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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Hakem put his mouth to Wasik's ear


"Not so, O compassionate fellow-believer; will you drive away a stranger whom the excellent Khalid has led here, craving bounty? Allah will requite tenfold any mercy. See, I am but just come from Mecca. Behold a flask of water from the holy well Zemzem, sovereign remedy for the toothache. I ask nothing. Let me but sit awhile in the cool of the porch. I am parched with the heat of the way."

Hakem had reputation for being a pious personage.

"Let the worthy pilgrim come in!" he commanded, the porter obeying. Wasik had his doubts.

"This is Saturday, the most unlucky day; beware!" he muttered.

But Hakem would have none of him. Behind Khalid there entered a tottering fellow, bent with age, gray and unkempt; a patch over one eye, his blue kaftan sadly tattered, his turban a faded yellow shawl. He swung a huge hempen sack over one shoulder and trailed a heavy staff.

"Allah requite you and your house!" was his salutation, as he dropped heavily upon the divan under the shaded arcade.

"And you also," replied Hakem, ever generous at his master's expense. "Be refreshed. Eat this cool melon and be strengthened."

The pilgrim put aside the plate. "Give to Khalid. Alas! I can eat nothing that was not eaten by the Prophet (Allah favor and preserve him!); such is the rule of my order of devotees. And who may say the Apostle did or did not eat the rind of a melon!" The eunuchs laid their heads together.

"A very holy man!" "A most worthy sheik; a true saint; a _welee_!" their whispered opinions. So they kissed the old man's hand; called him "father"; brought sherbet, dates, and bread. After the stranger had eaten and edified them all by his pious conversation, presently his one eye began to twinkle very brightly, and he started to unpack his sack. Suddenly he drew forth a long iron spike, and plunged it down his throat to the very butt; then drew it out, laughing dryly at the wide eyes of the eunuchs. "Verily," cried he, "I am versed in 'high' magic--the noble art handed by the obedient angels and genii to devout Moslems. I know the 'great name' of Allah, uttering which bears me instantly to the farthest corner of the world; see!" A puff of smoke blew from his mouth; a flash of fire followed. Hakem was all eyes when the sheik rose, drew from his sack a number of brazen pots, placed them on the pavement, blew a spark seemingly from his mouth, and the bowls gave forth a blue aromatic smoke. The eunuchs began to quake under their ebony skins. The sheik turned toward them.

"My sons--I show great marvels; many should see. Your master--away? But are there no 'flowers of beauty' in the harem who would admire the one-eyed Sheik Teydemeh, the greatest 'white' magician in all the land of Egypt?"

Hakem put his mouth to Wasik's ear. "Bring out Morgiana and the Greek. Let them be thickly veiled."

Wasik hesitated. "We are bidden to keep the Greek closely in the harem," he remarked.

"We are bidden to see that she does not pine away with naught but grief to think of. Bring both forth."

Before the magician had finished unburdening his mysterious sack, Wasik led in a lady all buried in silks and muslins. Hardly were her dark eyes visible under the veils. "I bring the Greek," whispered Wasik to Hakem; "she obeyed me like a dumb ox, but Morgiana is in her moods and will go nowhere."


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