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Many ages ago, when the world was younger, and wicked magicians had power; when good fairies, with a busy kindness, went about giving comfort to sorrowing mothers, and weaving lucky spells to keep orphan babes from the harms of the evilone; there dwelt near the shores of the Persian sea, an old shepherd and his wife: their names were Ben Hafiz and Sherzaran. All their wealth consisted in a small flock of sheep, and all their comfort in health, cheerfulness, and two loving hearts. They did not know the pains of hunger, for, like their flock, their food grew at their feet; and the same source brought them clothing. They possessed neither gold nor silver. They arose with the first whistle of the earliest bird, when they constantly went forth to a hill-top that overlooked their little cottage, and, with holy hearts, waited the coming up of the golden sun. After they had said a short and simple hymn of praise and thanksgiving for being allowed to share the glories of another day, they returned to fulfil the duties of it; he to the tending of his flock; she to her spinning and housewifery. When the labours of the day were over, and the rays of the sun began to make long shadows, they sat down to their supper of new milk and household cakes; which having finished, they returned thanks for the comforts that had fallen to their lot; and, when the mountain-tops looked black in the grey sky, both they and the young lamb lay down to sleep.

It happened one clear and shiny morning, as Ben Hafiz was searching among the caverns in the neighbourhood of the sea-shore, for a lamb that had strayed from his fold, chancing to turn his eye towards the sea, whose green plain was gently ruffled into white and gold streaks by the morning sun and breeze, he perceived at the distance of two bowshots from the shore, a black object, which, at first, he thought might be a remnant of some shipwreck. After a few minutes' watching, he found that it floated towards the land, and, therefore, resolved to wait its arrival. As it came closer in he observed a silver-winged dove flying round and round it, sometimes stooping towards it like a gull, and at others, hovering over it like a hawk watching for prey. When this thing had come within wading distance from the beach, Ben Hafiz went into the sea to secure his prize; and all the while this silver dove fluttered over his head, singing a low and tender note of joy. No sooner had he secured the object of his curiosity which proved to be a black chest, with holes in the top of it, than the bird changed into a colour of the most dazzling gold, and, circled with a rainbow, vanished into the blue heaven. The old shepherd, with one hand upon the chest, and up to his middle in the sea, stood looking towards heaven, and pondering the glory of this vision, when a small cry proceeded

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