Then said the king, “Bring the contents of the jar hither to me.” And the messenger returned and brought the toad.
But when the king laid hold upon the toad, it spat in his face; and he was poisoned and died.
Then the toad sat upon the king’s mouth, and would not be enticed away. And every one feared to touch it because it spat poison. And they called the wise men of the council; and they performed certain rites to charm away the toad, and yet it would not go.
But after three days, the master of the toad came to the palace, and without saying who he was, he desired to be permitted to try and get the toad from the corpse of the king.
And when he was taken into the king’s chamber, he stood and beckoned to the toad, saying, “The person of the king and the bodies of the dead are sacred, wherefore come away.”
And the toad crawled from the king’s face and came to him, and did not spit at him; and he put it back into the jar.
Then said the wise men, “There is no one so fit to succeed to the kingdom as this man is; both for wisdom of speech and for the power of command.”
And what they said pleased the people; and the young man was made king. And in due time he married an amiable and talented princess, and had children. And he ruled the kingdom well and wisely, and was beloved till his death.
Now when, after the lapse of many years, he died, there was great grief among the people, and his body was laid out in his own room, and the people were permitted to come and look upon his face for the last time.
And among the crowd there appeared an aged Jew. And he did not weep as did the others; but he came and stood by the bier, and gazed upon the face of the dead king in silence. And after a while he exclaimed, and said:
“Oh, wonderful spectacle! A man, and not covetous. A ruler, and not oppressive. Contented in poverty, and moderate in wealth. Elect of the people, and beloved to the end!”
And when he had said this, he again became silent, and stood as one astonished.
And no one knew when he came in, nor perceived when he departed.
But when they came to search for the china jar, it was gone, and could never afterwards be found.
THE FIRST WIFE’S WEDDING-RING.
Many years ago, there lived a certain worthy man who was twice married. By his first wife he had a son, who soon after his mother’s death resolved to become a soldier, and go to foreign lands. “When one has seen the world, one values home the more,” said he; “and if I live I shall return.”
So the father gave him a blessing, and his mother’s wedding-ring, saying, “Keep this ring, and then, however long you stay away, and however changed you may become, by this token I shall know you to be my true son and heir.”
In a short time the father married again, and by this marriage also he had one son.