And when two days were over, Japhet said,
“Mother, so please you, get a wife for me.”
The mother answered, “Dost thou mock me, son?
’Tis not the manner of our kin to wed
So young. Thou knowest it; art thou not ashamed?
Thou carest not for a wife.” And the youth blushed,
And made for answer: “This, my father, saith
The doom is nigh; now therefore find a maid,
Or else shall I be wifeless all my days.
And as for me, I care not; but the lands
Are parted, and the goodliest share is mine.
And lo! my brethren are betrothed; their maids
Are with thee in the house. Then why not mine?
Didst thou not diligently search for these
Among the noblest born of all the earth,
And bring them up? My sisters, dwell they not
With women that bespake them for their sons?
Now, therefore, let a wife be found for me,
Fair as the day, and gentle to my will
As thou art to my father’s.” When she heard,
Niloiya sighed, and answered, “It is well.”
And Japhet went out from her presence.
Quoth the great Master: “Wherefore sought ye not,
Woman, these many days, nor tired at all,
Till ye had found, a maiden for my son?
In this ye have done ill.” Niloiya said:
“Let not my lord be angry. All my soul
Is sad: my lord hath walked afar so long,
That some despise thee; yea, our servants fail
Lately to bring their stint of corn and wood.
And, sir, thy household slaves do steal away
To thy great father, and our lands lie waste,—
None till them: therefore think the women scorn
To give me,—whatsoever gems I send,
And goodly raiment,—(yea, I seek afar,
And sue with all desire and humbleness
Through every master’s house, but no one gives)—
A daughter for my son.” With that she ceased.
Then said the Master: “Some thou hast with
Brought up among thy children, dutiful
And fair; thy father gave them for my slaves,—
Children of them whom he brought captive forth
From their own heritage.” And she replied,
Right scornfully: “Shall Japhet wed a slave?”
Then said the Master: “He shall wed: look thou
To that. I say not he shall wed a slave;
But by the might of One that made him mine,
I will not quit thee for my doomed way
Until thou wilt betroth him. Therefore, haste,
Beautiful woman, loved of me and mine,
To bring a maiden, and to say, ’Behold
A wife for Japhet.’” Then she answered, “Sir,
It shall be done.”
And forth Niloiya sped.
She gathered all her jewels,—all she held
Of costly or of rich,—and went and spake
With some few slaves that yet abode with her,
For daily they were fewer; and went forth,
With fair and flattering words, among her feres,
And fain had wrought with them: and she had hope