They have reported that the enemy’s cavalry was immense, and those of the king few in number; a body of them was inclined to fly, when the youth called aloud, and said, “Be resolute, my brave men, that you may not have to wear the apparel of women!” The troops were more courageous on this speech, and attacked altogether. I have heard that on that day they obtained a complete victory over the enemy. The king kissed his face and eyes, and folded him in his arms, and became daily more attached to him, till he declared him heir-apparent to the throne. The brothers bore him a grudge, and put poison into his food. His sister saw this from a window, and closed the shutter; and the boy understood the sign, and withdrew his hand from the dish, and said, “It is hard that the virtuous should perish and that the vicious should occupy their places.” Were the homayi, or phoenix, to be extinct in the world, none would take refuge under the shadow of an owl. They informed the father of this event; he sent for the brothers and rebuked them, as they deserved. Then he made a division of his domains, and gave a suitable portion to each, that discontent might cease; but the ferment was increased, as they have said: Ten dervishes can sleep on one rug, but two kings cannot be accommodated in a whole kingdom. When a man after God’s heart can eat the moiety of his loaf, the other moiety he will give in alms to the poor. A king may acquire the sovereignty of one climate or empire; and he will in like manner covet the possession of another.
A horde of Arab robbers had possessed themselves of the fastness of a mountain, and waylaid the track of the caravan. The yeomanry of the villages were frightened at their stratagems, and the king’s troops alarmed, inasmuch as they had secured an impregnable fortress on the summit of the mountain, and made this stronghold their retreat and dwelling.
The superintendents of the adjacent districts consulted together about obviating their mischief, saying: If they are in this way left to improve their fortune, any opposition to them may prove impracticable. The tree that has just taken root, the strength of one man may be able to extract; but leave it to remain thus for a time, and the machinery of a purchase may fail to eradicate it: the leak at the dam-head might have been stopped with a plug, while, now it has a vent, we cannot ford its current on an elephant.
Finally it was determined that they should set a spy over them, and watch an opportunity when they had made a sally upon another tribe, and left their citadel unguarded. Some companies of able warriors and experienced troops were sent, that they might conceal themselves in the recesses of the mountain. At night, when the robbers were returned, jaded with their march and laden with spoil, and had stripped themselves of their armor, and deposited their plunder, the foremost enemy they had to encounter was sleep. Now that the first watch of night was gone:—“the disc of the sun was withdrawn into a shade, and Jonas had stepped into the fish’s mouth “—the bold-hearted warriors sprang from their ambush and secured the robbers by pinioning them one after another.