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THE TWO BROTHERS   nce upon a time there lived two brothers, who, when they were children, were so seldom apart that those who saw one always looked for the other at his heels. But when they had grown to manhood, and the time had come when they must make their own fortunes, the elder brother said to the younger: "Choose as you will what you shall do, and God bless your choice; but as for me I shall make haste to the court of the king,... more...

Persia is rich in folk lore. For hundreds and hundreds of years the stories in this book, and many others as well, have been told to the wondering boys and girls of that country, who, as they hear them, picture their native land as one of roses and tulips, where beautiful fairies build their castles in the rosy morn, and black gnomes fly around in the darkness of midnight. A land, too, where the sun gleams like a fire above the blue mountains,... more...

GAFFER DEATH. There was once a poor man who had twelve children, and he was obliged to labour day and night that he might earn food for them. When at length, as it so happened, a thirteenth came into the world, the poor man did not know how to help himself, so he ran out into the highway, determined to ask the first person he met to be godfather to the boy. There came stalking up to him Death, who said— "Take me for a godfather." "Who... more...

How He Came to KnowWhat the Birds Said   There is one thing that all the Birds are afraid of, and that is the thing that will happen when the Bird That Follows the Cuckoo flies into the Cuckoo's mouth. And what will happen then, asks my kind foster-child. When the Bird that Follows the Cuckoo flies into the Cuckoo's mouth the World will come to an end. All the Birds know that, but not all the People know it. Well, one day the Cuckoo... more...

The Arabian Nights Entertainments. The chronicles of the Sassanians, ancient kings of Persia, who extended their empire into the Indies, over all the adjacent islands, and a great way beyond the Ganges, as far as China, acquaint us, that there was formerly a king of that potent family, who was regarded as the most excellent prince of his time. He was as much beloved by his subjects for his wisdom and prudence, as he was dreaded by his... more...


The Talking Thrush       CERTAIN man had a garden, and in his garden he sowed cotton seeds. By-and-by the cotton seeds grew up into a cotton bush, with big brown pods upon it. These pods burst open when they are ripe; and you can see the fluffy white cotton bulging all white out of the pods. There was a Thrush in this garden, and the Thrush thought within herself how nice and soft the cotton looked. She plucked out some of it to... more...

THE GOLDEN BIRD A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples. These apples were always counted, and about the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and ordered the gardener to keep watch all night under the tree. The gardener set his eldest son to watch; but about twelve o'clock he fell asleep, and in the morning... more...

HOW THE HODJA SAVED ALLAH   ot far from the famous Mosque Bayezid an old Hodja kept a school, and very skilfully he taught the rising generation the everlasting lesson from the Book of Books. Such knowledge had he of human nature that by a glance at his pupil he could at once tell how long it would take him to learn a quarter of the Koran. He was known over the whole Empire as the best reciter and imparter of the Sacred Writings of the... more...

PART I. THE GREAT FIRE-MOUNTAIN. Long, long ago, when the earth was very young, two hunters were traveling through the forest. They had been on the track of a deer for many days, and they were now far away from the village where they lived. The sun went down and night came on. It was dark and gloomy, but over in the western sky there came a bright light. "It is the moon," said one. "No," said the other. "We have watched many and many a night... more...

THE BLUE MOON Nillywill and Hands-pansy were the most unimportant and happy pair of lovers the world has ever gained or lost. With them it had been a case of love at first blindness since the day when they had tumbled into each other's arms in the same cradle. And Hands-pansy, when he first saw her, did not discover that Nillywill was a real princess hiding her birthright in the home of a poor peasant; nor did Nillywill, when she first saw... more...