was what
the soldier had planned for, and all the while he
had been standing by with his feather hat upon
his head. Up he raised his foot, and down he
set it upon the mouse.
Crunch !-that was an end of the magician.
After that all was clear sailing; the soldier
hunted up the three-legged stool and down he
sat upon it, and by dint of no more than just a
little wishing, back flew palace and garden and
all through the air again to the place whence it
I do not know whether the old king ever be-
lieved again that his son-in-law was the King of
the Wind; anyhow, all was peace and friend-
liness thereafter, for when a body can sit upon a
three-legged stool and wish to such good pur-
pose as the soldier wished, a body is just as
good as a king, and a good deal better, to my
THE Soldier who cheated the Devil looked
into his pipe; it was nearly out. He puffed
and puffed and the coal glowed brighter, and
fresh clouds of smoke rolled up into the air.
Little Brown Betty came and refilled, from a
crock of brown foaming ale, the mug which he
had emptied. The Soldier who had cheated the
Devil looked up at her and winked one eye.
"Now," said St. George, "it is the turn of yon-
der old man," and he pointed, as he spoke, with
the stem of his pipe towards old Bidpai, who sat
with closed eyes meditating inside of himself
The old man opened his eyes, the whites of which
were as yellow as saffron, and wrinkled his face
into innumerable cracks and lines. Then he closed
his eyes again; then he opened them again; then
he cleared his throat and began: There was
once upon a time a man whom other men called
Aben Hassen the Wise-"
One moment," said Ali Baba; will you not
tell us what the story is about ?"
Old Bidpai looked at him and stroked his long
white beard. It is," said he, about-
The Talisman of Solomon.
THERE was once
upon a time a man
whom other men called
Aben Hassen the Wise.
He had read a thou-
sand books of magic,
and knew all that the
ancients or moderns
had to tell of the hid-
The King of the De-
mons of the Earth, a
great and hideous mon-
ster, named Zadok, was
his servant, and came
and went as Aben Has-
sen the Wise ordered,
and did as he bade.
After Aben Hassen
learned all that it was
possible for man to know, he said to himself,
"Now I will take my ease and enjoy my life."
So he called the Demon Zadok to him, and said
to the monster, I have read in my books that
there is a treasure that was one time hidden by
the ancient kings of Egypt-a treasure such as
the eyes of man never saw before or since their
day. Is that true ?"
It is true," said the Demon.
"Then I command thee to take me to that
treasure and to show it to me," said Aben Hassen
It shall be done," said the Demon; and there.
upon he caught up the Wise Man and transport-
ed him across mountain and valley, across land
and sea, until he brought him to a country known
as the Land of the Black Isles," where the treas-
ure of the ancient kings was hidden. The Demon
showed the Magician the treasure, and it was a
sight such as man had never looked upon before
or since the days that the dark, ancient ones hid
it. With his treasure Aben Hassen built himself
palaces and gardens and paradises such as the
world never saw before. He lived like an em-
peror, and the fame of his doings rang through
all the four corners of the earth.
Now the queen of the Black Isles was the
most beautiful woman in the world, but she was
as cruel and wicked and cunning as she was
beautiful. No man that looked upon her could
help loving her; for not only was she as beauti-
ful as a dream, but her beauty was of that sort
that it bewitched a man in spite of himself.
One day the queen sent for Aben Hassen the
Wise. Tell me," said she, is it true that men
say of you that you have discovered a hidden
treasure such as the world never saw before?"
And she looked at Aben Hassen so that his wis-
dom all crumbled away like sand, and he became
just as foolish as other men.
Yes," said he, it is true."
Aben Hassen the Wise spent all that day with
the queen, and when he left the palace he was
like a man drunk and dizzy with love. More-
over, he had promised to show the queen the hid-
den treasure the next day.
As Aben Hassen, like a man in a dream, walked
towards his own house, he met an old man stand-
ing at the corner of the street. The old man had
a talisman that hung dangling from a chain, and
which he offered for sale. When Aben Hassen
saw the talisman he knew very well what it was-
that it was the famous talisman of King Solomon
the Wise. If he who possessed the talisman
asked it to speak, it would tell that man both
what to do and what not to do.
The Wise Man bought the talisman for three
pieces of silver (and wisdom has been sold for less
than that many a time), and as soon as he had
the talisman in his hands he hurried home with
it and locked himself in a room.
Tell me," said the Wise Man to the Talisman,
" shall I marry the beautiful queen of the Black
Fly, while there is yet time to escape !" said
the Talisman; but go not near the queen again,
for she seeks to destroy thy life."
But tell me, O Talisman !" said the Wise Man,
"what then shall I do with all that vast treasure
of the kings of Egypt ?"
Fly from it while there is yet chance to es-
cape !" said the Talisman; "but go not into the
treasure house again, for in the farther door,
where thou hast not yet looked, is that which
will destroy him who possesses the treasure."
"But Zadok," said Aben Hassen; "what of
Fly from the monster while there is yet time
to escape," said the Talisman, and have no more
to do with thy Demon slave, for already he is
weaving a net of death and destruction about
The Wise Man sat all that night pondering
and thinking upon what the Talisman had said,
When morning came he washed and dressed him-
self, and called the Demon Zadok to him. Za-
dok," said he, "carry me to the palace of the
queen." In the twinkling of an eye the Demon
transported him to the steps of the palace.
"Zadok," said the Wise Man, give me the staff
of life and death;" and the Demon brought from
under his clothes a wand, one-half of which was
of silver and one-half of which was of gold. The
Wise Man touched the steps of the palace with
the silver end of the staff. Instantly all the sound
and hum of life was hushed. The thread of life
was cut by the knife of silence, and in a moment
all was as still as death.
Zadok," said the Wise Man, transport me to
the treasure-house of the king of Egypt." And
instantly the Demon had transported him thither.
The Wise Man drew a circle upon the earth.
" No one," said he, "shall have power to enter
here but the master of Zadok, the King of the
Demons of the Earth."
And now, Zadok," said he, I command thee
to transport me to India, and as far from here as
thou canst." Instantly the Demon did as he
was commanded; and of all the treasure that he
had, the Wise Man took nothing with him but a
jar of golden money and a jar of silver money.
As soon as the Wise Man stood upon the ground
of India, he drew from beneath his robe a little
jar of glass.
"Zadok," said he, I command thee to enter
Then the Demon knew that now his turn had
come. He besought and implored the Wise Man
to have mercy upon him; but it was all in vain.
Then the Demon roared and bellowed till the
earth shook and the sky grew dark overhead.
But all was of no avail; into the jar he must go,
and into the jar he went. Then the Wise Man
stoppered the jar and sealed it. He wrote an in-
scription of warning upon it, and then he buried
it in the ground.
"Now," said Aben Hassen the Wise to the Tal-
isman of Solomon, have I done everything that
I should ?"
"No," said the Talisman, "thou shouldst not
have brought the jar of golden money and the
jar of silver money with thee; for that which is
evil in the greatest is evil in the least. Thou
fool! The treasure is cursed! cast it all from
thee while there is yet time."
Yes, I will do that, too," said the Wise Man.
So he buried in the earth the jar of gold and the
jar of silver that he had brought with him, and
then he stamped the mould down upon it. After
that the Wise Man began his life all over again.
He bought, and he sold, and he traded, and by-
and-by he became rich. Then he built himself a
great house, and in the foundation he laid the
jar in which the Demon was bottled.
Then he married a young and handsome wife.
By-and-by the wife bore him a son, and then she
This son was the pride of his father's heart;
but he was as vain and foolish as his father was
wise, so that all men called him Aben Hassen
the Fool, as they called the father Aben Hassen
Then one day death came and called the old
man, and he left his son all that belonged to him
-even the Talisman of Solomon.
Young Aben Hassen the Fool had never
seen so much money as now belonged to him.
It seemed to him that there was nothing in the
world he could not enjoy. He found friends by
the dozens and scores, and everybody seemed to
be very fond of him.
He asked no questions of the Talisman of Sol-
omon, for to his mind there was no need of be-
ing both wise and rich. So he began enjoying
himself with his new friends. Day and night
there was feasting and drinking and singing
and dancing and merrymaking and carousing;
and the money that the old man had made by
trading and wise living poured out like water
through a sieve.
Then, one day came an end to all this junket-
ing, and nothing remained to the young spend-
thrift of all the wealth that his father had left
him. Then the officers of the law came down
upon him and seized all that was left of the
fine things, and his fair-weather friends flew
away from his troubles like flies from vinegar.
Then the young man began to think of the
Talisman of Wisdom. For it was with him
as it is with so many of us: When folly has
emptied the platter, wisdom is called in' to pick
Tell me," said the young man to the Talis-
man of Solomon, "what shall I do, now that
everything is gone ?"
Go," said the Talisman of Solomon, and
work as thy father has worked before thee. Ad-
vise with me and become prosperous and con-
tented, but do not go dig under the cherry-tree
in the garden."
Why should I not dig under the cherry-tree
in the garden ?" says the young man; I will see
what is there, at any rate."
So he straightway took a spade and went out
into the garden, where the Talisman had told
him not to go. He dug and dug under the
cherry-tree, and by-and-by his spade struck some-
thing hard. It was a vessel of brass, and it was
full of silver money. Upon the lid of the vessel
were these words, engraved in the handwriting
of the old man who had died:
My son, this vessel full of silver has been
brought from the treasure house of the ancient
kings of Egypt. Take this, then, that thou find-
est; advise with the Talisman; be wise and pros-
And they call that the Talisman of Wisdom,"
said the young man. If I had listened to it I
never would have found this treasure."
The next day he began to spend the money he
had found, and his friends soon gathered around
The vessel of silver money lasted a week, and
then it was all gone; not a single piece was left.
Then the young man bethought himself again
of the Talisman of Solomon. "What shall I do
now," said he, to save myself from ruin ?"
Earn thy bread with honest labor," said the
Talisman, and I will teach thee how to prosper;
but do not dig beneath the fig-tree that stands
by the fountain in the garden."
The young man did not tarry long after he
heard what the Talisman had said. He seized a
spade and hurried away to the fig-tree in the
garden as fast as he could run. He dug and dug,
and by-and-by his spade struck something hard.
It was a copper vessel, and it was filled with gold
money. Upon the lid of the vessel was engraved
these words in the handwriting of the old man
who had gone: "My son, my son," they said,
"thou hast been warned once; be warned again.
The gold money in this vessel has been brought
from the treasure-house of the ancient kings of
Egypt. Take it; be advised by the Talisman of
Solomon; be wise and prosper."
"And to think that if I had listened to the
Talisman, I would never have found this," said
the young man.
The gold in the vessel lasted maybe for a
month of jollity and merrymaking, but at the
end of that time there was nothing left-not a
Tell me," said the young man to the Talis-
man, what shall I do now?"
Thou fool," said the Talisman, go sweat
and toil, but do not go down into the vault be-
neath this house. There in the vault is a red
stone built into the wall. The red stone turns
upon a pivot. Behind the stone is a hollow
space. As thou wouldst save thy life from peril,
go not near it!"
Hear that now," says the young man, "first,
this Talisman told me not to go, and I found sil-
ver. Then it told me not to go, and I found
gold; now it tells me not to go-perhaps I shall
find precious stones enough for a king's ran-
He lit a lantern and went down into the vault
beneath the house. There, as the Talisman had
said, was the red stone built into the wall. He
pressed the stone, and it turned upon its pivot as
the Talisman had said it would turn. Within
was a hollow space, as the Talisman said there
would be. In the hollow space there was a cas-
ket of silver. The young man snatched it up,
and his hands trembled for joy.
Upon the lid of the box were these words in
the father's handwriting, written in letters as red
as blood: Fool, fool! Thou hast been a fool
once, thou hast been a fool twice; be not a fool
for a third time. Restore this casket whence it
was taken, and depart."
I will see what is in the box, at any rate,"
said the young man.
He opened it. There was nothing in it but a
hollow glass jar the size of an egg. The young
man took the jar from the box; it was as hot as
fire. He cried out and let it fall. The jar burst
upon the floor with a crack of thunder; the
house shook and rocked, and the dust flew about
in clouds. Then all was still; and when Aben
Hassen the Fool could see through the cloud of
terror that enveloped him he beheld a great, tall,
hideous being as black as ink, and with eyes that
shone like coals of fire.
When the young man saw that terrible creat-
ure his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth,
and his knees smote together with fear, for he
thought that his end had now certainly come.
"Who are you ?" he croaked, as soon as he
could find his voice.
I am the King of the Demons of the Earth,
and my name is Zadok," answered the being. I
was once thy father's slave, and now I am thine,
thou being his son. When thou speakest I must
obey, and whatever thou commandest me to do
that I must do."
For instance, what can you do for me ?" said
the young man.
I can do whatsoever you ask me; I can make
You can make me rich ?"
Yes, I can make you richer than a king."
Then make me rich as soon as you can," said
Aben Hassen the Fool, "and that is all that I
shall ask of you now."
It shall be done," said the Demon; "spend
all that thou canst spend, and thou shalt always
have more. Has my lord any further commands
for his slave ?"
No," said the young man, there is nothing
more; you may go now."
And thereupon the Demon vanished like a
And to think," said the young man, as he
came up out of the vault-" and to think that all
this I should never have found if I had obeyed
Such riches were never seen in that land as
the young man now possessed. There was no
end to the treasure that poured in upon him.
He lived like an emperor. He built a palace
more splendid than the palace of the king.
He laid out vast gardens of the most exquisite
beauty, in which there were fountains as white
as snow, trees of rare fruit and flowers that filled
all the air with their perfume, summer-houses of
alabaster and ebony.
Every one who visited him was received like a
prince, entertained like a king, given a present fit
for an emperor, and sent away happy. The fame
of all these things went out through all the land,
and every one talked of him and the magnifi-
cence that surrounded him.
It came at last to the ears of the king himself,
and one day he said to his minister, Let us go
and see with our own eyes if all the things re-
ported of this merchant's son are true."
So the king and his minister disguised them-
selves as foreign merchants, and went that even-
ing to the palace where the young man lived. A
servant dressed in clothes of gold and silver cloth
stood at the door, and called to them to come in
and be made welcome. He led them in, and to
a chamber lit with perfumed lamps of gold.
Then six black slaves took them in charge and
led them to a bath of white marble. They were
bathed in perfumed water and dried with towels
of fine linen. When they came forth they were
clad in clothes of cloth of silver, stiff with gold
and jewels. Then twelve handsome white slaves
led them through a vast and splendid hall to a
When they entered they were deafened with
the noise of carousing and merrymaking.
Aben Hassen the Fool sat at the head of the
table upon a throne of gold, with a canopy of gold
above his head. When he saw the king and the
minister enter, he beckoned to them to come and
sit beside him. He showed them special favor be-
cause they were strangers, and special servants
waited upon them.
The king and his minister had never seen any-
thing like what they then saw. They could hard-
ly believe it was not all magic and enchantment.
At the end of the feast each of the guests was
given a present of great value, and was sent
away rejoicing. The king received a pearl as
big as a marble; the minister a cup of wrought
The next morning the king and the prime-
minister were talking over what they had seen.
" Sire," said the prime-minister, I have no doubt
but that the young man has discovered some vast
hidden treasure. Now, according to the laws of
this kingdom, the half of any treasure that is dis-
covered shall belong to the king's treasury. If I
were in your place I would send for this young
man and compel him to tell me whence comes all
this vast wealth."
"That is true," said the king; "I had not
thought of that before. The young man shall
tell me all about it."
So they sent a royal guard and brought the
young man to the king's palace. When the
young man saw in the king and the prime-min-
ister his guests of the night before, whom he had
thought to be only foreign merchants, he fell on
his face and kissed the ground before the throne.
But the king spoke to him kindly, and raised him
up and sat him on the seat beside him. They
talked for a while concerning different things,
and then the king said at last, "Tell me, my
friend, whence comes all the inestimable wealth
that you must possess to allow you to live as
Sire," said the young man, I cannot tell you
whence it comes. I can only tell you that it is
given to me."
The king frowned. "You cannot tell," said
he; "you must tell. It is for that that I have
sent for you, and you must tell me."
Then the young man began to be frightened.
" I beseech you," said he, do not ask me whence
it comes. I cannot tell you."
Then the king's brows grew as black as thun-
der. What!" cried he, "do you dare to bandy
words with me ? I know that you have discov-
ered some treasure. Tell me upon the instant
where it is; for the half of it, by the laws of the
land, belongs to me, and I will have it."
At the king's words Aben Hassen the Fool
fell on his knees. Sire," said he, I will tell
you all the truth. There is a demon named Za-
dok-a monster as black as a coal. He is my
slave, and it is he that brings me all the treasure
that I enjoy." The king thought nothing else
than that Aben Hassen the Fool was trying to
deceive him. He laughed; he was very angry.
" What," cried he, do you amuse me by such an
absurd and unbelievable tale? Now I am more
than ever sure that you have discovered a treas-
ure and that you wish to keep the knowledge of
it from me, knowing, as you do, that the one-half
of it by law belongs to me. Take him away!"
cried he to his attendants. Give him fifty lashes,
and throw him into prison. He shall stay there
and have fifty lashes every day until he tells me
where his wealth is hidden."
It was done as the king said, and by-and-by
Aben Hassen the Fool lay in the prison, smart-
ing and sore with the whipping he had had.
Then he began again to think of the Talis-
man of Solomon.
"Tell me," said he to the Talisman, "what
shall I do now to help myself in this trouble ?"
Bear thy punishment, thou fool," said the
Talisman. Know that the king will by-and-by
pardon thee and will let thee go. In the mean-
time bear thy punishment; perhaps it will cure
thee of thy folly. Only do not call upon Zadok,
the King of the Demons, in this thy trouble."
The young man smote his hand upon his head.
What a fool I am," said he, not to have thought
to call upon Zadok before this!" Then he called
aloud, "Zadok, Zadok! If thou art indeed my
slave, come hither at my bidding."
In an instant there sounded a rumble as of
thunder. The floor swayed and rocked beneath
the young man's feet. The dust flew in clouds,
and there stood Zadok as black as inlk, and with
eyes that shone like coals of fire.
I have come," said Zadok, and first let me
cure thy smarts, O master."
He removed the cloths from the young man's
back, and rubbed the places that smarted with a
cooling unguent. Instantly the pain and smarting
ceased, and the merchant's son had perfect ease.
Now," said Zadok, what is thy bidding?"
Tell me," said Aben Hassen the Fool,
"whence comes all the wealth that you have
brought me? The king has commanded me to
tell him and I could not, and so he has had me
beaten with fifty lashes."
I bring the treasure," said Zadok, "from the
treasure-house of the ancient kings of Egypt.
That treasure I at one time discovered to your
father, and he, not desiring it himself, hid it in
the earth so that no one might find it."
And where is this treasure-house, O Zadok ?"
said the young man.
It is in the city of the queen of the Black
Isles," said the King of the Demons ; there thy
father lived in a palace of such magnificence
as thou hast never dreamed of. It was I that
brought him thence to this place with one vessel
of gold money and one vessel of silver money."
It was you who brought him here, did you
say, Zadok? Then, tell me, can you take me
from here to the city of the queen of the Black
Isles, whence you brought him ?"
Yes," said Zadok, with ease."
Then," said the young man, I command you
to take me thither instantly, and to show me the
I obey," said Zadok.
He stamped his foot upon the ground. In an
instant the walls of the prison split asunder, and
the sky was above them. The Demon leaped
from the earth, carrying the young man by the
girdle, and flew through the air so swiftly that
the stars appeared to slide away behind them.
In a moment he set the young man again upon
the ground, and Aben Hassen the Fool found
himself at the end of what appeared to be a vast
and splendid garden.
We are now,-' said Zadok, above the treas-
ure-house of which I spoke. It was here that I
saw thy father seal it so that no one but the mas-
ter of Zadok may enter. Thou mayst go in any
time it may please thee, for it is thine."
I would enter into it now," said Aben Hassen
Thou shalt enter," said Zadok. He stooped,
and with his finger-point he drew a circle upon
the ground where they stood; then he stamped
with his heel upon the circle. Instantly the earth
opened, and there appeared a flight of marble
steps leading downward into the earth. Zadok
led the way down the steps and the young man
followed. At the bottom of the steps was a door
of adamant. Upon the door were these words in
letters as black as ink, in the handwriting of the
old man who had gone:
"Oh, fool! fool! Beware what thou doest.
Within here shalt thou find death !"
There was a key of brass in the door. The
King of the Demons turned the key and opened
the door. The young man entered after him.
Aben Hassen the Fool found himself in a vast
vaulted room, lit by the light of a single car-
buncle set in the centre of the dome above. In
the middle of the marble floor was a great basin
twenty paces broad, and filled to the brim with
money such as he had found in the brazen vessel
in the garden.
The young man could not believe what he
saw with his own eyes. Oh, marvel of mar-
vels!" he cried; "little wonder you could give me
boundless wealth from such a storehouse as this."
Zadok laughed. This," said he, is nothing;
come with me."
He led him from this room to another-like it
vaulted, and like it lit by a carbuncle set in the
dome of the roof above. In the middle of the
floor was a basin such as Aben Hassen the Fool
had seen in the other room beyond; only this
was filled with gold as that had been filled with
silver, and the gold was like that he had found in
the garden. When the young man saw this vast
and amazing wealth he stood speechless and
breathless with wonder. The Demon Zadok
laughed. This," said he, is great, but it is lit-
tle. Come and I will show thee a marvel indeed."
He took the young man by the hand and led
him into a third room-vaulted as the other two
had been, lit as they had been by a carbuncle in
the roof above. But when the young man's eyes
saw what was in this third room, he was like
a man turned drunk with wonder. He had to
lean against the wall behind him, for the sight
made him dizzy.
In the middle of the room was such a basin as
he had seen in the two other rooms, only it was
filled with jewels-diamonds and rubies and em-
eralds and sapphires and precious stones of all
kinds-that sparkled and blazed and flamed like
a million stars. Around the wall, and facing the
basin from all sides, stood six golden statues.
Three of them were statues of the kings and
three of them were statues of the queens who had
gathered together all this vast and measureless
wealth of ancient Egypt.
There was space for a seventh' statue, but
where it should have stood was a great arched
door of adamant. The door was tight shut, and
there was neither lock nor key to it. Upon the
door were written these words in letters of flame:
Behold! beyond this door is that alone which
shall satisfy all thy desires."
Tell me, Zadok," said the young man, after
he had filled his soul with all the other wonders
that surrounded him-" tell me what is there that
lies beyond that door ?"
That I am forbidden to tell thee, O master!"
said the King of the Demons of the Earth.
Then open the door for me," said the young
man; "for I cannot open it for myself, as there
is neither lock nor key to it."
"That also I am forbidden to do," said Za-
I wish that I knew what was there," said the
The Demon laughed. Some time," said he,
"thou mayest find for thyself. Come, let us
leave here and go to the palace which thy father
built years ago, and which he left behind him
when he quitted this place for the place in which
thou knewest him."
He led the way and the young man followed;
they passed through the vaulted rooms and out
through the door of adamant, and Zadok locked
it behind them and gave the key to the young
All this is thine now," he said; I give it to
thee as I gave it to thy father. I have shown
thee how to enter, and thou mayst go in when-
ever it pleases thee to do so."
They ascended the steps, and so reached the
garden above. Then Zadok struck his heel upon
the ground, and the earth closed as it had opened.
He led the young man from the spot until they
had come to a wide avenue that led to the palace
beyond. Here I leave thee," said the Demon,
"but if ever thou hast need of me, call and I will
Thereupon he vanished like a flash, leaving the
young man standing like one in a dream.
He saw before him a garden of such splendor
and magnificence as he had never dreamed of
even in his wildest fancy. There were seven foun-
tains as clear as crystal that shot high into the
air and fell back into basins of alabaster. There
was a broad avenue as white as snow, and thou-
sands of lights lit up everything as light as day.
Upon either side of the avenue stood a row of
black slaves, clad in garments of white silk, and
with jewelled turbans upon their heads. Each
held a flaming torch of sandal-wood. Behind the
slaves stood a double row of armed men, and
behind them a great crowd of other slaves and
attendants, dressed each as magnificently as a
prince, blazing and flaming with innumerable
jewels and ornaments of gold.
But of all these things the young man thought
nothing and saw nothing; for at the end of the
marble avenue there arose a palace, the like of
which was not in the four quarters of the earth
-a palace of marble and gold and carmine and
ultramarine-rising into the purple starry sky,
and shining in the moonlight like a vision of
Paradise. The palace was illuminated from top
to bottom and from end to end; the windows
shone like crystal, and from it came sounds of
music and rejoicing.
When the crowd that stood waiting saw the
young man appear, they shouted: "Welcome!
welcome! to the master who has come again!
To Aben Hassen the Fool!"
The young man walked up the avenue of mar-
ble to the palace, surrounded by the armed at-
tendants in their dresses of jewels and gold, and
preceded by dancing-girls as beautiful as houris,
who danced and sung before him. He was dizzy
with joy. All-all this," he exulted, belongs
to me. And to think that if I had listened to the
Talisman of Solomon I would have had none
That was the way he came back to the treasure
of the ancient kings of Egypt, and to the palace
of enchantment that his father had quitted.
For seven months he lived a life of joy and de-
light, surrounded by crowds of courtiers as though
he were a king, and going from pleasure to pleas-
ure without end. Nor had he any fear of an end
coming to it, for he knew that his treasure was
inexhaustible. He made friends with the princes
and nobles of the land. From far and wide peo-
ple came to visit him, and the renown of his mag-
nificence filled all the world. When men would
praise any one they would say, He is as rich,"
or as magnificent," or as generous, as Aben
Hassen the Fool."
So for seven months he lived a life of joy and
delight; then one morning he awakened and
found everything changed to grief and mourn-
ing. Where the day before had been laughter,
to-day was crying. Where the day before had
been mirth, to day was lamentation. All the city
was shrouded in gloom, and everywhere was
weeping and crying.
Seven black slaves stood on guard near
Aben Hassen the Fool as he lay upon his couch.
" What means all this sorrow ?" said he to one of
Instantly all the slaves began howling and
beating their heads, and he to whom the young
man had spoken fell down with his face in the
dust, and lay there twisting and writhing like a
He has asked the question!" howled the
slaves-" he has asked the question !"
"Are you mad ?" cried the young man. What
is the matter with you ?"
At the doorway of the room stood a beautiful
female slave, bearing in her hands a jewelled basin
of gold, filled with rose-water, and a fine linen
napkin for the young man to wash and dry his
hands upon. Tell me," said the young man,
" what means all this sorrow and lamentation ?"
Instantly the beautiful slave dropped the gold-
en basin upon the stone floor, and began shriek-
ing and tearing her clothes. He has asked the
question!" she screamed -" he has asked the
The young man began to grow frightened; he
arose from his couch, and with uneven steps went
out into the anteroom. There he found his
chamberlain waiting for him with a crowd of at-
tendants and courtiers. Tell me," said Aben
Hassen the Fool, why are you all so sorrow-
Instantly they who stood waiting began cry-
ing and tearing their clothes and beating their
hands. As for the chamberlain-he was a rever-
end old man-his eyes sparkled with anger, and
his fingers twitched as though he would have
struck if he had dared. What," he cried, "art
thou not contented with all thou hast and with
all that we do for thee without asking the forbid-
den question ?"
Thereupon he tore his cap from his head and
flung it upon the ground, and began beating him-
self violently upon the head with great outcrying.
Aben Hassen the Fool, not knowing what to
think or what was to happen, ran back into the
bedroom again. I think everybody in this place
has gone mad," said he. Nevertheless, if I do
not find out what it all means, I shall go mad
Then he bethought himself, for the first time
since he came to that land, of the Talisman of
Tell me, O Talisman," said he, "why all these
people weep and wail so continuously ?"
Rest content," said the Talisman of Solomon,
" with knowing that which concerns thine own
self, and seek not to find an answer that will be
to thine own undoing. Be thou also further ad-
vised: do not question the Demon Zadok."
Fool that I am," said the young man, stamp-
ing his foot; "here am I wasting all this time
when, if I had but thought of Zadok at first, he
would have told me all. Then he called aloud,
Zadok: Zadoki Zadok!"
Instantly the ground shook beneath his feet,
the dust rose in clouds, and there stood Zadok as
black as ink, and with eyes that shone like fire.
Tell me," said the young man; I command
thee to tell me, O Zadok! why are the people all
gone mad this morning, and why do they weep
and wail, and why do they go crazy when I do
but ask them why they are so afflicted ?"
"I will tell thee," said Zadok. "Seven-and-
thirty years ago there was a queen over this land
-the most beautiful that ever was seen. Thy
father, who was the wisest and most cunning ma-
gician in the world, turned her into stone, and
with her all the attendants in her palace. No one
since that time has been permitted to enter the
palace-it is forbidden for any one even to ask a
question concerning it; but every year, on the
day on which the queen was turned to stone, the
whole land mourns with weeping and wailing.
And now thou knowest all!"
"What you tell me," said the young man,
" passes wonder. But tell me further, O Zadok,
is it possible for me to see this queen whom my
father turned to stone ?"
Nothing is easier," said Zadok.
Then," said the young man, I command you
to take me to where she is, so that I may see her
with mine own eyes."
I hear and obey," said the Demon.
He seized the young man by the girdle, and
in an instant flew away with him to a hanging-
garden that lay before the queen's palace.
"Thou art the first man," said Zadok, "who
has seen what thou art about to see for seven-
and-thirty years. Come, I will show thee a queen,
the most beautiful that the eyes of man ever
He led the way, and the young man followed,
filled with wonder and astonishment. Not a
sound was to be heard, not a thing moved, but
silence hung like a veil between the earth and
Following the Demon, the young man ascend-
ed a flight of steps, and so entered the vestibule
of the palace. There stood guards in armor of
brass and silver and gold. But they were with-
out life-they were all of stone as white as ala-
baster. Thence they passed through room after
room and apartment after apartment crowded
with courtiers and nobles and lords in their robes
of office, magnificent beyond fancying, but each
silent and motionless-each a stone as white as
alabaster. At last they entered an apartment in
the very centre of the palace. There sat seven-
and-forty female attendants around a couch of
purple and gold. Each of the seven-and-forty
was beautiful beyond what the young man could
have believed possible, and each was clad in a
garment of silk as white as snow, embroidered
with threads of silver and studded with glistening
diamonds. But each sat silent and motionless-
each was a stone as white as alabaster.
Upon the couch in the centre of the apartment
reclined a queen with a crown of gold upon her
head. She lay there motionless, still. She was
cold and dead-of stone as white as marble.
The young man approached and looked into her
face, and when he looked his breath became faint
and his heart grew soft within him like wax in
a flame of fire.
He sighed; he melted; the tears burst from
his eyes and ran down his cheeks. "Zadok !" he
cried-" Zadok! Zadok! What have you done to
show me this wonder of beauty and love Alas!
that I have seen her; for the world is nothing
to me now. O Zadok 1 that she were flesh and
blood, instead of cold stone! Tell me, Zadok, I
command you to tell me, was she once really
alive as I am alive, and did my father truly turn
her to stone as she lies here ?"
"She was really alive as thou art alive, and
he did truly transform her to this stone,"' said
And tell me," said the young man, can she
never become alive again ?"
She can become alive, and it lies with you
to make her alive," said the Demon. Listen,
O master. Thy father possessed a wand, half of
silver and half of gold. Whatsoever he touched
with silver became converted to stone, such as
thou seest all around thee here; but whatso-
ever, O master, he touched with the gold, it be-
came alive, even if it were a dead stone."
Tell me, Zadok," cried the young man; I
command you to tell me, where is that wand of
silver and gold ?"
I have it with me," said Zadok.
"Then give it to me; I command you to give
it to me."
"I hear and obey," said Zadok. He drew
from his girdle a wand, half of gold and half of
silver, as he spoke, and gave it to the young
Thou mayst go now, Zadok," said the young
man, trembling with eagerness.
Zadok laughed and vanished. The young man
stood for a while looking down at the beautiful
figure of alabaster. Then he touched the lips
with the golden tip of the wand. In an instant
there came a marvellous change. He saw the
stone melt, and begin to grow flexible and soft.
He saw it become warm, and the cheeks and lips
grow red with life. Meantime a murmur had
begun to rise all through the palace. It grew
louder and louder-it became a shout. The fig-
ure of the queen that had been stone opened its
Who are you ?" it said.
Aben Hassen the Fool fell upon his knees. "I
am he who was sent to bring you to life," he
said. My father turned you to cold stone, and
I -I have brought you back to warm life
The queen smiled-her teeth sparkled like
pearls. If you have brought me to life, then I
am yours," she said, and she kissed him upon
He grew suddenly dizzy; the world swam be-
fore his eyes.
For seven days nothing was heard in the town
but rejoicing and joy. The young man lived in
a golden cloud of delight. And to think," said
he, if I had listened to that accursed Talisman
of Solomon, called 'The Wise,' all this happiness,
this ecstasy that is now mine, would have been
lost to me."
Tell me, beloved," said the queen, upon the
morning of the seventh day-"thy father once
possessed all the hidden treasure of the ancient
kings of Egypt-tell me, is it now thine as it
was once his?"
Yes," said the young man, it is now all mine
as it was once all his."
"And do you really love me as you say?"
Yes," said the young man, and ten thousand
times more than I say."
Then, as you love me, I beg one boon of you.
It is that you show me this treasure of which I
have heard so much, and which we are to enjoy
The young man was drunk with happiness.
" Thou shalt see it all," said he.
Then, for the first time, the Talisman spoke
without being questioned. Fool!" it cried; "wilt
thou not be advised ?"
Be silent," said the young man. Six times,
vile thing, you would have betrayed me. Six
times you would have deprived me of joys that
should have been mine, and each was greater
than that which went before. Shall I now listen
the seventh time ? Now," said he to the queen,
" I will show you our treasure." He called aloud,
" Zadok, Zadok, Zadok!"
Instantly the ground shook beneath their feet,
the dust rose in clouds, and Zadok appeared, as
black as ink, and with eyes that shone like coals
"I command you," said the young man, to
carry the queen and myself to the garden where
my treasure lies hidden."
Zadok laughed aloud. I hear thee and obey
thee, master," said he.
He seized the queen and the young man by
the girdle, and in an instant transported them to
the garden and to the treasure-house.
Thou art where thou commandest to be," said
The young man immediately drew a circle upon
the ground with his finger-tip. He struck his heel
upon the circle. The ground opened, disclosing
the steps leading downward. The young man
descended the steps with the queen behind him,
and behind them both came the Demon Zadok.
The young man opened the door of adamant
and entered the first of the vaulted rooms.
When the queen saw the huge basin full of
silver treasure, her cheeks and her forehead
flushed as red as fire.
They went into the next room, and when the
queen saw the basin of gold her face turned as
white as ashes.
They went into the third room, and when the
queen saw the basin of jewels and the six golden
statues her face turned as blue as lead, and her
eyes shone green like a snake's.
"Are you content?" asked the young man.
The queen looked about her. No!" cried she,
hoarsely, pointing to the closed door that had
never been opened, and whereon were engraved
"Behold! Beyond this door is that alone which
shall satisfy all thy desires."
No!" cried she. What is it that lies behind
I do not know," said the young man.
Then open the door, and let me see what lies
I cannot open the door," said he. How can
I open the door, seeing that there is no lock nor
key to it ?"
"If thou dost not open the door," said the
queen, all is over between thee and me. So
do as I bid thee, or leave me forever."
They had both forgotten that the Demon Za-
dok was there. Then the young man bethought
himself of the Talisman of Solomon. Tell me,
O Talisman," said he, how shall I open yonder
Oh, wretched one !" cried the Talisman, oh,
wretched one! fly while there is yet time-fly, for
thy doom is near! Do not push the door open,
for it is not locked !"
The young man struck his head with his
clinched fist. "What a fool am I!" he cried.
" Will I never learn wisdom ? Here have I been
coming to this place seven months, and have
never yet thought to try whether yonder door
was locked or not!"
Open the door!" cried the queen.
They went forward together. The young man
pushed the door with his hand. It opened swiftly
and silently, and they entered.
Within was a narrow room as red as blood.
A flaming lamp hung from the ceiling above.
The young man stood as though turned to stone,
for there stood a gigantic Black Demon with a
napkin wrapped around his loins and a scimitar
in his right hand, the blade of which gleamed like
lightning in the flame of the lamp. Before him
lay a basket filled with sawdust.
When the queen saw what she saw she
screamed in a loud voice, Thou hast found it!
thou hast found it! Thou hast found what alone
can satisfy all thy desires! Strike, O slave!"
The young man heard the Demon Zadok give
a yell of laughter. He saw a whirl and a flash,
and then he knew nothing.
The Black had struck-the blade had fallen,
and the head of Aben Hassen the Fool rolled into
the basket of sawdust that stood waiting for it.
"A YE, aye," said St. George, and so it should
end. For what was your Aben Hassen the Fool
but a heathen Paniem? Thus should the heads
of all the like be chopped off from their shoulders.
Is there not some one here to tell us a fair story
about a saint?"
For the matter of that," said the Lad who fid-
dled when the Jew was in the bramble-bush-"for
the matter of that I know a very good story that
begins about a saint and a hazel-nut.
Say you so?" said St. George. Well, let us
have it. But stay, friend, thou hast no ale in thy
pot. Wilt thou not let me pay for having it
That," said the Lad who fddled when the
Jew was in the bramble- bush, "may be as you
please, Sir Knight; and, to tell the truth, I will
be mightily glad for a drop to moisten my throat
But," said Fortunatus, "you have not told us
what the story is to be about."
It is," said the Lad who fddled for the Jew in
the bramble-bush, about-
and the Fiddler.
ONCE upon a time St. Nich-
olas came down into the world
to take a peep at the old place
and see how things looked in
the spring-time. On he stepped
along the road to the town
where he used to live, for he
had a notion to find out whether
things were going on nowadays
as they one time did. By-and-
by he came to a cross-road, and
who should he see sitting there
but Ill-Luck himself. Ill-Luck's
face was as gray as ashes, and
his hair as white as snow-for he
is as old as Grandfather Adam
-and two great wings grew out
of his shoulders-for he flies
fast and comes quickly to those
whom he visits, does Ill-Luck.
Now, St. Nicholas had a pocketful of hazel-
nuts, which he kept cracking and eating as he
trudged along the road, and just then he came
upon one with a worm-hole in it. When he saw
Ill-Luck it came into his head to do a good turn
to poor sorrowful man.
Good-morning, Ill-Luck," says he.
Good-morning, St. Nicholas," says Ill-Luck.
You look as hale and strong as ever," says
Ah, yes," says Ill-Luck, I find plenty to do
in this world of woe."
They tell me," says St. Nicholas, that you
can go wherever you choose, even if it be through
a key-hole; now, is that so ?"
Yes," says Ill-Luck, it is."
"Well, look now, friend," says St. Nicholas,
" could you go into this hazel-nut if you chose
Yes," says Ill-Luck, I could indeed."
"I should like to see you," says St. Nicholas;
"for then I should be of a mind to believe what
people say of you."
"Well," says Ill-Luck, I have not much time
to be pottering and playing upon Jack's fiddle;
but to oblige an old friend"- thereupon he made
himself small and smaller, and-phst! he was in
the nut before you could wink.
Then what do you think St. Nicholas did? In
his hand he held a little plug of wood, and no
sooner had Ill-Luck entered the nut than he
stuck the plug in the hole, and there was man's
enemy as tight as a fly in a bottle.
So!" says St. Nicholas, that's a piece of work
well done." Then he tossed the hazel-nut under
the roots of an oak-tree near by, and went his
And that is how this story begins.
Well, the hazel-nut lay and lay and lay, and all
the time that it lay there nobody met with ill-
luck; but, one day, who should come travelling
that way but a rogue of a Fiddler, with his fiddle
under his arm. The day was warm, and he was
tired; so down he sat under the shade of the oak-
tree to rest his legs. By-and-by he heard a little
shrill voice piping and crying, Let me out! let
me out! let me out!"
The Fiddler looked up and down, but he could
see nobody. Who are you?" says he.
"I am Ill-Luck! Let me out! let me out!"
"Let you out?" says the Fiddler. "Not I; if
you are bottled up here it is the better for all of
us;" and, so saying, he tucked his fiddle under his
arm and off he marched.
But before he had gone six steps he stopped.
He was one of your peering, prying sort, and
liked more than a little to know all that was to
be known about this or that or the other thing
that he chanced to see or hear. I wonder where
Ill-Luck can be, to be in such a tight place as he
seems to be caught in," says he to himself; and
back he came again. "Where are you, Ill-Luck ?"
"Here I am," says Ill-Luck-"here in this
hazel-nut, under the roots of the oak-tree."
Thereupon the Fiddler laid aside his fiddle and
bow, and fell to poking and prying under the
roots until he found the nut. Then he began
twisting and turning it in his fingers, looking
first on one side and then on the other, and all
the while Ill-Luck kept crying, Let me out! let
It was not long before the Fiddler found the
little wooden plug, and then nothing would do
but he must take a peep inside the nut to see if
Ill-Luck was really there. So he picked and
pulled at the wooden plug, until at last out it
came; and-phst! pop out came Ill-Luck along
Plague take the Fiddler! say I.
Listen," says Ill-Luck. It has been many a
long day that I have been in that hazel-nut, and
you are the man that has let me out; for once in
a way I will do a good turn to a poor human
body." Therewith, and without giving the Fiddler
time to speak a word, Ill-Luck caught him up by
the belt, and-whiz! away he flew like a bullet,
over hill and over valley, over moor and over
mountain, so fast that not enough wind was left
in the Fiddler's stomach to say Bo!"
By-and-by he came to a garden, and there he
let the Fiddler drop on the soft grass below.
Then away he flew to attend to other matters
of greater need.
When the Fiddler had gathered his wits to-
gether, and himself to his feet, he saw that he
lay in a beautiful garden of flowers and fruit-
trees and marble walks and what not, and that at
the end of it stood a great, splendid house, all
built of white marble, with a fountain in front,
and peacocks strutting about on the lawn.
Well, the Fiddler smoothed down his hair and
brushed his clothes a bit, and off he went to see
what was to be seen at the grand house at the
end of the garden.
He entered the door, and nobody said no to
him. Then he passed through one room after
another, and each was finer than the one he left
behind. Many servants stood around; but they
only bowed, and never asked whence he came.
At last he came to a room where a little old man
sat at a table. The table was spread with a feast
that smelled so good that it brought tears to the
Fiddler's eyes and water to his mouth, and all the
plates were of pure gold. The little old man sat
alone, but another place was spread, as though he
were expecting some one. As the Fiddler came
in the little old man nodded and smiled. "Wel-
come !" he cried; and have you come at last?"
Yes," said the Fiddler, I have. It was Ill-
Luck that brought me."
"Nay," said the little old man, "do not say
that. Sit down to the table and eat; and when
I have told you all, you will say it was not Ill-
Luck, but Good-Luck, that brought you."
The Fiddler had his own mind about that;
but, all the same, down he sat at the table, and
fell to with knife and fork at the good things, as
though he had not had a bite to eat for a week
I am the richest man in the world," says the
little old man, after a while.
I am glad to hear it," says the Fiddler.
"You may well be," said the old man, "for I
am all alone in the world, and without wifeor
child. And this morning I said to myself that
the first body that came to my house I would
take for a son-or a daughter, as the case might
be. You are the first, and so you shall live with
me as long as I live, and after I am gone every-
thing that I have shall be yours."
The Fiddler did nothing but stare with open
eyes and mouth, as though he would never shut
Well, the Fiddler lived with the old man for
maybe three or four days as snug and happy a
life as ever a mouse passed in a green cheese.
As for the gold and silver and jewels-why, they
were as plentiful in that house as dust in a mill!
Everything the Fiddler wanted came to his hand.
He lived high, and slept soft and warm, and
never knew what it was to want either more or
less, or great or small. In all of those three or
four days he did nothing but enjoy himself with
might and main.
But by-and-by he began to wonder where all
the good things came from. Then, before long,
he fell to pestering the old man with questions
about the matter.
At first the old man put him off with short an-
swers, but the Fiddler was a master-hand at find-
ing out anything that he wanted to know. He
dinned and drummed and worried until flesh and
blood could stand it no longer. So at last the
old man said that he would show him the treas-
ure-house where all his wealth came from, and at
that the Fiddler was tickled beyond measure.
The old man took a key from behind the door
and led him out into the garden. There in a
corner by the wall was a great trap-door of iron.
The old man fitted the key to the lock and
turned it. He lifted the door, and then went
down a steep flight of stone steps, and the Fiddler
followed close at his heels. Down below it was
as light as day, for in the centre of the room
hung a great lamp that shone with a bright light
and lit up all the place as bright as day. In the
floor were set three great basins of marble: one
was nearly full of silver, one of gold, and one of
gems of all sorts.
"All this is mine," said the old man," and
after I am gone it shall be yours. It was left to
me as I will leave it to you, and in the meantime
you may come and go as you choose and fill
your pockets whenever you wish to. But there
is one thing you must not do: you must never
open that door yonder at the back of the room.
Should you do so, Ill Luck will be sure to over-
Oh no! The Fiddler would never think of do-
ing such a thing as opening the door. The silver
and gold and jewels were enough for him. But
since the old man had given him leave, he would
just help himself to a few of the fine things. So
he stuffed his pockets full, and then he followed
the old man up the steps and out into the sun-
It took him maybe an hour to count all the
money and jewels he had brought up with him.
After he had done that, he began to wonder what
was inside of the little door at the back of the
room. First he wondered; then he began to
grow curious; then he began to itch and tingle
and burn as though fifty thousand I-want-to-know
nettles were sticking into him from top to toe.
At last he could stand it no longer. I'll just
go down yonder," says he, "and peep through
the key -hole; perhaps I can see what is there
without opening the door."
So down he took the key,
and off he marched to the
S garden. He opened the
trap-door, and went down the
steep steps to the room be-
low. There was the door at
the end of the room, but
when he came to look there
was no key hole to it.
Pshaw!" said he, "here is
a pretty state of affairs.
Tut! tut! tut! Well, since I
have come so far, it would be
a pity to turn back without
seeing more." So he opened
Sthe door and peeped in.
Pooh !" said the Fiddler,
"there's nothing there, after
all," and he opened the door wide.
Before him was a great long passageway, and
at the far end of it he could see a spark of light
as though the sun were shining there. He lis-
tened, and after a while he heard a sound like
the waves beating on the shore. Well," says
he, this is the most curious thing I have seen
for a long time. Since I have come so far, I
may as well see the end df it." So he entered
the passageway, and closed the door behind him.
He went on and on, and the spark of light
kept growing larger and larger, and by-and-by-
pop! out he came at the other end of the pas-
Sure enough, there he stood on the sea-shore,
with the waves beating and dashing on the rocks.
He stood looking and wondering to find himself
in such a place, when all of a sudden something
came with a whiz and a rush and caught him by
the belt, and away he flew like a bullet.
By-and-by he managed to screw his head
around and look up, and there it was Ill-Luck
that had him. I thought so," said the Fiddler;
and then he gave over kicking.
Well; on and on they flew, over hill and valley,
over moor and mountain, until they came to
another garden, and there Ill-Luck let the Fiddler
Swash! Down he fell into the top of an
apple-tree, and there he hung in the branches.
It was the garden of a royal castle, and all had
been weeping and woe (though they were begin-
ning now to pick up their smiles again), and this
was the reason why:
The king of that country had died, and no one
was left behind him but the queen. But she was
a prize, for not only was the kingdom hers, but
she was as young as a spring apple and as pretty
as a picture; so that there was no end of those
who would have liked to have had her, each man
for his own. Even that day there were three
princes at the castle, each one wanting the queen
to marry him; and the wrangling and bickering
and squabbling that was going on was enough to
deafen a body. The poor young queen was tired
to death with it all, and so she had come out into
the garden for a bit of rest; and there she sat
under the shade of an apple-tree, fanning herself
and crying, when-
Swash Down fell the Fiddler into the apple-
tree and down fell a dozen apples, popping and
tumbling about the queen's ears.
The queen looked up and screamed, and the
Fiddler climbed down.
Where did you come from ?" said she.
Oh, Ill-Luck brought me," said the Fiddler.
Nay," said the queen, do not say so. You
fell from heaven, for I saw it with my eyes and
heard it with my ears. I see how it is now. You
were sent hither from heaven to be my husband,
and my husband you shall be. You shall be king
of this country, half-and-half with me as queen,
and shall sit on a throne beside me."
You can guess whether or not that was music
to the Fiddler's ears.
So the princes were sent packing, and the Fid-
dler was married to the
queen, and reigned in that
Well, three or four days
passed, and all was as
sweet and happy as a .
spring day. But at the
end of that time the Fid-
dler began to wonder what
was to be seen in the cas-
tle. The queen was very
fond of him, and was glad
enough to show him all
the fine things that were
to be seen; so hand in
hand they went every-
where, from garret to
But you should
have seen how splen-
did it all was! The
Fiddler felt more cer-
tain than ever that it
was better to be a
king than to be the
richest man in the co
world, and he was -
as glad as glad
could be that Ill-Luck had brought him from the
rich little old man over yonder to this.
So he saw everything in the castle but one
thing. What is behind that door ?" said he.
Ah that," said the queen, you must not ask
or wish to know. Should you open that door
Ill-Luck will be sure to overtake you."
"Pooh!" said the Fiddler, I don't care to know,
anyhow," and off they went, hand in hand.
Yes, that was a very fine thing to say; but be-
fore an hour had gone by the Fiddler's head be-
gan to hum and buzz like a beehive. I don't
believe," said he, there would be a grain of harm
in my peeping inside that door; all the same, I
will not do it. I will just go down and peep
through the key-hole." So off he went to do as
he said; but there was no key-hole to that door,
either. Why, look !" says he, it is just like the
door at the rich man's house over yonder; I
wonder if it is the same inside as outside," and
he opened the door and peeped in. Yes; there
was the long passage and the spark of light at
the far end, as though the sun were shining. He
cocked his head to one side and listened. Yes,"
said he, I think I hear the water rushing, but I
am not sure; I will just go a little farther in and
listen," and so he entered and closed the door
behind him. Well, he went on and on until-