THE PROPHET AND THE JUSTICE OF PROVIDENCE.



A certain Prophet [FN#494] made his home for worship on a lofty mountain, at whose foot was a spring of running water, and he was wont to sit by day on the summit, that no man might see him, calling upon the name of Allah the Most Highest and watching those who frequented the spring. One day, as he sat looking upon the fountain, behold, he espied a horseman who came up and dismounted thereby and taking a bag from his neck, set it down beside him, after which he drank of the water and rested awhile, then he rode away, leaving behind him the bag which contained gold pieces. Presently up came another man to drink of the spring, who saw the bag and finding it full of money took it up; then, after satisfying his thirst, he made off with it in safety. A little after came a woodcutter wight with a heavy load of fuel on his back, and sat down by the spring to drink, when lo! back came the first horseman in great trouble and asked him, "Where is the bag which was here?" and when he answered, "I know nothing of it," the rider drew his sword and smote him and slew him. Then he searched his clothes, but found naught; so he left him and wended his ways. Now when the Prophet saw this, he said, "O Lord, one man hath taken a thousand dinars and another man hath been slain unjustly." But Allah answered him, saying, "Busy thyself with thy devotions, for the ordinance of the universe is none of thine affair. The father of this horseman had violently despoiled of a thousand dinars the father of the second horseman; so I gave the son possession of his sire's money. As for the woodcutter, he had slain the horseman's father, wherefore I enabled the son to obtain retribution for himself." Then cried the Prophet, "There is none other god than Thou! Glory be to Thee only! Verily, Thou art the Knower of Secrets." [FN#495]--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Four Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Prophet was bidden by inspiration of Allah to busy himself with his devotions and learned the truth of the case, he cried, "There is none other god but Thou! Glory be to Thee only! Verily, Thou and Thou alone wottest hidden things." Furthermore, one of the poets hath made these verses on the matter,

"The Prophet saw whatever eyes could see, * And fain of other things enquired he;
And, when his eyes saw things misunderstood, * Quoth he, 'O Lord, this slain from sin was free.
This one hath won him wealth withouten work; * Albe appeared he garbed in penury.
And that in joy of life was slain, although * O man's Creator free of sin he be.'
God answered ''Twas his father's good thou saw'st * Him take; by heirship not by roguery;
Yon woodman too that horseman's sire had slain; * Whose son avenged him with just victory:
Put off, O slave of Me, this thought for I * In men have set mysterious secrecy!
Bow to Our Law and humble thee, and learn * For good and evil issues Our decree.'" [FN#496]

And a certain pious man hath told us the tale of



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