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sun, and stretched forth into the blue sky, and increased and increased till he felt that he himself and the child were in the midst of the glory. In the deep and purple centre of the brightness he saw the winged form of an angel, and no sooner had he discovered it than his heart leaped: at hearing again, close to his side, the same mild and sweet voice calling him by name. He turned his head, and there stood before him a female of a stately form, and beauty not to be described. Her eyes had a pensive look, which told that sorrow and anxiety had once been her portion. Her dress was white as the newly-opened lily, and it trembled like a vapour in the heat of noon-tide. The old shepherd prostrated himself to the earth before the vision.
“Ben Hafiz (said the being of that golden eternity) thou hast done well in protecting the babe that was cast upon the waters: continue the good work, and follow strictly the instructions I am about to give thee. The ring thou must preserve constantly hung round the neck of Narina, or thine own; and whenever thou requirest instruction or guidance from heaven, thou hast need only, as upon the present occasion, to put it upon the forefinger of thy right hand, and immediately thy wants shall be supplied. The dagger must always be kept in thy bosom next to thy heart; and the silver-feathered shoes thou must desire thy wife Sherzaran to place every day at the foot of the little Narina's bed, and never remove them from that spot. But above all things I charge thee (and here the voice of the spirit faltered with solemnity and earnestness), if a strange man with light golden hair, and straw-coloured beard, ever chance to seek the child in this place, allow him no communion with her, and should he claim her as his own, resist his will to the uttermost, as if she were the last begotten of thy old age, the cherished one of thy bosom. Thou hast but to summon me with the ring, and I will be present with the performance of the act: that ring alone links me with the earth; preserve it, therefore, and I can ever attend to guard thee and the babe; lose it, and all power is for ever taken from me to hold converse with mortality. A dreadful gulph will then be drawn between me and all on earth, whom in the spirit I love as when my dwelling was among them in the flesh. Farewell—be constant to your trust, and you will be happy."
“O sacred companion of my father's spirit,” said Ben Hafiz, “grant to thy servant the knowledge of thy former state.” At this moment the shade of evening fell upon them, as of a cloud passing over a field : the glory dispersed; and looking up he saw nothing but a bright spot above the mountain head, and in the centre of it the same silver dove he had before beheld, speeding her way. Ben Hafiz on his knee, and the child holding fast his hand, remained fixedly gazing till the golden light had melted into the dark blue.
Nearly four years of the life of the little Princess Narina had passed away since we last left her with her old guardian, following with their eyes the flitting form of her preserving angel. During all this while the store of Ben Hafiz had improved and multiplied wonderfully; the valley in which
he lived was watered abundantly with the dews of heaven; the grass was greenest in all the country round; his sheep were always healthy—he never lost one either by straying or rapine-the jackal and the vulture came not near his fold—a heavenly Shepherd watched over and preserved the flock. Their wool was so fine, that it was purchased for the king of that country and the lords of his court. Ben Hafiz, with his wife Sherzaran, and their little child of the sea, were the happiest creatures in the world; his daily labour was a pastime; her duties in the cottage were never so quickly and pleasantly performed as since the time she had fostered the outcast and stranger child; while the days of Narina were spent either with the good dame at her spinning-wheel, or in her own little garden of roses, which bloomed as no roses ever bloomed before; or with the nightingales, whose songs she loved to hearken to, and whose wings she longed to have, that she might fly away with the blessed silver dove which daily made a circuit of their valley, and ended with three times fluttering round the cottage, and then darting off with the quickness of thought. She also passed a large portion of her time with gentle old Ben Hafiz, from whose simple wisdom she learned, that kindness to everything that breathes returned to the giver the truest and greatest happiness.
One evening, towards sunset, while he was mending the wattles that were to fold his flock for the night, and was humming a little hymn of thanks to the sinking sun for the blessings he had enjoyed through the day, he was startled at hearing the voice of one close to his side, and, upon turning round, he saw an old pedlar, who entreated him to purchase some of his wares. Ben Hafiz, at first, wondered how he could have come upon him so suddenly without his having noticed his approach; continuing his occupation, however, and taking but slight notice of the stranger's appearance, he told him that he himself wanted none of his articles, but that, perhaps the dame in the cottage hard by might take a fancy to some of them. The pedlar turned upon his heel towards the hut, and the good old shepherd pursued his even-song.
“A fair evening to you, dame," said the traveller, “and many of them," as he cautiously thrust his head and shoulders into the room: “do you please to want any good whole. some medicines and drugs, or good oil of roses, or knittingneedles, or any choice necklaces? I have a large assortment. And if you have any fleece to dispose of I will exchange with you. I know your wool fetches a good price at market, and you will find my wares as fine of their kind. If once you deal with me, I am sure I shall have you for a regular customer. I have been many years a travelling merchant about this part of the country, and all the great folks buy of me.”
“What you tell me may be very true,” said the worthy old Sherzaran, “but I never deal with strangers for my fleeces; I can always sell them at a good market, and I am not fond of changing about. You may be no stranger in this country, but," and then she looked him steadily in the face—"you are quite a stranger to me. No, good man, I do not want any of your wares.”
At this moment the little Narina came trotting in, and the old dame observed that the pedlar's face changed to a frightful wolf-like expression as he caught sight of her. Then, in a moment, smoothing his brow with an innocent