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tue and their own degeneracy, gave a thunder of applause; and the old man cried out, « The Athenians understand what is good , » but the Lacedemonians practise it. »
TO THE GOVERNMENT
The city of Sidon having surrendered to Alexander , he ordered Hephæstion to bestow the crown on him whom the Sidonians should think most worthy of that honour. Hepbæstion, being at that time resident with two young men of distinction, offered them the kingdom : but they refused it, telling him that it was contrary to the laws of their country to admit any one to that honour, who was not of the royal family. He then, having expressed his admiration of their disinterested spirit, desired them to name one of the royal race
who might remember that he received the crown through their hands. Overlooking many who would have been ambitious of this
high honour, they made choice of Abdolonymus, whose singular merit had rendered him conspicuous even in the vale of obscurity. Though remotely related to the royal family, a series of misfortunes had reduced him to the necessity of cultivating a garden, for a small stipend, in the suburbs of the city.
While Abdolonymus was busily employed in weeding his garden ; the two friends of Hephæstion , bearing in their bands the ensigns of royalty, approached him, and saluted him king; informing him that Alexander had appointed him to that office ; and requiring him immediately to exchange his rustic garb, and utensils of husbandry , for the regal robe and sceptre. At the same time, they urged him, when he should be seated on the throne and have a nation in his power, not to forget the humble condition from which he had been raised.
All this at the first, appeared to Abdolonymus as an illusion of the fancy, or an insult offered to his poverty. He requested them not to trouble him farther with their impertinent jests, and to find some other way of amusing themselves, which might leave him in the peaceable enjoyment of his obscure habitation. At length, however, they convinced him that they were serious in their proposal , and prevailed upon him to accept the regal office, and accompany them to the palace.
No sooner was he in possession of the government, than pride and envy created him enemies who whispered their murmurs in every place, till a last they reached the ear of Alexander ; who commanding the new-elected prince to be sent for , inquired of him, with what temper of mind he had borne his poverty. «Would to Hea. » ven , replied Abdolonymus, that I may » be able to bear my crown with equal » moderation : for when I possessed little , » I wanted nothing; these hands supplied » me with whatever I desired. » From this answer, Alexander formed so high an idea of his wisdom, that he confirmed the choice which had been made , and annexed a neighbouring province to the government of Sidon.
A Chaldean peasant was conducting a goat to the city of Bagdat. He was mounted on an ass, and the goat followed him, with a bell suspended from his neck. « I shall sell » these animals », said he to himself, « for
thirty pieces of silver; and with this mo» ney I can purchase a new turban, and » a rich vestment of taffety, which I will » tie with a sash of purple silk. The young >> damsels will then smile more favourably » upon me; and I shall be the finest man at » the mosque ». Whilst the peasant was thus anticipating in idea his future enjoyments , three artful rogues concerted a stratagem to plunder him of his present treasures. As he moved slowly along, one of them slipped off the bell from the neck of the goat, and fastening it, without being perceived, to the tail of the ass, carried away his booty. The man riding upon the ass, and hearing the sound of the bell, continued to muse without the least suspicion of the loss which he had sustained. Happen
ing , however, a short while afterwards, to turn about his head , he discovered with grief and astonishment, that the animal was gone ,
which constituted so considerable a part of his riches; and he inquired, with the utmost anxiety, after
of every traveller whom he met. The second rogue now accosted him, and said , « I have just seen in yonder fields » a man in great haste, dragging along » with him a goat ». The
peasant dismounted with precipitation, and requested the obliging stranger to hold his ass , that he might lose no time in overtaking the thief. He instantly began the pursuit , and having traversed , in vain, the course that was pointed out to him, he came back fatigued and breathless to the place from whence he set out; where he neither found his the deceitful informer, to whose care he had entrusted him. As he walked pensively onwards, overwhelmed with shame, vexation, and disappointment; his attention was roused by the loud complaints and lamentations of a poor man, who sat by the side of a well. He turned out of the way to sympathise with a brother in affliction, recounted his own misfortunes,