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ECLECTIC SCHOOL READINGS
OLD STORIES OF THE EAST
NEW YORK.:. CINCINNATI :- CHICAGO
AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY
AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY.
STO. OF THE EAST.
W. P. 2.
THERE are few stories which in themselves are more intensely
interesting than those that have come down to us from antiquity
through the medium of the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet they have
been so generally and so exclusively employed for the purpose of
imparting religious instruction, that their purely literary qualities
have not always received the attention which they merit. By
very many persons, grown-up people as well as children, they are
regarded as being inseparably connected with the services of the
Sunday school and the Church, and hence scarcely to be thought
of during the secular days of the week. There is really no good
reason why this should be so. Indeed, there is no good reason
why children in the day schools should not read these old stories
of the East with as much freedom and with as eager zest as they
peruse the classic myths of Greece or the ever-charming tales
with which the world of modern fiction abounds.
In the present volume it has been the aim of the author to
retell these stories from a literary standpoint, and in exactly the
same manner as he would retell other stories pertaining to the
infancy of the human race. He has endeavored to represent
the actors in them as real men and women inhabiting the same
world as ourselves; and, while it has been neither possible nor
desirable to omit frequent allusions to the supernatural, care has
been taken not to trespass on the domain of the religious teacher.
In order the better to carry out this plan, the Hebrew names are
used sparingly, and are often omitted in favor of their English
equivalents. It is believed that this device will not only give to
some of the stories flavor of newness, but that it will in many
instances help the young reader to a readier appreciation of their
While each of the twelve stories in this volume is wholly inde-
pendent of the others, and may be read without any knowledge
of those which precede it, there is nevertheless a continuity from
the first to the last, giving to the collection the completeness of a
single narrative. It comprises, in short, the history of the origin
of the Hebrew race, and of the chief events connected with the
life of that people down to the period of their greatest prosperity.
Whether or not this presentation of the subject may be an
incentive to a closer acquaintance with the matchless volume from
which the stories are derived, has not been a matter of considera-
tion on the part of the writer. His sole aim has been to prepare
a book which all children at school may read with pleasure, both
because of the simple language in which it is written and because
of the conceptions of beauty and truth that are found in the
stories which it contains.
THE GARDEN OF DELIGHT
THE Two BROTHERS .
THE FLOOD OF WATERS .
THE GREAT CHIEF.
I. The Promise
II. The New Name .
III. The Strangers
IV. The Burnt Offering
V. The Faithful Servant
VI. -Beauty and Laughter .
THE MASTER OF THE LAND OF THE NILE.
I. The Dreamer
II. The Journey
III. The Dry Well .
IV. The Caravan
V. The Prison
VI. The Dreams .
VII. The Ten Strangers
VIII. The Little Brother
IX. The Discovery .
THE GREAT LAWGIVER.
I. The King's Daughter
II. The Shepherd
III. The Burning Bush
IV. The Ten Plagues
V. The Long Journey
" THE MAN WHOSE EYES WERE OPEN."
I. The Soothsayer 112
II. The Vision .115
III. The First Mountain .119
IV. The Second Mountain .123
V. The Third Mountain 25
THE BEE AND THE GAZELLE.
I. The Bee 128
II. The Gazelle .132
III. The Song 139
I. The Idol 143
II. The Angel .145
III. The Camp .151
IV. The Flight .155
THE STORY OF SPLENDID SUN.
I. The Wanderers 16o
II. The Stranger 163
III. The Riddle 166
IV. The Foxes. .173
V. The Secret. 18
VI. The Temple 184
A STORY OF HARVEST TIME.
I. The Gleaner .187
II. The Harvest Feast 194
III. The Wedding 196
THE SHEPHERD BOY WHO BECAME KING.
I. The Seer 199
II. The King 202
III. The Giant. 204
IV. The Camp. 206
V. The Sling 210
OLD STORIES OF THE EAST;
THE GARDEN OF DELIGHT.
ONCE there was a Man, and he lived in a wonder-
ful garden. I do not know how large the garden
was, but it was full of beautiful things. Four rivers
flowed through it; and there were many little lakes
and waterfalls, and cool, bubbling springs. All the
finest fruits in the world grew there, and the trees
were full of blossoms, and the ground was covered
with flowers the whole year round: for there was
no winter there,-no snow, nor ice, nor killing
frost; but every day the warm winds blew softly
from the sea, and the mild sun looked down from
the clear blue sky.
The Man had been in the garden ever since he
could remember. The great Master had placed
him there to watch and tend it. For a long time
he was very happy, and he had no thought of any-
thing but of his work and of' the many beautiful
things that were around him. After a while, how-
ever, he began to feel very lonely in that great
garden all by himself. He thought' how much
better it would be if he could only have some one
to talk with, and to help him in his work. He
could not remember that he had ever seen any
human being, and he did not know whether there
were any other men or women in all the world.
But he was very lonely; and the more he thought
about it, the lonelier he became.
One day the Master sent a Woman into the
garden, to live there and to be the Man's wife.
She was very beautiful, -graceful and tall and
fair; and when the Man saw her, he was filled with
wonder and delight. And she was pleased too;
for the Man was noble and strong and brave and
handsome, and all that the Master had told her
about him was true. And so the two lived together
in the garden, and tended and kept it. They had
a care not only for the flowers and fruits, but for
the animals; for among the trees there were many
birds, and all kinds of beasts roamed freely about
Sthe garden. When the Man and the Woman
walked out, every creature was glad to see them.
Lions and tigers, as well as the timid little animals
of the fields, would play before them; and all kinds
of birds would sing in the branches above them.
Everything that lived in the garden was tame
and gentle, and there was nothing that would hurt
any one or make one afraid. There was not even
a thorn or a thistle to be found anywhere.
In the very center of the garden there stood a
wonderful tree that was always full of fine fruit.
The Man and the Woman went often to look at it,
and to sit in its shade; but they did not touch
the beautiful apples that grew upon its branches.
The Master of the garden had told the Man to let
You may eat every other kind of fruit," he said,
"but you must never, never taste these apples."
And then he told the Man what would happen if
he should ever taste them. There was a kind of
poison in them that would change his whole nature.
He would grow tired of his work; he would be-
come restless and ill at ease; he would grumble
and complain; he would make everybody unhappy;
he would frighten the birds, and they would fly
away from him; he would abuse the beasts, and
they would become his enemies; he would neglect
his duty, and thorns and thistles would spring up;
and by and by he would die.
Often when the Man and the Woman looked at
the fruit, they wondered how anything so beautiful
could do so much harm. But whenever the thought
came into their minds that they would like to have
just one taste of it, the Man would shake his head,
and say, "The Master forbids."
Then, hand in hand, they would walk away; and
the birds in the trees would sing as they passed,
and the beasts would dance before them.
There was one cunning Beast, however, that did
not love the Man and Woman. He was a strange
creature, that was never so happy as when plotting
mischief. But in the garden, where everything was
friendly to everything else, he did not dare to do
any harm openly.
One day he met the Woman alone, just after she
had been looking at the beautiful fruit. He knew
that she wanted to taste it.
Do you believe what the Master told you about
those apples? he said.
"Yes," she said; "for the Master planted the
tree, and he knows all about its fruit."
"You are very silly," said the cunning Beast. I
know all about the fruit, and I tell you it will not
hurt you at all."
But why, then, should the Master forbid us to
taste it?" she asked.
He knows that it will make you wise," he said.
" He knows that it will make you like him; and he
wants to keep you poor and ignorant and weak, so
that you will not know how to do anything but tend
and keep his garden."
The fruit really is beautiful," said the Woman;
and she turned and looked at the tree again.
"And it is good, too," said the Beast. "Come,
I'll get one of the apples for you, and you can taste
it. He will never know."
And while the Woman stood and hardly knew
what to do, the Beast ran and pulled one of the
apples from the tree and gave it to her. It seemed
to be prettier than ever, now that it lay in her hand.
She would just take a little taste. It could do no
Ah! but it was so good, that she ate it all up.
Then she thought it would be a great pity if the
Man could not taste of the fruit too; and she went
to the tree and picked the finest apple she could
reach, and ran to give it to him.
It is not true about those apples," she said. I
have eaten one of them, and it hasn't hurt me at all.
And so I have brought you one. Just taste it, and
see how good it is."
"Well, the Master will never know," said the
Man; and he took the apple, and ate it, and thought
it was very good.
A little while after that, the Master came into the
garden to look at things and to talk with the Man
and the Woman; for he very often came in the cool
of the evening, and walked with them among the
flowers, and trees. They heard him calling their
names, and they felt sure that he had found out all
about what they had done. So, instead of answer-
ing him and running to meet him, as they had
always done before, they made haste and hid them-
selves in a thicket of underbrush.
But the Master saw them, and bade them come
out. Then he asked what they had been doing to
make them afraid of him. Of course, they had
to tell him. But the Man tried to put all the
blame on the Woman.
She gave it to me, and I did eat," he said.
And then the Woman tried to excuse herself, and
said that it was the fault of the cunning Beast.
He told me that it would not harm us," she
said. He told me that if we would eat of it, we
should be wise; and when he offered me one of the
apples, it was so beautiful that I could not help but
"But did I not forbid you even to touch the
fruit of the tree?" said the Master. "Did I not
tell you that, if you did so, it would cause grief
and pain and death ? And now, strange to say,
you have chosen to believe this Beast rather than
The Man hung his head, and said not a word;
and the Woman wept.
Then the Master told them what he would do to
punish them. As for the Beast, he was turned into
a serpent, and has crawled on the ground and been
hated by all men ever since. And as for the
Man and the Woman, they were driven out of the
Garden of Delight, and were told that they must
work for their bread all the rest of their days.
Thorns and thistles grew up in their path, and the
birds stopped singing and flew from them in fear,
and the wild beasts snarled at them and slunk away
into the forest. And the Master placed a watch-
man at the gate of the garden, with a sun-bright
sword in his hand, so that nobody could ever go
into it again.
The name of the Man was Adam, and the name
of the Woman was Eve.
THE TWO BROTHERS.
WHEN the Man and the Woman were driven out
of the Garden of Delight, they wandered about for
some time, hardly knowing what to do. The whole
world was before them, and they could go where
they chose; and yet they wanted to stay as near as
they could to the place where they had passed so
many happy days. So at last the Man built a little
hut in a pleasant spot near the bank of a great
river, where the sun shone warm, and the grass
grew tall, and the trees were laden with wild fruits;
and there they lived. The Man dug up the ground,
and sowed seeds, and raised grain; and the Woman
kept the little house, and learned to make clothing
of fig leaves, and afterwards of the skins of animals.
And so one year after another passed by, and in
time the house was full of children, and it was as
much as the Man could do to find food enough for
the many mouths that were always wanting, to be
fed; but the Woman, when she saw the happy,
smiling faces of her boys and girls, and heard their
childish prattle, would not have given them up for
all the joys that she might have had in the Garden
The eldest of the boys was a headstrong fellow,
bold and rash; and when he grew up, he became a
farmer, like his father. The second son was a gen-
tle lad, but, with all his gentleness, so vain that his
mother called him Vanity; and when he grew up
he became a shepherd, and tended sheep on the
It was the custom of the young men to carry
presents now and then to the great Master,-a
custom which their father also observed, and which
they had learned from him. One day they went,
as usual, each with his gift. The Farmer carried
a basket of ripe fruit, yellow and golden, mellow
and sweet. The Shepherd carried two young
lambs, white and spotless as the snow on the
high mountain tops. The Master was pleased
with the lambs; but for some reason-I cannot
tell what-he did not care for the basket of fruit.
The proud heart of the Shepherd was filled with
joy, and I do not know how often he taunted his
elder brother because he had failed to please the
Master. The Farmer was at first grieved, and then
he grew angry; and one day, when they were in the
field together, his wrath was stirred up until he
could hold himself no longer: in a blind fit of rage
he struck his brother a fierce blow, and stretched
him dead upon the ground.
When he saw that the Shepherd did not move
nor speak, he was frightened, and ran and hid him-
self among the trees. But he seemed to see the
white face of his handsome brother always before
him; and he heard a voice, saying, "Where is he? "
"Am I my brother's keeper?" he asked; and he
tried to stop his ears, so that he should not hear
But the voice said, What have you done ? Your
brother's blood cries to me from the ground."
Then the young man knew that it was the
Master's voice; and he covered his face and stood
For this thing which you have done," said the
Master, "you shall wander alone and unfriended
through the land. Even the earth shall be against
you; for when you till the ground, it shall not yield
grain, and the trees shall refuse to bear fruit for
you as in bygone days, and naught that you do shall
Then the young man, in great distress, prayed
the Master that he would somewhat lighten his
punishment. For," said he, "if I go out thus to
wander alone and unfriended through the land, the
first man that meets me will slay me."
So then the Master put a mark upon him to warn
all who saw him that they should do him no harm.
And the youhg man wandered far away intn a
strange land in the distant East. There he made
his home, and there he built a city,--the first city
of which we have any account. But no matter
what he did, the dreadful mark was always upon
him; and he fancied that the air was full of voices,
asking, Where is your brother? Where is your
brother?" Thus he lived unfriended and in dis-
tress all the days of his life.
The name of this farmer was Cain, a word which
in ancient times meant Man; and the name of the
brother whom he slew was Abel, or Vanity.
Three of the great-grandsons of Cain became
men of much renown: one, Jabal, was the founder
of a nation of tent dwellers; one, Jubal, was the
inventor of the harp; and one, Tubal-cain, worked
in iron and brass, and was the most famous smith
of ancient times.
r r-w~- --~r..~- 'a
STO. OF THE EAST -2
THE FLOOD OF WATERS.
IN those very early times people lived much
longer than they live now. Whether it was be-
cause the air was milder, or the water purer, or their
food more simple, I do not know; but it is said
that men often lived to be seven hundred, eight
hundred, and even nine hundred years old; and
one man was nine hundred and sixty-nine years
of age when he died. A person was only in his
prime at five hundred, and the golden days of
childhood and youth must have lasted for at least
You would think that people were very happy in
those days, but they were not. They were quarrel-
ing and fighting among themselves almost all the
time. Those who were powerful and strong op-
pressed those who were feeble and weak. The rich
robbed the poor. Strange cruel men, called giants,
roamed here and there, filling the world with terror.
There was no peace or safety anywhere, but only dis-
tress and fear and dreadful wickedness. It seemed
as if it would have been better had the earth never
In the midst of all this wickedness there was only
one man who was good and true. The name of
this man was Noah, which, in the language of that
ancient time, meant Comfort. Why he was called
by that name I do not know; but perhaps it was
because his ways were so cheery and pleasant, and
his heart so kind and pure. He often told his
neighbors how wrong it was to do as they were
doing, and he warned them that if they did not
change their ways some great disaster would surely
befall them. But they only laughed at him, and
then kept on in their wickedness as before.
At last, when Noah was five hundred years old,
he began to do a thing at which everybody won-
dered. He and his three sons set to work felling
trees in the woods; and when they had cut a great
deal of timber, they hauled it into one place, and
began to shape the logs into posts and beams and
rafters and planks. The neighbors came and looked
on while the men worked, and then they jeered at
"What are you doing?" they asked.
"We are building a boat," said the good man
"Ha, ha!" laughed his neighbors. "Who ever
did so foolish a thing as to build a boat on a hilltop
a hundred miles from the sea? You have lost your
"I have not lost my senses," was the answer.
"The great God whom I worship is angry with
you because of your wickedness, and he is going to
send a great flood of water upon you to destroy you
from the earth. It was he that bade me build this
boat, or ark, that so I and my family may be saved
alive; and you too may be saved if you will only
turn about and live as you ought, and help me in
But they laughed and jeered all the more, and
instead of helping they tried to hinder him.
It took the good man and his sons a long time to
finish the boat, a hundred years, or nearly so. It
was a huge vessel, five hundred feet long and eighty
feet broad. It was three stories high, with one door,
and one window in the side, and the whole was
covered with a roof. When at last it was all ready,
and made water-tight without and within, they began
to store it with food. They put into it not only
provisions for themselves, but a great supply of hay
and grain, and roots and fruit, and eatables of every
sort. Then they went out into the woods and fields,
and brought together all the wild and tame animals
BUT THEY LAUGHED AND JEERED ALL THE MORE.
that could be found, -beasts and fowls and creep-
ing things, two of every kind that lived on the
earth. It was a strange sight to see these creatures
marching up the hill, and going quietly into the
great boat, as if they knew that it was the only safe
place for them. The lions did not quarrel with the
tigers, and the sheep were not afraid of the wolves;
but each one took the place that had been set apart
for it in the ark, and all were as peaceable and kind
as though they were members of the same happy
family. When the last of these creatures had been
safely housed, Noah and his three sons and their
wives, eight persons in all, went up into the ark,
and the door was shut behind them.
Then the rain began to fall in torrents, and the
fountains of the great deep were broken up. For
forty days and forty nights this went on without
stopping, and the sea was filled to overflowing, and
the water covered the land until even the tops of
the mountains were hidden by it. All the people
of the land were drowned, and all the cattle and
wild beasts and creeping things in field or wood
were destroyed. But the great ark floated on the
waters, and the eight good people and the living
creatures that were housed within it were kept
alive and safe.
For five long months the land was covered by the
flood; and those who looked out of the window of
the ark could see nothing but water, water every-
where. At last, however, there came a great wind
which seemed to drive the waters away; and one
day the ark settled on the top of a high mountain
which men call Mount Ararat to this day. But
still the waters sank very slowly, and the people in
the ark dared not open the door, for there was no
place for them to set their feet outside.
After forty days, Noah opened the window and
let a raven fly out; for he wanted to see if the bird
could live outside of the ark. The raven flew back
and forth from one bare mountain crag to another,
but it never came back. By and by Noah sent out
a dove in the same way; but the dove could find
nothing to eat, nor any safe place in which to rest,
and so at last returned to the ark.
A week later, however, when the people looked
out of the window, there was no water in sight.
From the high place where the ark was lying they
could see nothing but bare rocks and rugged peaks
and mountain gorges. They did not know that
the lower slopes were already green with grass, and
that the trees were budding and blossoming as in
the time of spring. But one morning they sent
out the dove again, and in the evening she came
back with an olive branch in her mouth.
"The waters have dried up, and the fields are
beginning to appear," they said.
They staid yet another week in the ark, and then
they sent out the dove for the third time. But she
did not return again; for now all the fields were
dry, and she could find plenty of food and a place
to build her nest. But Noah was not yet ready to
leave the ark.
Wait a while," he said, until the voice of God
shall bid us go forth."
And so, for two months more, they staid in the
great vessel, and knew nothing of what was going
on in the woods and plains below them. But one
day Noah and his sons lifted off the roof of the ark
and looked around; and, at the same time, they
seemed to hear a voice bidding them go forth and
choose homes for themselves in the land which the
great flood had made desolate. Then they opened
wide the door of the ark, and all went out, and made
their way down the steep mountain side to the green
and pleasant plains below; and the beasts and the
fowls and the creeping things went out also, two by
two, and scattered hither and thither over the land.
They had been in the ark just one year.
And when Noah and his family reached the foot
of the mountain, and saw the meadows dotted with
flowers, and the trees already laden with fruit, and
the land lying smiling and fair before them, their
hearts were filled with thankfulness. And they
built an altar of stones, and worshiped the great
God who had blessed them and kept them through
so many perils. And while they worshiped, they
heard a voice, saying, -
I will not again curse the ground for man's sake.
So long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,
and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day
and night, shall not cease."
Then, looking up, they saw a rainbow spanning
It is the bow of promise! they cried.
After that, the three sons of. Noah went out with
their wives into the broad rich valleys that lie on
either side of the great river Euphrates; and there
they built themselves homes. And by and by
many children were born to them, and grandchildren
and great-grandchildren,- so many that the land
was full again of busy people, just as it had been
before the great flood. Then some of the people
journeyed to the East, and built cities for themselves
in the vast plains beyond the snowy mountains.
Some went to the South, and found life easy under
sunny skies, where the trees were always laden with
fruit, and there was no need to toil, or, indeed, to take
any thought for the morrow. Some went to the
North, where the summers were short, and the win-
ters long and cold; and they learned to hunt the
wild beasts in the great woods, or to build rude boats
and sail from place to place along the shore of the
sea. Some went to the West, and herded cattle and
sheep in the green pasture lands that stretched away
and away, even to the Great Sea and the borders of
Arabia the Happy. And some crossed over into the
rich country of the Nile, where the date palm flour-
ished, and bountiful crops of grain were harvested
almost every month in the year. But many still
remained in the valley of the Euphrates.
It was thus that the whole world was peopled
THE GREAT CHIEF.
I. THE PROMISE.
IN the fertile country many miles to the west of
the Euphrates valley there lived a famous Chief
who was very rich. It was not the custom in that
land to build houses or to have any fixed place for
a home; and so this Chief dwelt in tents, and roved
hither and thither, wherever his fancy led him, or
wherever the pastures were greenest, or the water
most plentiful, or his neighbors most kind. Once
he pitched his tents in the wooded valley of the
Jordan, once he dwelt for a year in the treeless
plains of Arabia, and once when there was a great
drought he went down into the Land of the Nile,
and camped under the palm trees in full view of the
King's palace. But among all the lands through
which he had wandered, there was none that seemed
so fair to him as the grassy plains and vine-covered
hills that lay between the sandy desert and the
eastern shore of the Great Sea. Oftentimes when,
in the evening, he stood in the door of his tent and
looked towards the setting sun, he fancied that he
heard a voice, saying, -
"All this loyely land that you see shall be yours,
and your children's, and your children's children's,
forever. Go forth and walk through the land in the
length of it and the breadth of it; for I have prom-
ised it, and will give it unto you."
Then the great Chief would bow his head and
worship and give thanks.
"It is the voice of God," he would say; "and
this land that is so fair and in every way so lovely
is the Promised Land."
And in the early morning he liked to stand by
the eastern door of his tent, and watch the sun as it
rose from the mystic regions far beyond the valley
of the Euphrates. He was now nearly a hundred
years old; but he stood as tall and straight as in
the days of his youth, his eyes were bright and keen,
his step was quick and firm, his voice was clear and
strong. The plain before him was dotted with
flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, and droves of
camels; and in the grove on either side of him were
clusters of tents where lived many busy people, -
serving women, and milkmaids, and shepherds, and
armed men,-whose only thought was to do his
Did I say that the Chief was very rich ? Every-
thing that he could see from the eastern door
of the tent, except the land and the sky, was his
own. Sheep, cattle, camels, tents, even the men
and women and children, belonged to him; for in
those times one man was often the master and
owner of many others; and, as he was always kind
and just and fatherly, nobody complained, and no-
body thought there was anything wrong about it.
The great Chief had not always been a wanderer
and dweller in tents. In his youth he had lived
with his father and his kinsfolk in the valley of the
Euphrates; and it was there that he married his
wife, a dark-eyed beauty whom everybody called the
Princess. But when he was seventy-five years old,
he heard a voice, saying, -
"Get you out from this country, and from your
kindred, and from your father's house, and go west-
ward unto the land that I will show you."
It is the voice of God," he said; and he fell
down to the ground and worshiped. And on the
morrow he gathered together his goods and all his
household, and went forth in search of the Promised
Land. And that was the way in which he became
a roving chieftain in strange lands, and that was
why he liked always to watch the rising sun as it
came up out of its golden palace in the East.
II. THE NEW NAME.
Now, at this time the Chief and the Princess
had no child of their own. But they had with
them a nephew named Lot, who was married and
had a family of fair daughters, and was almost as
rich in flocks and herds as was the Chief himself.
One summer they pitched their tents in the hilly
country to the west of the Jordan; for in the lower
valleys men had built houses and were'tilling the
ground, and on the level plain were two busy cities
called Sodom and Gomorrah. But there was not
much water among the hills; and when the Chief's
herdsmen and Lot's herdsmen met at the wells to
water their cattle, they often quarreled and fought.
So at last the Chief thought that it would be better
for him and his nephew to separate.
"See all this fair country with rich pastures to
the right and the left," he said to Lot. "There
is certainly room enough for both of us. So do
you choose any part of the land that you like best,
and I will take the rest."
And Lot chose the fields that lay in the level
plain, and took a house in Sodom, which was near
by; for he thought that a settled life in town would
be pleasanter than dwelling, first here and then
there, in tents. But the Chief went a little farther
away, and encamped for a time in the grassy plain
of Mamre, close by the hills of Hebron.
One night, as the Chief lay dreaming in his tent,
he was very unhappy because he had no son to
whom he might leave his great riches and the
pleasant land that had been promised to him and
his children forever.
How can this promise come true," he said,
"when I have no children?"
But even while he was complaining, he looked
up at the sky, where millions of stars were twin-
kling; and a voice spoke to him, and said that not
only should a son be born to him, but his people
should in time be more in number than the
starry host above him. The good man wondered
how this could be, and yet he believed and never
It is the voice of God," he said; and he lifted
his hands towards heaven, and worshiped.
And the voice said, Men shall henceforth call
your name Abraham; for that is a word which
means Father of a Multitude, and a father of
nations you shall be."
III. THE STRANGERS.
The summer that the Chief was ninety-nine years
old, a strange and dreadful thing happened.
One hot day he was sitting in the shade of his
tent, looking out over the plain towards the city
where his nephew Lot was living. All at once he
saw three noble strangers standing by the tent
door; and, as they seemed to be travelers from some
distant land, he ran to meet and greet them, as was
the custom of the time. He bowed himself down
before one of them who seemed to be the leader,
Pray do not pass by without resting a little
while. Come and sit down under this tree, and I
will have water brought that you may wash your
feet. And then you shall eat a little and refresh
yourselves before you pass on."
You speak well," said the strangers. Let it
be as you have said." And they sat down under
the tree, as they were bidden.
Then the Chief ran into the women's tent and
said to his wife, Be quick, and knead three meas-
ures of fine meal, and make it into cakes, and bake
them on the hearth; for three strangers are wait-
ing under the tree before the door."
Then he ran into the field and fetched the finest
calf from the herd, and gave it to one of his young
men to kill and roast for his strange guests. And
when it was ready, he took butter and milk and the
hot cakes and the choicest parts of the meat, and set
the food before the strangers who were waiting
under the tree.
"Surely," he whispered to his wife, these are not
common men; for never have I seen any that were
so stately and noble. Their leader must be the
Lord himself, and his two companions are none
other than angels." And then he hastened back to
wait upon them while they ate.
"Where is your wife?" asked one of the stran-
gers, looking around.
Behold, she is in her tent," said the Chief.
The Princess was at that moment standing inside
the door. Ninety years old though she was, she
was as fair and lovely as when the Chief had wooed
her in her girlhood in the valley of the Euphrates,
more than seventy summers before. When the
strangers saw her blushing among the curtains of
the tent, they told the Chief that the son whom
he had waited for so long would be born that very
year. The Princess overheard what they said, and
she laughed, because she did not believe that it
could be so. But her husband, the Chief, said, -
It is the voice of God, and it must be true."
At last the strangers arose, and started to go on
their way; and the Chief took his staff in his hand
and walked across the fields with them. When they
reached the top of the hill and looked towards the
STO. OF THE EAST-3
east, they saw the fair cities of Sodom and Gomor-
rah lying in the midst of the rich plain far below
them; and around the cities were orchards and
vineyards, and fields of ripening grain, and broad
pasture lands where thousands of cattle were
Behold these cities, how beautiful they are!" said
And yet," said the strangers, "they are so wicked
that God will destroy them this very night. We are
even now on our way to see if there is any good
thing in them at all."
Oh, say not so!" cried the Chief, much grieved
at the thought. Surely, God will not let the inno-
cent perish in order that he may punish the doers
Then, while the men walked on down the hill, he
lifted up his hands, and prayed God to spare the
cities of the plain.
Suppose there are fifty good men in the place,
wilt thou not spare it, 0 Lord?" he said.
And the Lord said, "Yes; if I find fifty righteous
men in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their
"Suppose there shall lack five of being fifty, wilt
thou destroy the place for lack of five?" said the
And the Lord said, I will not destroy it if I find
"Suppose forty good men should be found," said
And the Lord said, I will spare it for the sake
"Oh, have patience with me, and do not be
angry!" said the Chief; but suppose there should
be thirty ? "
And the Lord said, "I will not destroy the place
if thirty good men are there."
"Nor if there are twenty ?" said the Chief.
"For the sake of the twenty, I will spare it," was
"Oh, have patience once more!" said the Chief;
"but suppose there are only ten good men among
so many ?"
And the Lord said, "I will spare them all, that so
the ten shall not perish."
Then the Chief turned about, and walked thought-
fully back to his tents. But when the strangers
went down into Sodom, they found only one good
man in all the city, and that was Lot, the nephew
of Abraham. So, after they had warned him and
made him hasten out of danger, there came a
great storm of fire and hail; and the cities were
burned, and the people of the plains destroyed; and
the beautiful valley was filled with salt water, and
became the place of a sea, that is called the Dead
Sea even to this day.
And when Chief Abraham arose in the morning
and looked towards the east, he saw the smoke of
the country going up as the smoke of a furnace;
and- he knew that the cities of the plain were no
IV. THE BURNT OFFERING.
When Chief Abraham was a hundred years old
and his wife ninety-one, the thing came true that
had been so often promised, and a son was born to
them; and they named the boy Laughter, because
his mother had laughed at the thought of such old
people having a child. And there was great joy in
the tents of the Chief, because now there was an
heir who after a while would be the owner of the
flocks and herds, and silver and gold, which the old
man had brought together; and a great feast was
made, to which even the kings of the land were in-
vited, a feast the memory of which has been kept
in mind even to our own day.
And the child grew, and became a fine lad, hand-
some and quick and strong; and his father, rich
though he was, loved and prized him more highly
than all his wealth. One day the thought came
into Chief Abraham's mind that God had given
him everything, and therefore he ought to show his
gratitude by offering his most precious possession
to God. But what was his most precious posses-
sion? Was it not the boy Laughter? And could
he give him up? Yes, he would do anything to
obey the call of duty.
In those times people thought there was only one
way of giving anything to God, and that was to lay
it on an altar, and, after it had been slain, to set fire
to the wood beneath it and burn it to ashes. They
thought, that, as the flames seized upon and removed
it from sight, God took it to himself.
So, when Chief Abraham had become fully per-
suaded of his duty, he made up his mind to offer
the boy Laughter to God. One morning very early
he saddled a donkey, and took with him the boy
and two servants, and set out for a mountain, three
days' journey away, where he had before offered
sacrifices to God. When they came to the foot
of the mountain, he said to his men,-
Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad
will go up alone."
Then he put a bundle of wood for the altar upon
Laughter's shoulders, and took the long knife in
one hand and a fagot of fire in the other; and the
two began to climb the mountain together.
By and by the lad said, My father! "
"What is it, my son? said Chief Abraham.
Here is the wood, and there is the fire," said
the lad; "but where is the lamb for the offer-
My son," said the old man, God will provide
a lamb for the offering."
And the two went on together.
When they came to the top of the mountain,
they built an altar of stones, and laid the wood upon
it. And the Chief bound his son with cords, and
laid him upon the wood on the altar. And he
stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay
the lad. But while his hand was still raised, he
heard a voice that seemed to come out of the sky,
calling him by name.
Here I am," he answered, without looking up.
"Touch not the lad," said the voice. "Now,
indeed, is it clear that you fear the Lord; for you
have not withheld your son, your only son, from
And then the Chief lifted his eyes, and saw, close
by, a ram caught bythe horns in the bushes. And
he quickly loosed Laughter from the cords that
bound him, and then laid the ram on the wood in
his place. And when they had slain the ram,
and burnt it as an offering, the two went down
the mountain together, rejoicing. And after that,
Abraham pitched his tents by the wells of Beer-
sheba, far to the south, near the borders of the
great sandy desert. And there they dwelt many
V. THE FAITHFUL SERVANT.
One morning in early summer Chief Abraham
sat in the door of his tent, and talked with his head
servant, who had the care of all his goods, and
managed all his business. He talked of his old
home, where he had lived as a child and as a young
man, in the far-away valley of the river Euphrates.
He talked of his kinsfolk, who were still in that
eastern country, and whom he had not seen for
now almost fifty years. He talked of his own
wandering life, and of the land flowing with milk
and honey which God had promised to give to his
children and his children's children, to hold as
their own forever.
"And now," he said, "here is my son Laughter,
who was born in this new western land. He has
never seen his father's kindred, nor visited his
father's native place. He is now a man, and he
ought before long to take to himself a wife; for I am
a hundred and twenty-five years old, and soon my
wealth will be his. But I cannot bear to have him
wed any of the rude maidens of this barbarous land.
Not one of them is worthy to be his wife."
"But, my master," said the servant, "some of
them are very beautiful, and they are the daughters
of kings. How can we do better than choose one
of them for the young man? "
I will tell you," said the Chief. We will find
a wife for him among the daughters of my kinsmen
in the valley of the great river where I lived in my
youth. You shall get ready at once, and go and
choose one for him, and bring her hither."
But what if the maiden will not come? said
the servant. Wouldn't it be better for Laughter
to go with me, and choose for himself? For no
maiden can well refuse when she sees -how comely
and fair the young man is."
Not so! cried the Chief. My son shall not
go with you. He might be tempted to make his
home in that country where life is easy. But he
must stay here; for all these rich plains and wooded
hills, as far as you can see from yonder mountain
top, are to be his and his children's forever. The
God whom I worship has promised it. No, you
shall not take him with you."
"But how shall I find the way?" asked the
servant. "The country is far distant, and there
are no roads thither."
"The good angels will go before you, and show
you the way," said the Chief.
And then, if no maiden will come back with me,
what shall I do? said the servant.
Then you shall return, and you will be free from
blame," said the Chief. But do you make ready
and start upon your journey this very day."
Then the servant chose ten of his master's best
camels, and loaded some of them with food for the
long journey, and some of them with rich gifts of
gold and silver and perfumes and beautiful gar-
ments; and while it was yet morning, he set out
across the great plains towards the distant valley of
the river Euphrates. And a company of his master's
trustiest men went with him as guards and helpers.
Much of the way was across broad, trackless
plains, and among rocky hills, where there was no
road nor other pathway; much of the way was over
a barren, sandy desert, where the sun shone hot and
no living thing could be seen. And it was many
weary days before the servant, with his little com-
pany, reached the green valleys, and knew that they
were in the country of his master's kindred. Late
one afternoon he came to a little city, and stopped
outside of the walls by a well of water. It was about
the time of day when the women of the place liked
to come out with their pitchers and draw water for
use in the household. The servant made his camels
lie down about the well; and then he prayed that
the God whom his master worshiped would speed
the day, and show kindness to him, and give him a
sign, that so his tiresome journey might be at an
Behold," he said, "I stand here by the well of
water, and the maidens of the city come out to fill
their pitchers. I will say to the fairest among them,
'Let me drink a little water of thy pitcher;' and if
one of them shall say, Drink, and I will give your
camels drink also,' let that be a sign that she is the
maiden whom I shall choose for Laughter. In that
way I shall know that kindness is shown to my
While he was yet speaking, a fair young girl came
tripping down from the city gate with her pitcher
on her shoulder. As she came nearer, the servant
thought that he had never seen any one so beauti-
ful. And she went down the stone steps into the
well, and came up with her pitcher dripping. And
the servant ran to meet her, and said, -
Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy
And she let down the pitcher upon her hand,
and said, Drink, my lord!" And when he had
drunk as much as he wanted, she said kindly, Now
"LET ME, I PRAY THEE, DRINK A LITTLE WATER !"
I will draw water for your camels, and let them
And she ran and emptied her pitcher into the
trough, and hastened back to the well to draw
more water. And the man stood and watched her,
and wondered if indeed the good angels had shown
him the way, and the God of his master had been
kind to him; for the maiden was so beautiful, and
withal so kind, that he could not think of choosing
any one else to be young Laughter's wife.
When the camels had done drinking, and the girl
had filled her pitcher again with clear, cool water to
carry home, he gave her a golden earring of great
beauty, and two golden bracelets for her wrists. A
shrewd man he was, and he knew right well what
would delight the maiden's heart. Then he asked
her whose daughter she was, and whether there was
room in her father's house for him to lodge there.
She told him both her father's name and her grand-
father's, and said, -
There is room enough in our house for you, and
for all the men that are with you; and we have
plenty of straw and food for your camels."
The servant bowed down, and thanked the God of
his master for the kindness that had been shown
him; for the name of the maiden's grandfather was
that of Chief Abraham's own brother, whom he
had left behind him when he went to the new
western country so long ago, and the servant
knew that he had found his master's kindred.
VI. BEAUTY AND LAUGHTER.
The young girl hastily took up her pitcher again,
and then, carrying it on her shoulder, ran home to
her mother's house in the city. She wanted to
show her mother and her brother the pretty earring
and the bracelets that the stranger had given her.
She hurriedly told them all that had happened to
her at the well; and the whole family crowded
around her to see the beautiful gifts. And when
she had finished her story, her brother ran out to
the well to find the stranger, and lead him to the
Come in, come in!" he said. Why do you
wait outside the walls? Our house is all ready
for you, and we have plenty of food and shelter
for the camels."
Then the servant went with him to the house;
and they took off the packs from the camels' backs,
and gave them straw and food. And the brother
had water brought for the servant and the men
who were with him to wash their feet.
Now come in and eat supper with us," he said.
I will not eat until I have told my errand," said
Tell it," said the maiden's mother, and we will
Then the servant told them who his master was,
and how rich and great he had become in the new
western country where he had gone fifty years
before. And he told them about the young man
whom they called Laughter, and who was to have
all his master's wealth; and how there was no
maiden in all the western land who was good
enough to be the young man's wife; and how the
great Chief had now sent his servant to this his
fatherland to find a wife for Laughter among the
fair daughters of his own kindred.
"And I came this day unto the well," he said,
"and I asked there for a sign; and before I had
done asking, the sign came true. This fair maiden
came out of the city with her pitcher on her
shoulder; and she went down into the well, and
drew water; and I said,' Let me drink, I pray thee! '
And she made haste and let down her pitcher from
her shoulder, and said, 'Drink, and I will give thy
camels drink also!' So I drank, and she made
the camels drink. And I said,' Whose daughter
are you, my fair maiden?' And she told me her
father's name, and her grandfather's. And I knew
that the God of my master had prospered me, and
had led me in the right way to take the grand-
daughter of my master's brother to his son
Laughter. Now, I have told you my errand,
and you know why I am here. Tell me if you
will deal kindly with my master, your kinsman;
for if not, I will go my way, and trouble you no
And the girl's brother and her mother said,
" This thing has been ordered by the God of your
master, and we have no right to speak either good
or bad about it. Here is the maiden herself, the
maiden so rightfully called Beauty. Take her, and
go, and let her be the wife of your master's son,
as your master's God has ordered."
When the servant heard this, he bowed himself
to the ground, and gave thanks. Then he
brought rare jewels of silver and gold, and rich
garments of linen and silk, and gave them to
Beauty, and to her mother and her brother. And
there was a great feast in the house that night,
and the wonderful news was told throughout the
city; and Beauty, clad like a princess, was more
beautiful than any other maiden that had ever been
seen in the green valleys of the Euphrates.
In the morning the servant arose with his men,
"Let me go back now to my master."
But Beauty's mother begged him to let the
maiden stay with her a few days longer, at least
My master's God has prospered me," said the
servant; "and so I beg that you will not hinder,
but let us go at once."
"Well," said the mother, "we will call the
damsel, and ask her."
They called Beauty, and said, Beauty, will
you go with this man to-day ?"
And she said, "Yes, I will go."
So, while they all wept, they blessed her, and
bade her Godspeed.
Thou art our fair sister, so well beloved," they
said. "In the ages to come, may thousands of
millions of people remember thee and think of
thee as their mother, and may thy children and
thy children's children wax great in the earth, and
rule over all their enemies."
And Beauty and her nurse and her waiting
women rode upon the camels, and followed the
servant and his men across the barren desert and
the broad green plains to the rich new country
in the distant West.
At the end of many days they came into a land
where there were great herds of cattle, and flocks
of sheep, and droves of camels; and the servant told
her that all these were only a part of the riches of
his master. And it so happened that Laughter was
walking in the fields in the cool of the evening, and
thinking of many things, but most of his father's
kindred in the far East, and of the servant who had
been sent thither to find him a wife. Suddenly, on
looking up, he saw the ten camels coming across
the plain. They were quite near to him, and he
could see that there were women riding. He won-
dered what kind of wife his father's servant had
brought him; but he could not see her face for the
heavy veil that was over it.
For when Beauty first saw Laughter walking in
the fields, she had asked the servant, What man
is that who is walking this way?" for she was
pleased to see how noble and handsome he seemed.
That is my young master," answered the servant.
Then Beauty was glad, and she covered herself
with her veil. And when she met Laughter, she
alighted from her camel, and Laughter led her to
his mother's tent, where they were wedded; and
when she lifted the veil from her blushing face, and
he saw how wonderfully fair she was, he was very
glad, and he loved her. And Beauty and Laughter
lived long and happily together in their own tent
in the midst of the green plains. And their father,
STO. OF THE EAST-4
Chief Abraham, lived yet fifty years, and died at the
good old age of one hundred and seventy-five.
And Laughter and Beauty had two sons, both of
whom became men of renown. One of them lived
the life of a roving chieftain in the land that borders
the great Arabian desert. His name was Esau,
but he was often called Edom, or the Red, on ac-
count of his ruddy complexion and the color of his
hair; and he gave his name to the narrow sea that
lies between Arabia and the Land of the Nile. The
other son of Laughter and Beauty was a shrewd
man, always skillful in trade, and sure to get the
better of every bargain. After deceiving his father
and greatly wronging his brother, he fled, while still
quite young, to his mother's people in the little city
by the Euphrates. There he married; and there,
by his energy as well as by his craftiness, he became
very rich in sheep and cattle and camels and silver.
Afterwards, when he heard that his father was still
alive, and ready to forgive him, he returned with his
family and his servants, and his flocks and herds, to
the western land where he had. been born. There
he was reconciled with his brother, and there he
won by his uprightness and valor the noble name of
Israel, which in his own language meant the Prince.
In that same language the word for laughter was
Isaac, and the word for beauty was Rebecca.
THE MASTER OF THE LAND OF THE NILE.
I. THE DREAMER.
THERE dwelt in Hebron, at the foot of one of the
grass-covered hills, a rich man, who had gained a
part of his wealth by his shrewdness in trade and
by dealing unfairly with his brother. In his
younger days people had called him Supplanter
(or, in their own language, Jacob), because of his
grasping nature, which seemed to have belonged to
him even from his birth. Later in life, however,
he had become a much better man, and, because
of his uprightness and valor, he had gained for him-
self the title of the Prince (or, in his own tongue,
Israel). When, in his old age, he settled at Hebron,
he was, as I have said, very rich. He had hundreds
and hundreds of sheep and cattle, besides droves of
camels and donkeys; and he had twelve sons.
Ten of his sons were grown-up men, bearded and
tall and strong; but the youngest was a little babe,
and the next to the youngest was a slender lad still
in his teens. The Prince loved this lad more than
all the rest of his children, perhaps because he was
gentle and wise, perhaps because he was the son of
his favorite wife, and had been born to him in his
old age. The older brothers said that the lad was
their father's pet, and they began to hate him, and
seldom spoke kindly to him.
"What do you think I dreamed last night?"
said the lad one day when they were all in the
How do we know? they said. Why should
we care anything for your silly dreams ? "
"Well, I had a very strange dream," he said.
" I dreamed that we were in the harvest field, and
that each one of us had bound up a sheaf of grain.
Then my sheaf stood up in its place, and every one
of your sheaves bowed and fell down to the ground
"What do you mean?" said his brothers. "Do
you mean to say that we shall all bow down to you
some time? We'll see about that."
The next day, when the Prince and his sons were
sitting in the shade of the tent, the lad said, -
I had another dream last night."
You'd better not tell it," said the eldest brother.
But I will tell it," said the lad. I dreamed
that I was a bright star in the sky, and that the sun
and the moon and eleven stars bowed down and
fell on their faces before me."
"Worse and worse!" cried the young men.
"Yesterday you had your brothers falling in the
dust at your feet. Now you want to make believe
that your father and mother will also humble them-
selves before you."
I did not say so," said the lad.
But you meant it," said they. Who is the sun
if it is not our father? and who is the moon if it is
not our mother? and who are the eleven stars of
your dream if they are not your brothers ?"
I never thought of my dream in that way," said
But his brothers were all very angry; and his
father for the first time in his life scolded him
sharply. The lad burst into tears, and ran to hide
himself behind the curtains of the tent.
After that the young men hated him all the
more, and they nicknamed him the Dreamer. But
his father the Prince seemed to love him even
better than before.
II. THE JOURNEY.
That summer there was but little rain, and the
ground was so dry that the grass could not grow.
The fields were no longer green, and the beautiful
hills of Hebron were brown and bare as a desert.
There was not enough pasture there to keep the
herds and flocks alive.
At last the Prince sent his servants away with
the cattle to find some greener spot in the river
valleys far to the north. As for the poor sheep
and lambs, the ten sons undertook to drive them to
the plains of Shechem, fifty miles away. They had
spent a summer at Shechem once before, and had
done some wild and wicked deeds there. They
had even destroyed the little town that stood in
the midst of the fields, and had killed some of the
people; and they knew that now the place was
deserted, and that no one would dispute their right
to pasture their flocks there. They remembered
that there were many springs of water in the fields,
and they felt sure that they would find plenty of
After the men had gone away with the sheep
and cattle, it was very lonely in Hebron. Day after
day passed by, and it was always the same, the
camels and donkeys browsing among the thistles
and shrubs on the hillsides, the women at work in
the tents, the children playing the same games in
the dust and sand, and the hot sun hanging high
in the sky. Once a caravan, or company of mer-
chants, passed by, with a long line of camels and
armed men, carrying goods of all kinds, cloths and
spices and gold, from the far East down into the
rich country of the Nile. Ah, what a great event
that was! Everybody went out to see the wonder-
ful caravan and the wonderful things that were
with it; and the Prince bought many handsome
and curious things for his wives and their servants
and the children.
But after that, the place seemed lonelier than
before, and still no word came from the ten men
who had gone down to the fields of Shechem.
One day the Prince said to the lad, -
I wonder how the boys are getting along with
the sheep, and whether they found the pastures as
green and fresh as they expected! I wish I had
a trusty man that I could spare. I would send him
down to Shechem to find your brothers, and see
whether all is well with them."
Let me go, father! said the boy.
"What!" cried the old man. "Do you think that
I would send you on an errand so far, and alone ?
You are only a boy, and you do not know what dan-
gers you might meet with between here and She-
chem. Wild beasts roam in the woods and among
the hills, and Arab robbers ride over the plains."
"Surely you don't think I am afraid!" said the
lad. "Haven't you often told me of the long
journey which you made when you were a boy no
older than I am, -how you went all alone across
the great plains to the far-off land of the Euphrates?
And do you think that I ought to be afraid to take
this little trip down to Shechem? "
I know you are not afraid," said his father, "and
I do you a wrong to be afraid for you. So get
yourself ready, and set out this very day. See
whether your brothers are well, and whether the
sheep have found good pasture, and then come
home and tell me."
It did not take the boy long to get ready for the
journey. All that he needed to carry was a little
leather pouch with food in it for three days, a
leather bottle full of water, and a pair of light san-
dals, which he would slip on his feet when he had
to cross rough and stony places among the hills.
You may leave your old cloak," said his father.
" This is your birthday, and I have a present for
Then he opened a chest and took from it the
most beautiful coat that the boy had ever seen.
The Prince had bought it of one of the merchants
who had passed with the caravan; and it had been
woven in a strange land in the far-distant East.
0 father!" cried the boy. Is the pretty coat
for me? And may I wear it to Shechem ? "
Certainly it is for you," said his father; and he
threw the rich garment upon the boy's shoulders,
and fastened it at the neck with a silver clasp. It
was richly woven of silk and linen, with threads of
crimson and purple and gold running through it
from top to bottom. At the waist it was held in
by a belt of finest leather buckled with a silver
buckle; and the soft, many-colored folds fell almost
to the boy's knees.
0 father, how beautiful it is, and how kind you
are!" he said, and the tears came into his eyes for
Then he kissed his father and his baby brother,
and waved a good-by to the women and children
who had come out of the tents to admire his coat
and see him start on his journey. His mother was
not among them. She had died a year before, and
her grave was by the roadside in lonely Ephrath,
far over the hills to the north.
Do not fear for me, father," he said; and he
walked briskly away across the brown and barren
May the God of my father and of my father's
father bless thee and keep thee!" said the Prince;
and he stood and watched the boy until he had
passed over the ridge of a distant hill and could
be seen no more.
III. THE DRY WELL.
It was a long and hard journey over the hills
and across the lonely plains. On the third day,
about noon, the lad reached the place where he
expected to find his brothers. There were the
springs of running water and the fields which he
well knew, and on the hillock in their midst were
the ruins of the little town of Shechem; but the
place was deserted and bare, although there were
plenty of signs that there had been sheep and shep-
He ran from one field to another, looking and
calling; but no one answered him; and there was
not a man to be seen anywhere. At last, footsore
and tired and hungry, he sat down on a stone and
wondered what he should do next. He could not
think of going back home and telling his father that
his brothers and the sheep were nowhere to be found.
While he was sitting there, a man came out from
among the ruins on the hilltop and called to him.
"What do you want here, my lad? he said.
I have come to find my brothers and the sheep,"
he answered; "for my father is troubled about them,
and wants very much to learn how they are getting
Then the man told him that the ten brothers, who
called themselves the sons of the Prince, had been
around Shechem nearly all summer, but that they
had gone away only three days before, to look for
fresh pastures for their sheep.
"I-think they must have gone over the hills to
Dothan," said the man; "for I heard them say to
one another, 'Let us go up to Dothan;' and I know
the grass is better there than here."
The lad had never been to Dothan, but the man
told him it was not far, and showed him the shortest
and best way to go; and when he had eaten his
last crumb of bread, and filled his bottle with cool
water from one of the springs, he went on over the
hills as fast as his tired feet would carry him.
Late that afternoon the ten brothers were loung-
ing among the grass on the top of a little knoll,
and watching their sheep which were feeding in
the fields below. Suddenly one of them, who was
called Troop, and who was sharper-sighted than
the rest, sprang to his feet.
"Who is that coming up the road from She-
chem ?" he cried.
The other men jumped up quickly, and looked
towards the place which Troop pointed out. Far
away across the fields they could see some one
coming. They watched him as he drew nearer and
He walks as if in great haste," said the eldest
of the ten, shading his eyes with his hands. He
is some poor fellow who has lost his way, and is
coming to us for help."
"Poor fellow, indeed!" said Troop. "He is
some rich merchant's son who has strayed from a
caravan; for only see what a fine cloak he wears! "
Yes," said a tall, lank fellow whom they called
Judge. That cloak is worth more than a hundred
sheep, and I mean to have it for my own." He
grasped his sheephook in his hands, and was half-
way down the hill when his brothers called to him.
Stay! they cried. It is nobody but our wise
brother, the Dreamer."
"What! father's pet ?" said Judge; and he went
By this time the boy could be plainly seen
making his way across the fields, and waving his
hand to his brothers by way of greeting.
"Only see that fine coat, how it gleams and
sparkles in the rays of the sun said Troop.
Father must have paid a goodly sum for that
rich garment," said another of the brothers.
Yes," said Judge, and we who take care of the
sheep have hardly a coat to our backs."
The young fellow will set himself up for king
now, without doubt," said the youngest of the ten.
" Get yourselves ready, boys, to fall on your knees
before him as soon as he comes to the foot of the
For my part," said Troop, I think we have
had enough of his dreams and his nonsense. I
wish something would happen to him before he
gets back to Hebron."
We might make something happen," muttered
Judge. Father would never know: he would
think that a lion had caught the boy while he
was crossing the hills."
Then they talked together in low tones. But
the eldest of the ten said, Have a care, boys! If
we should hurt the lad, we could never look our
father in the face again. But we might put him
into the dry well down there, and leave him."
This speech seemed to please the others; and
Troop ran down and lifted the flat stone that
covered the mouth of the well, and looked in. But
the eldest brother turned, and walked away.
It was not long until the boy was near enough to
make himself heard.
Hail, my brothers!" he cried. Is it well with
you ? I bring you our father's blessing."
But the nine rude fellows looked at him with
dark and scowling glances, and made no answer
to his kind greeting.
Don't you know me?" he said. Don't you
know your younger brother? I have come all
the way from Hebron to see you; for father was
troubled about you, and wanted to know how you
are getting on."
You are no brother of ours," said Judge. "We
never saw you before."
"You are a spy from our enemies, the robber
Arabs," said Troop. You have come to see how
strong we are; and you will go back and tell your.
friends whether they can overcome us and drive
away our flocks. But you shall not escape us!"
And with that he threw a stone at the boy, while
the others ran down the hill, brandishing their
sheephooks, and crying out in a savage and threat-
Oh, my brothers, my brothers! cried the lad,
stopping, and lifting up his hands.
They seized him rudely, and tore his beautiful
coat from his back, and snatched the sandals from
"Away with the robber!" cried Judge.
"Yes, away with the spy! cried the others; and
they pushed him roughly along towards the open
well. The boy covered his face with his hands, and
"Stand back! Don't hurt the lad!" said one
of them, a big round-faced fellow whom his mother
called Judah, or Praise. Leave him to me." And
he lifted the boy by the arms, and let him gently
down into the well. It was not a deep well, and
he did not have far to drop; but its stone sides
were smooth and steep, and not even a squirrel
could have climbed out of it.
When the brothers saw what was done, they
turned away as if ashamed, and without saying
a word went after their sheep. But Judge staid
behind to put the flat stone back into its place,
and, as he peeped down into the well, he whis-
This is the way that we bow down before you,
IV. THE CARAVAN.
That evening nine of the brothers sat in front
of their tent, eating their supper in silence. The
eldest was not with them. He had gone across the
fields to look for a lost lamb, and to think of some
plan to befriend his young brother. While they
were eating, a long line of camels and men was
seen coming across the plain. It was a caravan
of- traders journeying from the East towards the
country of the Nile. The sun had gone down, but
the moon was at its full; and in that country there
SOLD HIM TO THE MERCHANTS FOR TWENTY PIECES OF SILVER.
was no pleasanter time to travel than in the cool of
The brothers sat still and watched the caravan as
it came slowly towards them. The camels were
loaded with spices and myrrh and balm, and other
precious things; and, with the armed guard which
walked before them, there were a number of young
men who were being taken to the Nile country as
If we only had something to sell to those mer-
chants," said Praise,-" we might make a good bar-
"We might sell them a sheep or two for their
breakfast," said Judge.
It seems to me," said Praise, "that we have
done a very foolish thing. We have put the boy
into the well, where he will die, and not one of us
has made any money by it. Come, now, let us sell
him to these merchants, and save his life! We shall
then be rid of him, and at the same time make some
profit for ourselves."
This speech pleased the brothers very much.
Judge ran and lifted the lad out of the well; and
Praise, who was good at making bargains, sold him
to the merchants for twenty pieces of silver.
Two pieces for each of you, and four for me,"
STO. OF THE EAST-5
But how about our eldest brother, who is look-
ing for the lamb ? asked one.
There is no need for him to know what we have
done," said Praise.
By and by the eldest brother came back from his
search, and went at once to the well. He lifted the
stone and called to the boy, but there was no answer.
Then he lighted a torch, and held it so that he
could see to the bottom of the well. There was no
boy there. He dropped the stone back into its
place, and ran towards the tents, tearing his clothes
into pieces as he went.
"The child is not!" he cried. "The child is
not, and what shall become of me ? "
"Some evil spirit has stolen him away," said
Judge, and what shall we say to father? "
Yes, what shall we say to father? said Praise.
Then they took the boy's coat which they had
torn from his back, and dipped it into the blood of
a kid which they had killed; and Praise, who was
the best talker among them, carried it to their father
"Here is something that we found in the hill
country on the other side of Shechem," he said.
The old man looked at it, and knew at once that
it was the costly coat which he had given to his
"It is my son's coat!" he cried. "Some wild
beast has done this, and has devoured the child !"
And he tore his cloak into shreds in sign of grief,
and clothed himself in sackcloth, and sat down and
mourned for the boy many days. Then his sons
came home with their sheep, and they and all his
daughters tried to comfort him; but he would not
listen to them. I will weep for the child until I
die," he said.
But as for the lad himself, the merchants took
him down into the country of the Nile; and he was
so bright-witted and quick, and withal so handsome
and obedient, that the captain of the King's body-
guard was glad to buy him at a very high price.
What is your name ? asked his master.
My mother called me Joseph," said the boy;
"but my brothers, who sold me to the merchants,
nicknamed me the Dreamer."
V. THE PRISON.
Although he was a slave in a strange land, the
boy did not lose heart, nor did he spend any time
in grieving about things which could not be helped.
He made up his mind to do his best at all times,
no matter what might happen to him. And so, as
the years passed by and he grew up to manhood,
he proved himself to be so honest and wise, that
his master trusted him with everything that he
had, and at last made him the manager of all his
lands and houses and goods.
My servant Joseph," said the captain, "is the
best man of business in this country. I do not
need to think of anything; for he manages all,
and there is nothing which he undertakes that
does not prosper."
But the time came when misfortune again befell
the young man. The captain's wife, who was a
thoughtless, wicked woman, accused him of things
of which he was not guilty, and caused him to be
thrown into the King's prison. Yet even then
he did not lose hope. He was so kind and wise
and trustworthy, that the jailer soon made him
his chief helper. All the other prisoners were
under his care, and nothing was done in the place
except as he ordered it. Yet he was not allowed
to step outside of the prison doors.
It so happened that about this time two men,
the King's butler and the King's baker, were shut
up in the jail for some fault or crime. Both of
them were very much troubled because of their
disgrace, and one night both of them dreamed
strange dreams. In the morning Joseph noticed
that they seemed very sad.
"What is the matter," he asked, "that on this
bright day your faces are so gloomy and down-
cast ? "
"I have dreamed a dream," said the butler,
" and I do not know what it means."
"Tell it to me," said the young man, "and
perhaps I can explain its meaning."
In my dream," said the butler, I saw a vine
with three branches; and as I looked at it, it began
to bud and blossom, and soon it was full of ripe
grapes. Then I gathered the grapes, and pressed
the juice of them into the King's cup, and carried
it to the King."
That is an easy dream to explain," said Joseph.
"The three branches are three days; and in three
days the King will set you free, and you shall be
his butler again, and carry his wine to him as you
have done before. But I pray you, when it is well
with you, do not forget me; for I am a slave,
and was stolen from my father in Hebron when
I was a boy, and I have done nothing that they
should keep me in this place."
_Then the King's baker said, "I, too, have
dreamed a dream, and I hope that it is as good
a dream as my friend the butler's."
Tell it to me," said Joseph.
"I dreamed," said the baker, "that I had three
white baskets on my head, and that in the upper
basket were all kinds of cakes and sweetmeats for
the King. But as I walked along, the birds flew
down from the trees and ate up all the sweetmeats,
and I had none to carry to the King."
Joseph shook his head, and said,-
That is also an easy dream to explain. The
three baskets are three days; and in three days
you shall be hanged on a tree, and the birds shall
fly down and eat the flesh from your body."
Three days after that, all things happened as
the young man had foretold. It was the King's
birthday, and he made a great feast in his palace;
and he gave orders that the- baker should be hanged
.upon a tree, and that the butler should be set free
and given the place of honor which he had held
before. But the butler was so glad because of
his good fortune, that he did not think of what
Joseph had told him.
VI. THE DREAMS.
One morning about two years after that, the
King, or Pharaoh, as he was called by his own
people, awoke in great distress. He had had two
dreams in the night which troubled him very much,
and, do what he would, he could not put the thought
of them out of his mind. In those days, people
believed that all dreams had a meaning, and that
they foreboded something that was going to happen
in the time to come. All day long the King pon-
dered upon his two dreams, and he could take no
pleasure in anything. The next night he could
not sleep; but, whenever he closed his eyes, the
dreams came back to him.
On the second morning he sent for his wise
men, and said,-
I have had two strange dreams, and they trou-
ble me greatly. In the first dream I thought I was
standing or the banks of the Nile, and looking at
the water as it flowed among the reeds. Then I
saw seven fat cattle come up out of the river; and
they went into the meadow, and fed upon the long
grass. But while I was looking at them, and think-
ing how beautiful they were, seven other cattle came
creeping out of the mud and mire of the river.
They were the leanest cattle that were ever seen,
and they were so weak that they could hardly stand.
But they clambered upon the bank; and, as soon
as they saw the fat cattle in the meadow, they ran
after them with wide-open mouths, and caught them,
and swallowed every one of them. It was a very
strange and impossible thing, and I cannot under-
stand how they could do it; and, stranger still, they
were not any fatter after this meal than they had
been before. But while I was looking at them,
The wise men looked very grave, and shook
It was a strange vision, O King!" they said;
"but tell us now of your second dream."
The second was so nearly like the first," said
the King, that I am quite sure it means the same
thing. I dreamed that I stood on the bank of the
Nile again; and I was looking, not towards the river,
but at the great wheat fields where the grain was
almost ready for the reapers. Then I saw a tall
stalk of wheat that had grown up by my side, and
on it were seven ears of golden grain, the largest
and fairest that ever grew in any land. But while
I looked, seven other ears came out on the same
stalk. They were thin, blasted ears, with scarcely
a single good grain in them all; and when the east
wind blew upon them, they fell upon the fine, large
ears, and ate them up. And while I wondered how
such a thing could be, I awoke."
The wise men looked very grave, and shook their
heads, and said nothing.
"I have now told you my dreams," said the
King, "and it is for you to tell me what they
O King!" they said, these dreams seem very
hard to explain. Allow us, we pray you, to think
upon them until to-morrow, and then we will give
you an answer.
But on the morrow they were as far from under-
standing the dreams as ever.
"We cannot explain them," they said.
Then the King's butler said, King! I have in
mind now a thing that happened two years ago,
when I was in prison. Your baker and myself
were in prison at the same time, as you no doubt
remember, and we both' dreamed dreams on the
same night. It so happened that we told our dreams
to the young man who was our keeper, the same
man who once managed the estates of the captain
of your guard. He listened to us, and then ex-
plained the dreams; and everything came to pass
just as he told us it would,- I was allowed to come
back to my place, and the baker was hanged."
Go at once, and bring the young man to me,"
said the King.
The butler made haste and brought Joseph out
of the prison; 'and when the young man had taken
a bath and shaved himself, and put on his best
clothes, he was led before the King. The King
was pleased as soon as he saw him, he was so tall
and handsome, and his face was so bright and cheer-
ful. Among all the men in the land, there was not
another one whose looks were so noble.
I have had two strange dreams," he said, and
the wisest men in my kingdom cannot explain them.
I am told that you understand such things, and I
have sent for you to tell me what they mean."
The God of my father will help me to explain
them," said Joseph; "but I myself know nothing
When the King had told him his dreams, he stood
still for a moment, thinking. Then he said, -
Both dreams mean the same thing. The God
of my father has sent them to you, that you might
know the things which are about to happen in the
Land of the Nile. The seven fat cattle and the
seven big ears of wheat mean seven years of
plenty. The seven lean cattle and the seven
blasted ears of wheat mean seven years of famine.
The meaning of the dreams is this: there will be
seven years of great plenty in all the land; and after
that there will be seven years when nothing can
be raised, and during these years of famine all the
former plenty will be eaten up."
"How soon will these things happen?" asked
The thing was shown to you in two dreams on
the same night, O King!" said the young man; "and
that is a sign that the time is here now, and that
the years of plenty are about to begin. Now, if
some wise man could be found to take charge of the
matter, it would not be hard to provide against
the years of famine that will follow. Great gran-
aries might be built in all the cities, and the sur-
plus grain might be stored away for use in time of
Then the King turned to the officers who stood
around him, and said, The young man speaks well,
and there may be much truth in what he says. At
any rate, it will do no harm to store away the grain
during these years of plenty, and it will certainly
do great good if the years of dearth should ever
come. Tell me, now, which man in all my kingdom
is the most trustworthy, and the best fitted to man-
age this business."
If it please the King," said one of the officers,
"the young man who once had charge of the estates
of the captain of your guard is the most honest and
the best manager in all our land. Never did any-
thing prosper as did the captain's affairs while that
young man looked after them."
"'Let the young man be brought before me at
once," said the King.
He is already here, 0 King!" said the officer.
" It is he that has just now explained your dreams."
Then the King turned to Joseph, and said,
" Truly, I believe that there is no man in the world
so discreet and wise as you are, for I often heard
of you while you were the head servant of the cap-
tain of my guard. Your name is already known in
all parts of my kingdom. You shall manage this
business, and I will set you over all the land to rule
And he took a ring from his hand and put it
upon Joseph's finger, and hung a gold chain about
the young man's neck, and gave him rich robes of
finest linen to put on.
"Why do men call you Joseph? he asked; "for
that is a word which means He shall add.' "
"When I was born," answered the young man,
" my dear mother said that I was a promise that the
God of my father would add more and more to her
happiness. But she lies now in her lonely grave by
the roadside in far-away Ephrath, and my father's
three wives keep his tents."
Enough, enough !" cried the King. And now,
if you have told me truly, and will manage this busi-
ness aright, you shall be given a new name. You
shall be called Zaphnath-paaneah, or the Master of
the Land." And then, turning to the officers around
him, he said, I am Pharaoh, I am the King; but
this man is Zaphnath-paaneah, and he shall stand
next to me in all things. His word shall be law,
and, without his leave, no man shall do anything at
all. He is the Master of the Land of the Nile."
VII. THE TEN STRANGERS.
In all the world there had never been such crops
as those that were raised during the next seven
years. There was so much wheat that the number
of bushels could not be counted; and all other
kinds of food were so plentiful that no one had
ever any need to be hungry. And during that
time of plenty no one was so busy as the Master
of the Land of the Nile. He was first in this city,
then in that, giving orders about the great grana-
ries that were being built, and seeing that they
were filled with grain. His word was law every-
where; and no man dared to waste anything, but
all the food that was not needed was laid up in
storehouses against the time of need.
But when the seven years of plenty had passed,
the seven years of dearth began to come, and every-
thing was changed. The ground was so dry, and
the air was so hot, that nothing would grow. In
all the valley of the Nile there was not a stalk of
wheat nor a blade of green grass. In the lands
farther away, things were in even a worse plight:
for there the people had not laid up anything when
there was plenty; and so the flocks and herds died
for want of pasture, and thousands of men and
women and children perished because there was
no food. But in the country of the Nile the store-
houses were full, and the rich men of other lands
sent there to buy grain.
One day, when the Master of the Land was selling
wheat at one of the King's granaries, ten rough-look-
ing strangers were brought before him. They were
sunburned and brown with traveling over the sandy
deserts, and they said that they had come a long
distance from the east. As soon as they saw the
Master of the Land, dressed in his robes of fine
linen, and -wearing the King's gold chain about
his neck, they bowed themselves, and fell on their
faces before him.
"Who are you? he said. "Where do you come
from? What do you want? "
He spoke so harshly, that they trembled with
fear, and did not dare to look up. Then one of
0 mighty Prince!" he said, "we are from
Hebron, a place many days' journey from here;
and we have come to buy food for our families,
for in our own land there is nothing to eat."
Do not try to deceive me," said the Master.
"I know who you are. You are spies; and you
have come to find out all that you can about us,
and then go and tell it to our enemies."
Oh, do not think such a thing of us!" they
cried; and they were filled with greater dread than
before, and did not know what to do. "We are
not spies, but honest men, and true, and we are
all brothers of one family."
"Have you a father or a brother at home?"
asked the Master.
Truly, there were twelve of us," was the answer;
and our father, who is an old man, is at home with
the youngest brother, who is still a little child.
The other brother is dead; and this child is left
alone with our father, who loves him most dearly."
Then the Master seemed to be more angry than
before. You shall prove that you are not spies.
One of you shall go and fetch this child of whom
you tell me, and the other nine shall lie in jail
until he comes."
"My lord!" 'cried the spokesman of the ten
strangers, "the lad cannot leave his father; for, if
we should fetch him away, his father would die."
Did I not say that you were spies ?" said the
Master; and then, without waiting for another
word, he bade his officers lead the ten men away
Three days after that, he had them brought be-
fore him again.
I have not the heart to treat you cruelly," he
said. If you are honest men, let one of you be
bound in prison; and do the rest of you go home
with food for the hungry ones who are there. Then
come again, and bring your little brother, and I will
believe you, and you shall not die."
And he walked away, and hid his face, and wept.
Then the officers took one of the brothers and
bound him, and led him away to the prison. The
others were set free. They bought as much grain
as their donkeys could carry, and then started sadly
and silently on their long journey home.
VIII. THE LITTLE BROTHER.
When the nine brothers reached Hebron, the
women and the children ran to meet them, and
the old Prince stood in the door of his tent to
welcome them home. But when they told how the
other brother had been left behind, sadness took
the place of joy.
Why did you leave him? asked the Prince.
"The man who is the Master of the Land kept
him," said Praise. He spoke roughly to us, and
threw us into prison as spies. Then he set nine of
us free, but the tenth he kept bound. Bring your
youngest brother to me,' he said; 'and then I will
know that you are not spies, and you may all go in
Then the Prince sat down in his tent and wept.
"All the world is against me! he cried. Two of
my sons are lost, and now you would take Benoni
away. But he shall not go with you; for his brother
is dead, and he is left alone. If mischief should
befall him, then you will bring me down in sorrow
to the grave."
The men unloaded their donkeys, and began to
empty the grain which they had brought. But,
wonder of wonders! in each man's sack was the
money which he had paid for the wheat. And
they were greatly troubled, and did not know what
to do; for would not the man who was the Master
of the Nile country accuse them of stealing it?
Days and weeks went by, and the famine grew
worse and worse. The grain which the brothers
had brought was almost gone.
Boys," said their father, "you will have to go
again and buy a little more grain."
It is no use, unless you will let Benoni go with
us," they answered; "for the man said that he
would not listen to us again unless we brought
STO. OF THE EAST--6
But the old.man wept, and declared that he would
not part with the boy.
Then Praise asked him, "Which is better,- that
all your children and grandchildren' should perish
here with hunger, or that we take the risk with the
young lad ? I will answer with my life that he shall
come back safe."
At last the Prince agreed to let the child go.
"Carry a little present down to the man," he
said. "We have not much that will please him;
but take him a little balm and a little honey, and
some spices and nuts, and carry back the money
that you found in your sacks. There must have
been some mistake about it. Then, when he sees
your little brother, it may be that the great man
will deal kindly with you."
The brothers did as he told them, and, taking
their presents and the young lad with them, they
went down again into the Land of the Nile.
When the Master of the Land heard that they had
come, he ordered that they should be brought to his
own palace. This frightened them very much, for
they thought that now he would throw them into
prison or put them to death for carrying the money
home in their sacks. When they were led into the
room where he sat, they bowed very low before him,
and gave him the presents which their father had
sent; but how poor and little did these presents
seem in the midst of so much grandeur!
Is your father well, the old man of whom you
told me ?" asked the great man. Is he still alive?"
Our father is still alive, and he is well," they
answered; and they again bowed themselves to the
Then the great man saw the young lad, his own
brother, standing trembling before him.
Is this your younger brother, about whom you
told me ?" he asked.
"This is he," they answered.
"May the God of your father be ever kind to
you, my lad!" said he; and he turned away, and
went into his own room and wept.
IX. THE DISCOVERY.
That very afternoon the sons of the Prince made
ready to go back to Hebron. They were glad-
hearted now; for the man who was the Master of
the Land had been kind to them, and had believed
them, and had set free their brother who had been
in prison. They hastened to the storehouse, and
bought as much grain as their donkeys could
carry; and, as soon as it was light the next morn-
ing, they started.
But they were hardly outside of the city, when
they heard loud cries behind them; and, looking
back, they saw men on horseback riding rapidly
towards them. They stopped, and waited to see
what was wanted. The men rode up. One of them
was the head servant of the Master of the Land.
What mean you by robbing my master of his
treasures ? he cried.
Oh, say not so, my lord said Praise, trembling.
" Did we not bring the money back that we found
in our sacks? How could we steal silver or gold
from your master? If any one of us has taken that
which is not his own, let him die, and the rest of
us will be your master's slaves."
What is it that we have stolen? cried Judge.
" Search us, and see if we have anything of your
That I will do," said the head servant. "And
the one with whom it is found shall be my master's
slave, but the rest of you shall go free."
So they took the sacks from off the backs of the
donkeys, and every man opened his sack. Then
the head servant searched in each sack, beginning
with that of the eldest; and in the young lad's sack
he found a silver cup of great price, which belonged
to the Master of the Land. When the brothers
saw this, they tore their cloaks in sign of grief and
dismay; and then every man loaded his donkey
again, and, without saying a word, followed the
head servant back into the city. They did not
know that the Master himself had caused the cup
to be hidden there.
The great man met them at his own door, and
spoke to them very harshly. What is this you
have done?" he said. "Did you not know that
nothing can be hidden from me?"
We cannot excuse ourselves," said Praise. The
case is a clear one, and there is nothing to say.
We are your slaves, and so also is the lad who took
Not so," answered the Master. "The rest of
you shall go free; but the lad who had the cup,
he shall be my slave."
Then Praise pleaded with the great man to spare
The lad is the joy and hope of our father," he
said; "and the old man's life is bound up in the
life of the child. If we should go home, and our
father see that the lad is not with us, he will die,
and we shall bring down his gray hairs in sorrow to
the grave. Now, I pray you, let me be your slave,
and let the lad go up to Hebron with his brothers!"
Then the great man could keep his secret no
longer. He ordered his officers to leave him alone
with the men from Hebron, and then he made
I am your brother," he said. "I am Joseph,
whom you sold to the Arab merchants when I was
a lad. Do not think I am angry with you, for it has
all happened for the best. The God of our father, he
brought it about in order to save life; for otherwise
we should all have perished in this great famine."
Then he fell upon his little brother's neck and
kissed him; and they both wept together for a long
time. After that, he kissed his older brothers, and
wept with them, and talked with them about the
wonderful things which had happened to him.
And now," said he, hasten back to the old home
in Hebron, and say to our father that his son Joseph
is still alive, and is the master of all the Land of the
Nile. Bid him come down to me at once, and say
that he shall live near me with his children, and his
children's children, and his flocks and his herds;
and I will provide for you all."
Then he gave fine coats to each of the men; but
to his young brother he gave five suits of the rich-
est clothing, and three hundred pieces of silver;
and to his father he sent twenty donkeys laden
with grain and bread and meat, and the good
things of the land. He sent also a great number
of wagons to bring him and the women and the
children down into the Land of the Nile. And
his brothers, with glad hearts, hastened to do all.
things as he directed.
When at last the aged Prince, with all his family,
came down into the country of the Nile, the King
allowed the Master to give his father and his broth-
ers homes in the best part of the land, where they
could dwell in peace, and care for their flocks and
herds. The King himself went out to meet the
Prince, and the Prince blessed him.
How old are you ?" asked the King.
"The days of the years of my pilgrimage,"
answered the old man, are a hundred and thirty
years. Few and evil have the days of the years
of my life been."
And the Prince and his children, and his chil-
dren's children, made themselves homes in that part
of the Land of the Nile which was called Goshen.
THE GREAT LAWGIVER.
I. THE KING'S DAUGHTER.
THERE once lived in the Land of the Nile a
nation of bondmen.
These people had not always been slaves. They
said that the great ancestor from whom they were
all descended, had been a man of renown in his
day, and had won for himself the title of Israel, or
the Prince; and so they called themselves Israelites,
or the Children of the Prince. They liked to tell
of the time when the Prince had come down into the
country from a foreign land, and with his children,
and his children's children, had settled in the fertile
valley of Goshen. And they proudly remembered
the fact that one of the Prince's sons had been the
Master of the Land of the Nile, and second only to
the King; and they delighted to tell how this great
man had been wont to ride in his chariot from city
to city, and how all the people bowed the knee
before him, and made his word their law.
But now four hundred years had passed since
that glorious time, and many sad changes had come
to the Children of the Prince. Their lands had
been taken from them, they had been robbed of
their flocks and herds, and cruel laws had been
made in order to afflict them; and yet they had
seemed to prosper, and their numbers had grown
until there were tens of thousands of them in
Goshen. At last there came to the throne a
Pharaoh, or King, who had never heard of their
great ancestor, but whose heart was filled with
hatred towards them.
"What shall we do with the folk who call them-
selves the Children of the Prince?" he said. If
we let-them alone, they will soon outnumber us, and
will make themselves our masters. They are good
workmen and cunning traders, and it would be a
loss to the country to destroy them; and yet some-
thing must be done to hold them in check."
And so laws were passed which made the Chil-
dren of the Prince a nation of slaves; and Pharaoh
sent their young men into the cities and towns to
work under taskmasters, and build walls and forts
and palaces of brick and stone. It was also ordered
that every boy baby that was born to any of these
people should be put to death. In this way the
cruel King hoped to put an end to their increase,
and at the same time strengthen his kingdom and
One day, not long after this, it happened that the
King's daughter went out with her maidens to bathe
in the river. As she was walking along the bank,
she saw something floating among the reeds in the
shallow water of the stream, and she sent one of her
maidens to get it. When it was brought to her, it
proved to be a light basket made of rushes woven
together, and daubed with pitch so as to make it
water-tight and strong. The King's daughter opened
the lid of the basket, and looked in; and there she
saw a pretty babe, about three months old, lying on
a little cushion of leaves. When the child saw the
lady, he held out his hands towards her and cried;
and her kind heart was filled with pity, and she
bent over and kissed him.
He must belong to one of the slaves who call
themselves Children of the Prince," she said. How
sad that so pretty a babe should perish! "
While the King's daughter and her maidens
were fondling the child, and trying to make him
cease his weeping, a little girl came timidly for-
ward, and listened to what they were saying.
How I should like to keep him for ifiy own!"
said the lady, as she took him from the basket
and held him lovingly in her arms.
~-~- 1' ~ ',v. -
IYA1 !f\ ____ ___
AND THERE SHE SAW A PRETTY BABE.
Then the little girl took courage, and spoke.
Shall I go and find a woman to nurse the child
for you?" she asked.
"Yes, go," said the lady.
Now, the little girl was none other than the
sister of the babe. Ever since the basket had
been set afloat among the reeds, she had been
standing by the river, watching, and hoping that
this very thing would happen; for, if the lady
would take pity on the child, his life might be
saved. She ran as fast as she could, and told her
mother all that the King's daughter had said.
Then her mother hastened with glad heart to the
riverside, where the King's daughter and hermaid-
ens were still fondling the child; for now he had
ceased his crying, and was playing with the lady's
necklace, and cooing softly to his new-found friends.
"Here is a woman who will nurse the child
for you," said the little girl.
Come, then," said the lady to the child's
mother, "come into my home and take care of
this babe for me, and I will pay you well."
And so the babe was taken into the King's
palace, and brought up by his own mother. He
was called the son of the King's daughter; and
she gave him the name of Moses, which meant
that he had been drawn out of the water.
II. THE SHEPHERD.
The child grew fast, and soon became a hand-
some lad, quick and strong, and full of promise.
He was treated in every way as though he were
really the grandson of the King. The wisest men
in the land were sought out to be his teachers,
and he became learned in all the lore of those
ancient times: for they taught him whatever
was known about the world and its people, and
about the laws and customs of the land; they
taught him how to be a brave soldier, and how
to be a leader of men; they instructed him in
music and in magic, and in the science of the
stars; and they told him about the idols whom
the people ignorantly worshiped, and about the
great God, the ruler of all things. No young
man ever had brighter prospects than he; for it
was the wish, both of the King and of the King's
daughter, that he should in the end become a
great ruler in the land, and that he should stand
next in power to the King himself. But his own
mother, the humble nurse who cared for him in
his childhood, had taught him something else. It
was she who told him of his kinsmen, and how
they had lived for now four hundred years in the
land, and how they had been robbed and oppressed
and enslaved, and how in every city and town
his brethren were being lashed and driven by
cruel taskmasters. And she told him about the
great ancestor of his people, the Prince,- how
he had come as a stranger and settled in the
valley of Goshen; and how before he died he had
told his sons that they should not always stay in
the Nile country, but that somewhere there was a
land flowing with milk and honey which the great
God whom they reverenced had promised to them
and their descendants as a heritage and a home
so long as the world should last. These words
sank deep into the heart of the lad, deeper by far
than all the lore he had learned from his teach-
ers; and the older he grew, the more he yearned
towards his kinsfolk, and the more he longed to
help them escape from their grievous burdens.
One day, after he had become a grown-up man,
Moses was walking in the fields where some of his
people were toiling; and in a lonely spot he saw one
of the King's taskmasters beating a man; He looked
this way and that, and, when he saw that no one
was near, he killed the taskmaster, and hid his body
in the sand. The next day he was walking near
the same place, and there he saw two of his own
"For shame!" he cried. "Why do you do so
wrong a thing as to quarrel with each other?"
And he ran and tried to part them.
Who made you a judge over us? said one of
the men. Do you want to kill me as you killed
the taskmaster yesterday ? "
When the young man heard this, he was fright-
Surely the thing is known," he said to himself;
"but how did any one find it out? "
Then, without saying another word, he turned,
and fled from the place. He knew that the laws of
the land were very strict, and that, if it should be
proven that he had killed the taskmaster, he would
be punished, perhaps with death. He dared not
stop even to say good-by to his friends. There
was no safety for him anywhere in the Land of the
Nile; and so he fled into the far wilderness country
where there were no cities, nor towns, nor settled
homes, but only wandering bands of Arabs and a
few keepers of sheep.
One afternoon he came to a well in the midst of
a grove of palm trees, and sat down in the shade to
rest. On the grassy plain not far away there were
many flocks of sheep feeding, and the tops of white
tents could be seen among the hills beyond. The
young man was tired with his long wanderings, and
he was in no haste to leave a spot that seemed so
quiet and peaceful and safe. He had not been there
long, however, when he heard the tinkle of bells
and the sound of pleasant voices; and, peering out
from his place, he saw seven handsome young girls
driving a flock of sheep towards the well.
Make haste, sisters," said one of them. Draw
up the water quickly, and fill the troughs, that so
the sheep may drink before the men see us."
Three of the maidens hurried with their pails to
draw the water, while the others urged the timid
flock to the troughs. But scarcely had the panting
sheep begun to drink, when loud shouts were heard
near by, and a half dozen rude shepherds came run-
ning to drive them away.
"Have we not told you to wait until we have
given our sheep drink? they cried. There is
hardly water enough for all."
Then the young man Moses stood up and showed
himself, and drove the rude shepherds from the
well, and helped the maidens water their flock.
That evening the girls drove their sheep home
much earlier than was their wont.
"Why is it that you have come home so soon
to-day ? asked their father.
"A young stranger was at the well," they an-
swered, and he kept the shepherds away while our
sheep drank from the troughs."
Yes," said Zipporah, the youngest and handsom-
est of the seven, and he also drew the water for us,
and watered the flock."
And where is the stranger? said their father.
"Why is it that you did not bring him home with
you? Make haste and call him, that he may eat
bread with us, and lodge for the night in our tent."
The young man was glad to become the guest of
the good Arab, and he was in no haste to go farther.
Every day he helped the maidens drive their sheep
to the pasture, and every evening he sat in the tent
door, and listened to the wise talk of the old man
their father. Thus the time passed pleasantly away,
and at last he made up his mind to stay in that quiet,
peaceful place, and be a shepherd all the rest of his
life. And so he married the pretty Zipporah, and
kept the flock of her father, and lived in her father's
tents, and cared no more for the riches and power
which might have been his in the Land of the
III. THE BURNING BUSH.
Forty years passed by.
'The Children of the Prince were still toiling under
their cruel taskmasters in the Land of the Nile;
and every day their burdens were made heavier, and
their bondage became more bitter. In their great
STO. OF THE EAST--7
distress they cried out, and prayed God that he
would send them help.
In the mean while Moses kept his father-in-law's
sheep in the wild country of the Arabs. But he
had not forgotten his kinsfolk in the Land of the
Nile, and the memory of their troubles was always
in his mind. One day, as he was tending his flock
on the side of a mountain, he saw a strange vision.
A bush that stood close by seemed to catch fire,
and burn with a blaze that was brighter than the
sun, and yet it was not harmed in the least. While
he stood looking at it, and wondering, he saw an
angel in the flame, and heard a voice calling him
Here am I," he answered.
"Come not any nearer, for this is holy ground,"
said the voice.
Then Moses hid his face for fear, and stood still
and listened. And the voice told him how his kins-
folk were oppressed in the Land of the Nile, and
how they had cried to God for help.
"Go down, therefore," it said, "and free my
people from their bondage, and lead them forth
into the Land of Promise."
But Moses said, "How can I do this thing?
How can I go before the King, and persuade him to
let the Children of the Prince go free? I am slow