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lustrous were they, swimming as if in a sea of passion.
Instead of punishing her terribly, as we all expected he would, the king seemed to pay her more attention than usual on her return; indeed so much so, that one day the queen my mistress remonstrated with him. She is but a villager,' said the queen: instead of indulgence, she deserves punishment; and you grant her all her desires.' 'I grant her none of her desires,' was the king's reply; 'she will not express a wish for anything. I cannot make her out. Her eyes are full of fire, and all the rest is as a marble statue. She interests me. I offer her jewels and ornaments; she says she does not want them. I get dancing girls for her amusement; she looks on and smiles not. A villager! Yes, she is a villager. But, by the beard of the Prophet, she knows how to act the queen!'
The queen my mistress said no more. When the king her son swore by the beard of the Prophet she was not pleased, for she was pious, and liked not profane oaths.
A month rolled on, and still this muta
wife, the villager, was made much of. She was not liked. She had made no friends in the court, for she spoke scarcely at all. At the end of about a month after the conversation I have related, she disappeared altogetherbut this time it was the king's vengeance caused her disappearance, not her own flight. I forget her name, and cannot tell what her fate was, but I am sure it was dreadful. The king had done his best to please, and amuse her, and she would not be pleased or amused. I heard too that she openly told him she loved the village youth to whom she had been betrothed, and did not love him the king! If so, what could she expect? Kings will not be treated in that way by village girls. The young man to whom she had been betrothed suffered with her. I do not know what his fault was. Perhaps he had enticed her to leave the palace when she escaped disguised. I do not know. I only know that his mother came to the queen to complain of the loss of her son, and for nearly a month sat at the gate wailing, with ashes on her head, and demanding justice
and mercy. She gave a great deal of trouble, poor thing! I could not help pitying her. Whether the queen asked the king her son anything about the young man, I do not know. She did not talk of the matter before me. Perhaps she knew all about the case beforehand. Whatever was the true explanation, all I know about it is this, that she ordered money to be given to the poor woman, and that she should be sent back to her village, Yes! she was a good and kind queen. If there was any fault in this affair, it was not hers, but the king's. Who can resist their fate?
THE ANGEL OF DEATH.
As the body becomes unclean the moment life departs, the relatives and friends hasten to leave the apartment, when assured that the angel of death has taken possession of it. Those employed at court to wash the body were Syuds, and took the corpse into a bathroom for that purpose, women ministering to women, and men to men. Some ornamenta ring on the finger, or a wristlet on the arm -was usually left, that the deceased might not enter empty-handed into Paradise.
A coffin was used to carry the corpse to the grave, but was not buried with it. The body was rolled in a new piece of white cloth, and laid in the coffin, and when the funeral procession took place, a pall or canopy of rich cloth, supported on the ends
of four poles, was carried by four mourners over the coffin. It is not well that heaven should look upon a bare coffin. Arrived at the grave, the body was taken from the coffin, and the moollah read the Koran, and a man went into the grave, and placed two sticks across (in the form of a St. Andrew's cross), leaning on the head of the grave, against which the deceased might rest, when sitting up to be examined by the angels Monker and Nikel, on the third day.
Held by the head and the feet, the body was then placed in the grave, and boards so arranged at some distance above it as to prevent the earth falling upon the corpse. The funeral party then retired forty paces for some minutes, and returned and looked in, to see that no change had taken place, before filling up the grave. Finally, a whisper for his eternal salvation was 'breathed into the ear of the corpse; the nearest of kin threw in the first clod of earth, and the grave was
Fires were then lit at the foot and at the head of the grave, to keep off evil spirits,