"Martyrdom of John Rogers, His Wife and Their Nine Children."
“And,” proclaimed Najib, “of this sweet portrait I read thus the law: ’So shall the wifes and the offsprungs of all strike-makers be put to death; and those wicked strike-makers themselfs along with them.’ By the time I had shown them six or fifteen of such pictures and read them the law for each of them, those miserable fellaheen and guards were beweeping themselfs harder and louder and sadder than I had seemed to. Why, howadji, it was with a difficultness that I kept them from running away and enhiding themselfs in the mountains, lest the soldiers of the pasha come upon them at once and punish them for trying to make strike! But I said I would intercede with you to make you merciful of heart toward them, to spare them and not to tell the law what they had so sinsomely planned to do I said I would do this, for mine own sake as well as for theirs, and that I knew I could wake you to pity. But I said it would perchancely soften your heart toward them, if all should work harder to atone themselfs for the sin they had beplotted. Wherefore, howadji, they would consent to sleep no more; but they ran henceforthly and at once to the mine. They have been onto the job ever since. And, howadji, they are jobbing harder than ever I have seen men bejob themselfs. Am I forgiven, howadji?” he finished timidly.
“Forgiven!” yelled Kirby, when he could speak. “Why, you eternal little liar, you’re a genius! My hat is off to you! This ought to be worth a fifty-mejidie bonus. And—”
“Instead of the bonus, howadji,” ventured Najib, scared at his own audacity, yet seeking to take full advantage of this moment of expansiveness, “could I have this pleasing book as a baksheesh gift?”
“Take it!” vouchsafed Kirby. “The thing gives me bad dreams. Take it!”
“May the houris make soft your bed in the Paradise of the Prophet!” jabbered Najib, in a frenzy of gratitude, as he hugged the treasured gift to his breast. “And—and, howadji, there be more pictures I did not show. They will be of a nice convenience, if ever again it be needsome to make a new law for the mine.”
“Oh, happy and pretty decent hour!” chortled the little man, petting his beloved volume as if it were a loved child and executing a shuffling and improvised step-dance of unalloyed rapture. “This book has been donationed to me because I was brave enough to request for it while yet your heart was warm at me, howadji. It is even as your sainted feringhee proverb says: ’Never put off till to-morrow the—the—man who may be done, to-day!’”
By EDISON MARSHALL
From Everybody’s Magazine
An elephant is old on the day he is born, say the natives of Burma, and no white man is ever quite sure just what they mean. Perhaps they refer to his pink, old-gentleman’s skin and his droll, fumbling, old-man ways and his squeaking treble voice. And maybe they mean he is born with a wisdom such as usually belongs only to age. And it is true that if any animal in the world has had a chance to acquire knowledge it is the elephant, for his breed are the oldest residents of this old world.