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ing a grove near the sage's habitation, met according to his wishes, the venerable recluse. He prostrated himself before him, and with signs of the utmost anguish, "Behold," said he, "Oh "divine Abudah favourite of our mighty pro"phet, who resemblest Allah by distributing the "balm of comfort to the distressed, behold the "most miserable of mortals."
He was proceeding in this melancholy strain, when the old man, deeply affected with his lamentations, interrupted him, and taking him by the hand: "Rise my son," said he, "let me know "the cause of thy misfortunes, and whatever is in
my power shall be done to restore thee to tran"quillity."
"Alas!" replied Achmet, "how can I be re"stored to that which I never yet possessed! for "know, thou enlightened guide of the faithful, "I never have spent an easy moment that I can "remember, since reason first dawned upon my "mind. Hitherto even from my cradle, a thou"sand fancies have attended me through life, "and are continually, under the false appear"ances of happiness, deceiving me into anxiety, "whilst others are enjoying the most undisturb"ed repose. Tell me, then, I conjure thee by "the holy temple of Mecca, from whence thy
st prayers have been so often carried to Mahomet "by the ministers of Paradise, by what method "I may arrive, if not at the sacred tranquillity "which thou enjoyest, yet at the harbour of "such earthly peace as the holy Koran has pro"mised to all those who obey its celestial precepts; for sure the damned who remove alter"nately from the different extremes of chilling "frosts and scorching flames cannot suffer greater "torments than I undergo at present."
Abudah, perceiving that a discontented mind alone was the source of the young man's troubles, said to him, "Be comforted my son, for thou "shalt receive the reward of a true believer, and "be freed from all thy misfortunes; but thou must "still undergo many more, before thou canst be "numbered with the truly happy. Thou inqui"rest of me where happiness dwells. Look "round the world, and see in how many diffe"rent scenes she has taken up her residence; "sometimes, though very rarely, in a palace, often "in a cottage; the philosopher's cave of retire"ment, and the soldier's tent amid the noise and "dangers of war, are by turns her habitation; "the rich man may see her in his treasure, or the beggar in his wallet. In all these situations she "is to be found, but in none altogether. Go,
"then and seek thy fortune among the various
scenes of the world, and if thou shouldst prove "unsuccessful in this probationary expedition, "return to me, when seven years are expired, "when the passions of youth begin to subside, “and I will instruct thee by a religious emblem, "which our great prophet shewed me in a dream, how to obtain the end of all thy "wishes."
Achmet, not understanding Abudah's meaning, left him as discontented as he came, and returned to Ispahan with a full resolution of gratifying every inclination of pleasure or ambition, imagining that to be the road to discover felicity. Accordingly he gave up his first years entirely to those enjoyments, which enervate both mind and body; till finding at length no real satisfaction in the possession of these; but rather diseases and disappointments, he changed his course of life, and followed the dictates of avarice, that continually offered to his eyes, external happiness, seated on a throne of gold. His endeavours succeeded, and by the assistance of fortune he became the richest subject of the East.
Still something was wanting. Power and honour presented themselves to his view, and wholly engaged his attention. Those desires.
did not remain long unsatisfied, for by the favour of the Sophy he was advanced to the highest dignities of the Persian empire.
But alas, he was still no nearer the primary object of his most ardent wishes! Fears, doubts, and a thousand different anxieties that attend the great, perpetually haunted him, and made him seek again the calm retirement of rural life. Nor was the latter productive of any more comfort than the former stations. In short, being disappointed, and finding happiness in no one condition, he sought the hermit a second time, to complain of his fate, and claim the promise he had received before the beginning of his adven
Abudah seeing his disciple return again after the stated time, still discontented, took him by the hand, and smiling upon him with an air of gentle reproof, "Achmet," said he, "cease "to blame thy fate for the uneasiness which "arises alone from thy own breast; behold, "since thou hast performed the task I enjoined "in order to make thee more capable of follow
ing my future instructions, I will unfold to thee "the grand mystery of wisdom; by which she "leads her votaries to happiness. See," said he, pointing to a river in which several young swans
were eagerly swimming after their own shadows in the stream," those silly birds imitate mankind,
they are in pursuit of that which their own mo"tion puts to flight; behold others that have "tired themselves with their unnecessary labours, "and sitting still are in possession of what their " utmost endeavours could never have ac"complished. Thus, my son, happiness is the "shadow of contentment, and rests, or moves " for ever with its original."