Who was this kind merchant? Not a Mahomedan, but of the religion of the fire worshippers, or Parsees. Was he not like the good Samaritan of whom we read in the New Testament? O that Bahram, the merchant, might know the true God!
PILGRIMS AND BEGGARS.—Very often you may see a large company of Pilgrims some on foot, and some mounted on camels, horses, and asses. They are returning from Mecca, the birth-place of Mahomet. What good have they got by their pilgrimage? None at all. They think they are grown very holy, but they make such an uproar at the inns by quarrelling and fighting when they are travelling home, that no one can bear to be near them.
There is a set of beggars called dervishes. They call themselves very holy, and think people are bound to give money to such holy men. They are so bold that sometimes they refuse to leave a place till some money has been given.
Once a dervish stopped a long while before the house of the English ambassador, and refused to go away. But a plan was thought of to make him go away.
The dervish was sitting in a little niche in the wall. The ambassador ordered his servants to build up bricks to shut the dervish in. The men began to build, yet the dervish would not stir, till the bricks came up as high as his chin: then he began to be frightened, and said he would rather go away.
THE KING OF PERSIA.—He is called King of Kings. What a name for a man! It is the title of God alone. The king sits on a marble throne, and his garments sparkle with jewels of dazzling brightness. The walls of his state-chamber are covered with looking-glasses. One side of the room opens into a court adorned with flowers and fountains. Great part of his time is spent in amusements, such as hunting and shooting, writing verses, and hearing stories. He keeps a man called a story-teller, and he will never hear the same story repeated twice. It gives the man a great deal of trouble to find new stories every day. The king keeps jesters, who make jokes; and he has mimics, who play antics to make him laugh. He dines at eight in the evening from dishes of pure gold. No one is allowed to dine with him; but two of his little boys wait upon him, and his physician stands by to advise him not to eat too much.
Do you think he is happy in all his grandeur? Judge for yourself.
All his golden dishes come up covered and sealed. Why? For fear of poison. There is a chief officer in the kitchen who watches the cook, to see that he puts no poison into the food: and he seals up the dishes before they are taken to the king, in order that the servants may not put in poison as they are carrying them along. In what fear this great king lives! He cannot trust his own servants.
TEHERAN.—This is the royal city. It is built in a barren plain, and is exceedingly hot, as the hills around keep off the air. It is a mean city, for it is chiefly built of mud huts.