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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 417 pages of information about The Pacha of Many Tales.

“My boat was on the beach; my eyes were fixed upon it, in happy vacancy, until the shades of night prevented my discerning the nets which were spread upon its gunnel.  I turned round at the soft voice of my Etana, who was seated near me with her infant in her arms, and watching the little one’s impatience, as it would demand a more rapid flow of milk from that snowy breast, and the fond smile of the delighted mother, as she bent over the first dear pledge of our affection.  I felt happy—­almost too happy:  I had all I wished—­yes I had,”—­and the maniac paused and smote his forehead, “but it is past now.”

After a second or two he resumed—­

“For my part it has always been my opinion that when the wind backs to the south-east, the fish repair to the deep water; and if you will be careful when you gather the grapes not to throw in the stalks, that the wine will, as I before stated to your highness, only increase the extreme difficulty of ascertaining how far a man could conscientiously demand, that is to say, in proportion to the degree of intellect, stated at different intervals, and extending down the crags of the whole ravine.”

“I cannot, positively, understand a word of all this!” exclaimed the pacha, with irritation; “can you, Mustapha?”

“How is it possible for your slave to comprehend that which is concealed from the wisdom of your highness?”

“Very true,” replied the pacha.

“Your highness will understand it all by-and-bye,” observed the maniac; “but it will be necessary that you wait until I have finished the story, when it will all reel off like a skein of silk, which at present but appears to be ravelled.”

“Well then,” replied the pacha, “I wish you would begin at the end of your story, and finish with the beginning.  Now go on.”

“There is nought under heaven so interesting—­so graceful—­so pleasing to contemplate as a young mother with her first-born at her breast.  The soft lisps and caresses of childhood—­the expanding graces of the budding maiden—­the blushing, smiling, yet trembling bride, all lose in the comparison with woman in her beauty fulfilling her destiny on earth; her countenance radiating with those intense feelings of delight, which more than repay her for her previous hours of sorrow and of anguish.  But I’m afraid I tire your highness.”

“Wallah el Nebi!—­by God and his Prophet, you do indeed.  Is it all to be like that?”

“No! pacha.  I wish to heaven that it had been.  Merciful God!—­why didst thou permit the blow?—­Was not I grateful?—­Were not my eyes suffused with tears, springing from gratitude and love, at the very moment when they rushed in—­when their murdering weapons were pointed to my breast—­when the mother shrieked as they tore away the infant as a useless encumbrance, and dashed it to the ground—­when I caught it up, and the pistol of the savage Turk put an end to its existence?  I see it now, as I kissed the little ruby fountain which bubbled from its heart:  I see her too, as they bore her away senseless in their arms.  Pacha, in one short minute I was bereft of all—­wife, child, home, liberty, and reason; and here I am, a madman and a slave!”

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