The king unwillingly turned his eyes towards the fiery furnace, and from his elevation he could see its interior. He suddenly sprang to his feet, lifted his hands on high, and exclaimed, in affrightened tone:
“O ye gods, what do I behold! What do I behold, O ye gods!” Then, turning to his nobles, he exclaimed: “Do I fancy, or is it real? Turn your eyes on yonder flames! In their midst what behold ye? Speak!”
The nobles tremblingly replied:
“We see men walking unhurt in the midst of the fire, O king!”
“It is even so!” cried the monarch, in deep agitation. “It is not a delusion! It is a marvelous reality! But did we not cast in three men bound? And I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt! And the form of the fourth is like unto a son of the gods! Arise, let us hasten to the spot!”
The king, attended by a number of his nobles, and surrounded by the royal guard, was soon on his way towards the furnace. The thronging masses divided to give way to their sovereign. There were but few there that knew the cause of the king’s agitation. Those who witnessed his countenance attributed it to the awful death of Scribbo and Shagoth.
All eyes are fastened on the king. With a hurried pace he ascends the steps of the furnace. He has nearly reached the top. He stops. Now the vast assembly eagerly listen for a royal address. But why turns he not his face toward the throng? Regardless of the swaying masses, he lifts his hand on high—he speaks! Hark! “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth and come hither!”
At the conclusion of this, which seemed to the multitude an incomprehensible speech, there were but few present who did not inwardly pronounce the king to be laboring under a sudden fit of insanity.
While all is still and solemn, behold, arm in arm, the forms of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! A heavenly smile rests on their countenances. Already they have reached the top, and they stand in the presence of the wondering thousands. For a moment they cast a smiling glance on the throng below; then, with that ease of manner which always characterized them, they approach the king, and make their obeisance, with as much apparent good feeling as if nothing of an unkind nature had ever transpired. The king grasps them by the hand, and a mighty shout of good feeling and gladness resounds from thrice ten thousand tongues. The king then, turning to the multitude, in a loud voice exclaims:
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have yielded their bodies that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces; because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort. And now, by the command of the king, let that image be taken down, and let it be carried to the temple of Belus, and there, in a secluded part, let it remain.”