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about; it was but one chance in a million."

"'A chance - the eternal God that chance did guide,'" quoted Dr.
Kingsley, in his quiet, gentle voice.

"What lots we'll have to tell Ned! O boys, do let's cheer!" cried
Selwyn eagerly, springing to his feet. "Here goes - three cheers for
Uncle Geof and dear papa, and a big, big 'tiger' for his 'ludship!'"


Once upon a time the Emperor of Rome had a beautiful daughter named
Constance. She was so fair to look on, that far and wide, she was
spoken of as "the beautiful princess." But, better than that, she was
so good and so saintly that everybody in her father's dominions loved
her, and often they forgot to call her "the beautiful princess," but
called her instead, "Constance the good."

All the merchants who came thither to buy and sell goods, carried away
to other countries accounts of Constance, her beauty, and her holiness.
One day there came to Rome some merchants from Syria, with shiploads of
cloths of gold, and satins rich in hue, and all kinds of spicery, which
they would sell in the Roman markets. While they abode here, the fame
of Constance came to their ears, and they sometimes saw her lovely face
as she went about the city among the poor and suffering, and were so
pleased with the sight that they could talk of nothing else when they
returned home; so that, after a while, their reports came to the ear of
the Soldan of Syria, their ruler, and he sent to the merchants to hear
from their lips all about the fair Roman maiden.

As soon as he heard this story, this Soldan began secretly to love the
fair picture which his fancy painted of the good Constance, and he shut
himself up to think off her, and to study how he could gain her for his

At length he sent to all his wise men, and called them together in

"You have heard," he said to them, "of the beauty and goodness of the
Roman princess. I desire her for my wife. So cast about quickly for
some way by which I may win her."

Then all the wise men were horrified; because Constance was a
Christian, while the Syrians believed in Mohammed as their sacred
prophet. One wise man thought the Soldan had been bewitched by some
fatal love-charm brought from Rome. Another explained that some of the
stars in the heavens were out of place, and had been making great
mischief among the planets which governed the life of the Soldan. One
had one explanation and one another, but to all the Soldan only
answered, - "All these words avail nothing. I shall die if I may not
have Constance for my wife."

One of the wise men then said plainly, - "But the Emperor of Rome will
not give his daughter to any but a Christian."

When the Soldan heard that he cried joyfully: "O, if that is all, I
will straight-way turn Christian, and all my kingdom with me."

So they sent an ambassador to the Emperor to know if he would give his
daughter to the Soldan of Syria, if he and all his people would turn
Christian. And the Emperor, who was very devout, and thought he ought
to use all means to spread his religion, answered that he would.

So poor little Constance, like a white lamb chosen for a sacrifice, was
made ready to go to Syria. A fine ship was prepared, and with a
treasure for her dowry, beautiful clothes, and hosts of attendants, she
was put on board.

She herself was pale with grief and weeping at parting from her home
and her own dear mother. But she was so pious and devoted that she was
willing to go if it would make Syria a good Christian land. So, as
cheerfully as she could, she set sail.

Now the Soldan had a very wicked mother, who was all the time angry in
her heart that the Soldan had become a Christian. Before Constance
arrived in Syria she called together all the lords in the kingdom whom
she knew to be friendly to him. She told them of a plot she had made
to kill the Soldan and all those who changed their religion with him,
as soon as the bride bad come. They all agreed to this dreadful plot,
and then the old Soldaness went smiling and bland, to the Soldan's

"My dear son," she said, "at last I am resolved to become a Christian;
I am surprised I have been blind so long to the beauty of this new
faith. And, in token of our agreement about it, I pray you will honor
me by attending with your bride at a great feast which I shall make for

The Soldan was overjoyed to see his mother so amiable. He knelt at her
feet and kissed her hand, saying, - "Now, my dear mother, my happiness
is full, since you are reconciled to this marriage. And Constance and
I will gladly come to your feast."

Then the hideous old hag went away, nodding and mumbling, - "Aha!
Mistress Constance, white as they call you, you shall be dyed so red
that all the water in your church font shall not wash you clean again!"

Constance came soon after, and there was great feasting and
merry-making, and the Soldan was very happy.

Then the Soldaness gave her great feast, and while they sat at the
table, her soldiers came in and killed the Soldan and all the lords who
were friendly to him, and slaughtered so many that the banquet hall
swam ankle deep in blood.

But they did not slay Constance. Instead, they bore her to the sea and
put her on board her ship all alone, with provisions for a long
journey, and then set her adrift on the wide waters.

So she sailed on, drifting past many shores, out into the limitless
ocean, borne on by the billows, seeing the day dawn and the sun set,
and never meeting living creature. All alone on a wide ocean! drifting
down into soft southern seas where the warm winds always blew, then
driving up into frozen waters where green, glittering icebergs sailed
solemnly past the ship, so near, it seemed as if they would crush the
frail bark to atoms.

So for three long years, day and night, winter and summer, this lonely
ship went on, till at length the winds cast it on the English shores.

As soon as the ship stranded, the governor of the town, with his wife
and a great crowd of people, came to see this strange vessel. They
were all charmed with the sweet face of Constance, and Dame Hennegilde,
the governor's wife, on the instant loved her as her life. So this
noble couple took her home and made much of her. But Constance was so
mazed with the peril she had passed that she could scarcely remember
who she was or whence she came, and could answer naught to all their

While she lived with the good Hennegilde, a young knight began to love
her, and sued for her love in return. But he was so wicked that
Constance would not heed him. This made him very angry. He swore in
his heart that he would have revenge. He waited until one night when
the governor was absent, and going into the room where Dame Hennegilde
lay, with Constance sleeping in the same chamber, this wicked knight
killed the good lady. Then he put the dripping knife into the hand of
Constance, and smeared her face and clothes with blood, that it might
appear she had done the deed.

When the governor returned and saw this dreadful sight, he knew not
what to think. Yet, even then, he could not believe Constance was
guilty. He carried her before the king to be judged. This king, Alla,
was very tender and good, and when he saw Constance standing in the
midst of the people, with her frightened eyes looking appealing from
one to another like a wounded deer who is chased to its death, his
heart was moved with pity.

The governor and all his people told how Constance had loved the
murdered lady, and what holy words she had taught. All except the real
murderer, who kept declaring she was the guilty one, believed her

The king asked her, "Have you any champion who could fight for you?"

At this Constance, falling on her knees, cried out that she had no
champion but God, and prayed that He would defend her innocence.

"Now," cried the king, "bring the holy book which was brought from
Brittany by my fathers, and let the knight swear upon it that the
maiden is guilty."

So they brought the book of the Gospels, and the knight kissed it, but
as soon as he began to take the oath he was felled down as by a
terrible blow, and his neck was found broken and his eyes burst from
his head. Before them all, in great agony, he died, confessing his
guilt and the innocence of Constance.

King Alla had been much moved by the beauty of Constance and her
innocent looks, and now she was proved guiltless, all his heart went
out to her. And when he asked her to become his queen she gladly
consented, for she loved him because he had pitied and helped her.
They were soon married amidst the great rejoicing of the people, and
the king and all the land became converted to the Christian faith.

This king also had a mother, named Donegilde, an old heatheness, no
less cruel than the mother of the Soldan. She hated Constance because
she had been made queen though for fear of her son's wrath she dared
not molest her.

After his honeymoon, King Alla went northward to do battle with the
Scots, who were his foemen, leaving his wife in charge of a bishop and
the good governor, the husband of the murdered Hennegilde. While he
was absent heaven sent Constance a beautiful little son, whom she named

As soon as the babe was born, the governor sent a messenger to the king
with a letter telling him of his good fortune. Now it happened this
messenger was a courtier, who wished to keep on good terms with all the
royal family. So, as soon as he got the letter, he went to Donegilde,
the king's mother, and asked her if she had any message to send her son.

Donegilde was very courteous and begged him to wait till next morning,
while she got her message ready. She plied the man with wine and
strong liquor till evening, when he slept so fast that nothing could
wake him. While he was asleep she opened his letters and read all that
the governor had written. Then this wicked old woman wrote to Alla
that his wife Constance was a witch who had bewitched him and all his
people, but now her true character became plain, and she had given
birth to a horrible, fiend-like creature, who, she said, was his son.
This she put in place of the governor's letter, and dispatched the
messenger at dawn.

King Alla was nearly heart-broken when he read these bad tidings, but
he wrote back to wait all things till he returned, and to harm neither
Constance nor her son. Back rode the messenger to Donegilde once
again. She played her tricks over again and got him sound asleep.
Then she took the king's letter and put one in its place commanding the
governor to put Constance and her child aboard the ship in which she
came to these shores and set her afloat.

The good governor could hardly believe his eyes when he read these
orders, and the tears ran over his cheeks for grief. But he dared not
disobey what he supposed was the command of his king and master, so he
made the vessel ready and went and told Constance what he must do.

She, poor soul, was almost struck dumb with grief. Then, kneeling
before the governor, she cried, with many tears, -

"If I must go again on the cruel seas, at least this poor little
innocent, who has done no evil, may be spared. Keep my poor baby till
his father comes back, and perchance he will take pity on him."

But the governor dared not consent, and Constance must go to the ship,
carrying her babe in her arms. Through the street she walked, the
people following her with tears, she with eyes fixed on heaven and the
infant sobbing on her bosom. Thus she went on board ship and drifted
away again.

Now, for another season, she went about at the mercy of winds and
waves, in icy waters where winds whistled through the frozen rigging,
and down into tropical seas where she lay becalmed for months in the
glassy water. Then fresh breezes would spring up and drive her this
way or that, as they listed. But this time she had her babe for
comfort, and he grew to be a child near five years old before she was
rescued. And this is the way it happened. When the Emperor of Rome
heard of the deeds the cruel Soldaness had done, and how his daughter's
husband had been slain, he sent an army to Syria, and all these years
they had besieged the royal city till it was burnt and destroyed. Now
the fleet, returning to Rome, met the ship in which Constance sailed,
and they fetched her and her child to her native country. The senator
who commanded the fleet was her uncle, but he knew her not, and she did
not make herself known. He took her into his own house, and her aunt,
the senator's wife, loved her greatly, never guessing she was her own
princess and kinswoman.

When King Alla got back from his war with the Scots and heard how
Constance had been sent away, he was very angry; but when he questioned
and found the letter which had been sent him was false, and that
Constance had borne him a beautiful boy, he knew not what to think.
When the governor showed him the letter with his own seal which
directed that his wife and child should be sent away, he knew there was
some hidden wickedness in all this. He forced the messenger to tell
where he had carried the letters, and he confessed he had slept two
nights at the castle of Donegilde.

So it all came out, and the king, in a passion of rage, slew his
mother, and then shut himself up in his castle to give way to grief.

After a time he began to repent his deed, because he remembered it was
contrary to the gentle teachings of the faith Constance had taught him.
In his penitence he resolved to go to Rome on a pilgrimage to atone for
his sin. So in his pilgrim dress he set out for the great empire.

Now when it was heard in Rome that the great Alla from the North-land
had come thither on a Christian pilgrimage, all the noble Romans vied
to do him honor. Among others, the senator with whom Constance abode
invited him to a great banquet which he made for him. While Alla sat
at this feast, his eyes were constantly fixed upon a beautiful boy, one
of the senator's pages, who stood near and filled their goblets with
wine. At length he said to his host, - "Pray tell me, whence came the
boy who serves you? Who is he, and do his father and mother live in
the country?"

"A mother he has," answered the senator: "so holy a woman never was
seen. But if he has a father I cannot tell you." Then he went on and
told the king of Constance, and how she was found with this bey, her
child, on the pathless sea.

Alla was overjoyed in his heart, for he knew then that this child was
his own son. Immediately they sent for Constance to come thither. As
soon as she saw her husband, she uttered a cry and fell into a deep
swoon. When she was recovered she looked reproachfully at Alla, for
she supposed it was by his order she had been so ruthlessly sent from
his kingdom. But when, with many tears of pity for her misfortunes,
King Alla told her how he had grieved for her, and how long he had
suffered thus, she was convinced.

Then they embraced each other, and were so happy that no other
happiness, except that of heavenly spirits, could ever equal theirs.

After this, she made herself known to the Emperor, her father, who had
great rejoicing over his long-lost daughter, whom he had thought dead.
For many weeks Rome was full of feasting, and merry-making, and
happiness. These being over, King Alla, with his dear wife, returned
to his kingdom of England, where they lived in great happiness all the
rest of their days.



Painfully toiled the camels over the burning sands of Arabia. Weary
and thirsty were they, for they had not for days had herbage to crop,
or water to drink, as they trod, mile after mile, the barren waste,
where the sands glowed red like a fiery sea. And weary were the
riders, exhausted with toil and heat, for they dared not stop to rest.
The water which they carried with them was almost spent; some of the
skins which had held it flapped empty against the sides of the camels,
and too well the travelers knew that if they loitered on their way, all
must perish of thirst.

Amongst the travelers in that caravan was a Persian, Sadi by name, a
tall, strong man, with black beard, and fierce, dark eye. He urged his
tired camel to the side of that of the foremost Arab, the leader and
guide of the rest, and after pointing fiercely toward one of the
travelers a little behind him, thus he spake:

"Dost thou know that yon Syrian Yusef is a dog of a Christian, a
kaffir?" (Kaffir - unbeliever - is a name of contempt given by Moslems,
the followers of the false Prophet, to those who worship our Lord.)

"I know that the hakeem (doctor) never calls on the name of the
Prophet," was the stern reply.

"Dost thou know," continued Sadi, "that Yusef rides the best camel in
the caravan, and has the fullest water-skin, and has shawls and
merchandise with him?"

The leader cast a covetous glance toward the poor Syrian traveler, who
was generally called the hakeem because of the medicines which he gave,
and the many cures which he wrought.

"He has no friends here," said the wicked Sadi; "if he were cast from
his camel and left here to die, there would be none to inquire after
his fate; for who cares what becomes of a dog of a kaffir?"

I will not further repeat the cruel counsels of this bad man, but I
will give the reason for the deadly hatred which he bore toward the
poor hakeem. Yusef had defended the cause of a widow whom Sadi had
tried to defraud; and Sadi's dishonesty being found out, he had been
punished with stripes, which he had but too well deserved. Therefore
did he seek to ruin the man who had brought just punishment on him,
therefore he resolved to destroy Yusef by inducing his Arab comrades to
leave him to die in the desert.

Sadi had, alas! little difficulty in persuading the Arabs that it was
no great sin to rob and desert a Christian. Just as the fiery sun was
sinking over the sands, Yusef, who was suspecting treachery, but knew
not how to escape from it, was rudely dragged off his camel, stripped
of the best part of his clothes, and, in spite of his earnest
entreaties, left to die in the terrible waste. It would have been less
cruel to slay him at once.

"Oh! leave me at least water - water!" exclaimed the poor victim of
malice and hatred.

"We'll leave you nothing but your own worthless drugs, hakeem! - take
that!" cried Sadi, as he flung at Yusef's head a tin case containing a
few of his medicines.

Then bending down from Yusef's camel, which he himself had mounted,
Sadi hissed out between his clenched teeth, "Thou hast wronged me - I
have repaid thee, Christian! this is a Moslem's revenge!"

They had gone, the last camel had disappeared from the view of Yusef;
darkness was falling around, and he remained to suffer alone, to die
alone, amidst those scorching-sands! The Syrian's first feeling was
that of despair, as he stood gazing in the direction of the caravan
which he could no longer see. Then Yusef lifted up his eyes to the sky
above him: in its now darkened expanse shone the calm evening star,
like a drop of pure light.

Yusef, in thinking over his situation, felt thankful that he had not
been deprived of his camel in an earlier part of his journey, when he
was in the midst of the desert. He hoped that he was not very far from
its border, and resolved, guided by the stars, to walk as far as his
strength would permit, in the faint hope of reaching a well, and the
habitations of men. It was a great relief to him that the burning
glare of day was over: had the sun been still blazing over his head, he
must soon have sunk and fainted by the way. Yusef picked up the small
case of medicines which Sadi in mockery had flung at him; he doubted
whether to burden himself with it, yet was unwilling to leave it
behind. "I am not likely to live to make use of this, and yet - who
knows?" said Yusef to himself, as, with the case in his hand, he
painfully struggled on over the wide expanse of dreary desert. "I will
make what efforts I can to preserve the life which God has given."

Struggling against extreme exhaustion, his limbs almost sinking under
his weight, Yusef pressed on his way, till a glowing red line in the
east showed where the blazing sun would soon rise. What was his eager
hope and joy on seeing that red line broken by some dark pointed
objects that appeared rise out of the sand. New strength seemed given
to the weary man, for now his ear caught the welcome sound of the bark
of a dog, and then the bleating of sheep.

"God be praised!" exclaimed Yusef, "I, am near the abodes of men!"

Exerting all his powers, the Syrian, made one great effort to reach the
black tents which he now saw distinctly in broad daylight, and which he
knew must belong to some tribe of wandering Bedouin Arabs: he tottered
on for a hundred yards, and then sank exhausted on the sand.

But the Bedouins had seen the poor, solitary stranger, and as
hospitality is one of their leading virtues, some of these wild sons of
the desert now hastened toward Yusef. They raised him, they held to
his parched lips a most delicious draught of rich camel's milk. The
Syrian felt as if he were drinking in new life, and was so much revived
by what he had taken, that he was able to accompany his preservers to
the black goat's-hair tent of their Sheik or chief, an elderly man of
noble aspect, who welcomed the stranger kindly.

Yusef had not been long in that tent before he found that he had not
only been guided to a place of safety, but to the very place where his
presence was needed. The sound of low moans made him turn his eyes
toward a dark corner of the tent. There lay the only son of the Sheik,
dangerously ill, and, as the Bedouins believed, dying. Already all
their rough, simple remedies had been tried on the youth, but tried in
vain. With stern grief the Sheik listened to the moans of pain that
burst from the suffering lad and wrung the heart of the father.

The Syrian asked leave to examine the youth, and was soon at his side.
Yusef very soon perceived that the Bedouin's case was not
hopeless, - that God's blessing on the hakeem's skill might in a few
days effect a wonderful change. He offered to try what his art and
medicines could do. The Sheik caught at the last hope held out to him
of preserving the life of his son. The Bedouins gathered round, and
watched with keen interest the measures which were at once taken by the
stranger hakeem to effect the cure of the lad.

Yusef's success was beyond his hopes. The medicine which he gave
afforded speedy relief from pain, and within an hour the young Bedouin
had sunk into a deep and refreshing sleep. His slumber lasted long,
and he awoke quite free from fever, though of course some days elapsed
before his strength was fully restored.

Great was the gratitude of Azim, the Sheik, for the cure of his only
son; and great was the admiration of the simple Bedouins for the skill
of the wondrous hakeem. Yusef soon had plenty of patients. The sons
of the desert now looked upon the poor deserted stranger as one sent to
them by heaven; and Yusef himself felt that his own plans had been
defeated, his own course changed by wisdom and love. He had intended,
as a medical missionary, to fix his abode in some Arabian town: he had
been directed instead to the tents of the Bedouin Arabs. The wild
tribe soon learned to reverence and love him, and listen to his words.
Azim supplied him with a tent, a horse, a rich striped mantle, and all
that the Syrian's wants required. Yusef found that he could be happy
as well as useful in his wild desert home.

One day, after months had elapsed, Yusef rode forth with Azim and two
of his Bedouins, to visit a distant encampment of part of the tribe.
They carried with them spear and gun, water, and a small supply of
provisions. The party had not proceeded far when Azim pointed to a
train of camels that were disappearing in the distance. "Yonder go
pilgrims to Mecca," he said: "long and weary is the journey before
them; the path which they take will be marked by the bones of camels
that fall and perish by the way."

"Methinks by yon sand-mound," observed Yusef, "I see an object that
looks at this distance like a pilgrim stretched on the waste."

"Some traveler may have fallen sick," said the Sheik, "and be left on
the sand to die."

The words made Yusef at once set spurs to his horse: having himself so
narrowly escaped a dreadful death in the desert, he naturally felt
strong pity for any one in danger of meeting so terrible a fate. Azim

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