Page images
PDF
EPUB

gate, and Casim soon stood in a lovely garden full of flowers-it was like fairy-land.

Casim again felt afraid, not knowing who the stranger could be; but the gate was shut behind him, and he could not go back.

From the garden they went into a noble hall, and then into a large and lofty room.

Casim did not know what to think-his guide seemed to move about as if he were a prince, and this his palace. Was he going to make a slave of the lost child ? Casim was bid to sit down and tell the tale of his short life and travels.

Having done this, the stranger said, “ My name is Abal, and I will be your friend so long as you behave well. You may stay here with me. I will feed and clothe you; and to begin, you may now come with me to supper.'

This was like a grand feast to the eyes of poor hungry Casim, who had never seen so much food as was then set before him. He could not eat much, from joy and wonder.

After supper Casim was shown to a pretty room where a bed was made ready for him,-he lay down and slept till morning.

At day-break he rose up, and looked about, and felt as if still in a dream. A new dress was by his bedside, his old clothes having been taken away.

Abal called him to the eating-room, and giving him a small purse with some money in it, said—“ You will join a class of boys like yourself, and study as they do, to prepare for the work of future years. I give you this purse, as you may need some pocket-money."

Casim asked leave to write to his father, and begged to send the purse to him.

This was granted, and then his mind was free to attend to anything he might have to do.

Every day was spent with boys of his own age, under an able master, who let them be free for sports when duty was done.

At the end of a year, Abal again called for Casim and said, “I will now give you a proof of the trust I can place in your good conduct. I have chosen you from the rest of the class to enter on the service of the Sultan, and great will be your reward if you succeedlisten to my words. It is the will of our master, the great Akbar, that the men in this empire who are called Brahmins, should tell him their secrets that he may judge if they are wise and good. This they refuse to do, and you will be sent as one of their tribe, and trained in all they have to teach, and you will stay until you hear from me again.”

Casim had no time to think what all this meant, but he knew it was his duty to obey Abal and the Sultan, and said he would do his best to please them.

A letter was written to a holy man named Keidar, a chief amongst the Brahmins, to make him believe that Casim was an orphan of his own tribe, and knew no one but Abal, the favourite of the Sultan Akbar. This letter was put into a trusty hand to be given up with Casim into the charge of Keidar. The aged Brahmin was found near the door of his small house, sitting under the shade of a fine tree, with his supper of fruit and herbs on a table, and a vase of fresh water from the spring that flowed through his garden.

Casim was kindly asked to sit down, and when the Brahmin had read the letter, he said to the bearer, “Tell Abal, the servant of Akbar, that an orphan child is ever welcome in the home of Keidar, and he shall be cared for.”

The man went his way; and the boy was left behind.

As Casim was supposed to know nothing of his birth, no questions were asked, and he freely told of his life and friends in the schools of Abal.

Casim soon began to love the old man, and was an apt pupil ; his mind had been stored from books, but now he was led to think and judge, so as to be able to act rightly at any time in his life.

In a few months he began to see things in a new light and ask himself, “ Is it right to stay here till I know all the secrets of a good man who treats me as his own son ?" Still, Casim thought his first duty was to obey Abal and his master.

But when Keidar spoke of truth, that to be honest and true in all things is our first duty, and the root of all that is noble, the words struck sadly on the soul of his pupil.

In time Casim felt that to stay and learn all the secrets of the Brahmin, only to betray them, was a great sin; and yet he could not bear to break his word with Abal. What must he do? How could he be true to both ? He could bear his false life no longer, and come what might, made up his mind to go back to Abal and bear his anger.

Casim prayed leave for a visit to Agra. Keidar could not refuse this request of the son of his heart. It was but right he should mix with boys again, and soon let him depart with a Brahmin going to the city.

Casim went to the well-known gate of the palace, and was at once shown into the presence of Abal, who had saved him from grief and misery.

As is the custom to this day in the East, the youth bent low before his master, and in silence waited for an order to speak.

Abal saw that something was amiss, and in a stern voice said, "Who sent for you? What brings you here ?"

Casim then spoke the truth, that he could not betray the secrets of Keidar, who had treated him as a son, and to whom he already owed more than the true. service of a life could

repay. Abal looked at the boy before him, and still spoke in a cold and harsh tone.

“Have you thought of what you give up in the loss of my favour, and the rich rewards of Akbar, who can also take away your life if he chooses ?”

My lord,” said Casim, “I cannot hold your favour, if I must play false to the wise and holy Keidar.” Abal.

Do

you not fear the anger of Akbar ?”

Casim. “The Sultan may take my life if he chooses, and better so, than lose my peace of mind for ever.”

Casim was bid to wait, and Abal went forth to report to the Sultan how this scheme for finding out the Brahmin secrets had failed, but the youth was brave in heart, noble in mind, and worthy of any trust.

Akbar heard the tale, and could hardly believe that a poor boy of fourteen years was able to judge so clearly, and act with the calm sense and courage of a

man.

Casim was sent for, and trembled to think that his hour was come for a great trial, and he prayed for strength to bear a prison, and even pain, should that be his fate, to make him confess.

He bent before Akbar, and waited for his sentence.

“Rise, Casim," said the Sultan, "and fear nothing; you have done well to speak the truth and keep faith with all who have trusted you."

Casim looked up, hardly able to believe the words which fell upon his ears. He kissed the hand of Abal now held out to him, and the teaching of Keidar came back to his mind.

"To thine own heart be true

le;
And it shall follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.'

From this time Casim was kept in the employ of the Sultan, and in after years rose to high rank in the empire. His own father was brought to Agra, and lived in honour and comfort, while the good Keidar also rejoiced in the success of his pupil, and his last hours were watched and soothed by the loving son of

his old age.

(Copyright-Contributed.)

LIGHT FOR ALL.

ROBERT GILFILLAN.

You cannot pay

with

money The million sons of toilThe sailor on the ocean,

The peasant on the soil, The labourer in the quarry,

The hewer of the coal; Your

money pays the hand, But it cannot pay the soul.

You gaze on the cathedral,

Whose turrets meet the sky ;Remember the foundations

That in earth and darkness lie; For, were not those foundations

So darkly resting there, Yon towers could never soar

So proudly in the air.

The workshop must be crowded

That the palace may be bright; If the ploughman did not plough,

Then the poet could not write. Then let every toil be hallow'd,

That man performs for man, And have its share of honour

As part of one great plan. See, light darts down from heaven,

And enters where it may ; The eyes of all earth's people

Are cheer'd with one bright day. And let the mind's true sunshine

Be spread o'er earth as free, And fill the souls of men

As the waters fill the sea.

« EelmineJätka »