“The servant of my lord Ashpenaz will always be happy to do all in his power for the comfort and happiness of those from Judah; and any message to my lord I am ready to convey.”
“The message is this: Daniel, of the captivity of Judah, asks the favor of a short interview with his kind lord, Ashpenaz.”
The servant respectfully bowed and departed, and, in a few moments, Daniel stood in the presence of his kind friend.
“And what is the pleasure of my young friend from Judah?”
Here Daniel explained, in an eloquent manner, the objections he and his three companions had to partaking of the portion of the king’s meat and the wine which he drank.
“This is rather a delicate point, my young friend,” answered Ashpenaz, with a degree of perplexity visible on his countenance. “If your meat and drink were of my own appointment, your request could be granted with the greatest ease and pleasure; but since the order comes from the king, I see not how it can be granted without disobedience to superior orders. The king desires to give you every opportunity to improve, if possible, your appearance. I fear my lord the king. For why should he see your faces worse looking than the children which are of your degree? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.”
“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days,” said Daniel, turning towards Melzar, “and let them give us vegetable food, and pure cold water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenances of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat; and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.”
“Well,” replied Ashpenaz, smiling, “if the king’s object is accomplished, I trust he is not tenacious about the article of food; so, Melzar, let our young friends be gratified in this respect. Let them have a trial of ten days, and, if at the end of that time they have retained their beauty and freshness, let them be fed with vegetables.”
“Permit me, in the absence of my three cousins, to offer their gratitude, with my own, to our noble lord for his kind favor,” said Daniel, gracefully bowing himself out of the apartment.
The morning of the tenth day dawned upon our Hebrew captives. Their days of trial were soon over, and they felt no fear of the scrutinizing gaze of Melzar. Health and beauty played on their fair cheeks, and they were well prepared for the inspection; and Melzar declared, with due humility, in their presence, that such countenances were not to be found in all Babylon. Now, Melzar was an excellent judge of beauty.
Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink, and gave them pulse.
As both Barzello and his daughter were highly esteemed in Babylon, Perreeza made many delightful acquaintances and was much sought after. She was happy in her new life, and by her many accomplishments and sweet disposition greatly endeared herself to her new found friends.