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Far Off eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 204 pages of information about Far Off.

It is curious to see the people who have been sleeping on the roof get up in the morning.  First they roll up their mattrasses, their coverlids, and pillows, and put them in the house.  The children cannot fold up theirs, but their mothers or black slaves do it for them.  The men repeat their prayers, and then drink a cup of coffee, which their wives present to them.  The wives kneel as they offer the cup to their lords, and stand with their hands crossed while their lords are drinking, then kneel down again to receive the cup, and to kiss their lords’ hand.  Then the men take their pipes, and lounge on their cushions, while the women say their prayers.  And when do the children say their prayers?  Never.  They know only of Mahomet; they know not the Saviour who said, “Suffer little children to come unto me.”

    [4] It is remarkable that this mountain lies at the point where
        three great empires meet, namely, Russia, Persia, and Turkey.

PERSIA.

Is this country mentioned in the Bible?  Yes; we read of Cyrus, the king of Persia.  Isaiah spoke of him before he was born, and called him by his name.  See chapter xlv.

Persia is now a Mahomedan country.  The Turks, you remember, are Mahomedans too.  Perhaps you think those two nations, the Turks and the Persians, must agree well together, as they are of the same religion.  Far from it.  No nations hate one another more than Turks and Persians do; and the reason is, that though they both believe in Mahomet, they disagree about his son-in law, Ali.  The Persians are very fond of him, and keep a day of mourning in memory of his death; whereas the Turks do not care for Ali at all.

But is this a reason why they should hate one another so much?

Even in their common customs the Persians differ from the Turks.  The Turks sit cross-legged on the ground; the Persians sit upon their heels.  Which way of sitting should you prefer?  I think you would find it more comfortable to sit like a Turk.

The Turks sit on sofas and lean against cushions; the Persians sit on carpets and lean against the wall.  I know you would prefer the Turkish fashion.  The Turks drink coffee without either milk or sugar; the Persians drink tea with sugar, though without milk.  The Turks wear turbans; the Persians wear high caps of black lamb’s-wool.

Not only are their customs different; but their characters.  The Turks are grave and the Persians lively.  The Turks are silent, the Persians talkative.  The Turks are rude, the Persians polite.  Now I am sure you like the Persians better than the Turks.  But wait a little—­the Turks are very proud; the Persians are very deceitful.  An old Persian was heard to say, “We all tell lies whenever we can.”  The Persians are not even ashamed when their falsehoods are found out.  When they sell they ask too much; when they make promises they break them.  In short, it is impossible to trust a Persian.

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