A riddle for a riddle. A Mystery for a Mystery You might imagine that, in a sequel, the author would answer the questions he posed in the first of the series. The traveler has not returned, and the men are curious. The high officer, a worthy host, who welcomes the group in and provides refreshments to the travelers, decides to tell them a story rather than answer their question outright. Here is the story he tells. He is presented with an assembly of 40 women, all dressed similarly.
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Allen and Ginter, Cimeter Cigarette ad, Allen and Ginter, Cimeter Cigarette ad, It was nearly a year after the occurrence of that event in the arena of the semi-barbaric king known as the incident of the lady or the tiger, that there came to the palace of this monarch a deputation of five strangers from a far country. These men, of venerable and dignified aspect and demeanour, were received by a high officer of the court, and to him they made known their errand.
Our fellow citizen who was then present was a man of supersensitive feelings, and at the moment when the youth was about to open the door he was so fearful lest he should behold a horrible spectacle that his nerves failed him, and he fled precipitately from the arena, and, mounting his camel, rode homeward as fast as he could go. We hoped, however, that in a few weeks some traveller from your city would come among us and bring us further news, but up to that day when we left our country no such traveller had arrived.
Then, taking his seat before them, he thus addressed the visitors. It is well known in all regions hereabout that our great king is very fond of the presence of beautiful women about his court. All the ladies in waiting upon the queen and royal family are most lovely maidens, brought here from every part of the kingdom. The fame of this concourse of beauty, unequalled in any other royal court, has spread far and wide, and had it not been for the equally wide spread fame of the systems of impetuous justice adopted by our king, many foreigners would doubtless have visited our court.
To such a one, of course, a royal audience was granted, and our king met him very graciously, and begged him to make known the object of his visit. Thereupon the prince informed his Royal Highness that, having heard of the superior beauty of the ladies of his court, he had come to ask permission to make one of them his wife.
Tomorrow at noon you shall wed one of the fairest damsels of our court. Convey this royal prince to suitable apartments. Send to him tailors, bootmakers, hatters, jewellers, armorers, men of every craft whose services he may need. Whatever he asks, provide. And let all be ready for the ceremony tomorrow. You asked a boon. I granted it, and I will hear no more on the subject. Farewell, my prince, until tomorrow noon.
Here came to him tailors, hatters, jewellers, and every one who was needed to fit him out in grand attire for the wedding. But the mind of the prince was much troubled and perplexed. When am I to see the ladies, that I may choose among them? I wish opportunity, not only to gaze upon their forms and faces, but to become acquainted with their relative intellectual development.
More than this we know not. This was a broad shouldered man of cheery aspect, who carried, its hilt in his right hand, and its broad back resting on his broad arm, an enormous cimeter, the upturned edge of which was keen and bright as any razor.
Holding this formidable weapon as tenderly as though it had been a sleeping infant, this man drew closer to the prince and bowed. When the king makes known his wishes to any one, a subject or visitor, whose disposition in some little points may be supposed not wholly to coincide with that of his Majesty, I am appointed to attend him closely, that, should he think of pausing in the path of obedience to the royal will, he may look at me, and proceed.
Here the prince found the king seated upon his throne, with his nobles, his courtiers, and his officers standing about him in magnificent array. Thereupon the attendant quickly made openings in the scarf over the mouth and ears, so that the prince might breathe and hear, and fastening the ends of the scarf securely, he retired. At his side he could hear a delicate rustle, which seemed to proceed from fabrics of soft silk. Gently putting forth his hand, he felt folds of such silk close behind him.
Then came the voice of the priest requesting him to take the hand of the lady by his side; and reaching forth his right hand, the prince received within it another hand, so small, so soft, so delicately fashioned, and so delightful to the touch, that a thrill went through his being.
The touch, the tone, enchanted him. To his utter amazement, there was no one there. He stood alone. Unable on the instant to ask a question or say a word, he gazed blankly about him. Approach, and lead her forth! But, remember this: that if you attempt to take away one of the unmarried damsels of our court, your execution will be instantaneous. Now, delay no longer.
Step up and take your bride. Nothing could he see about any one of them to indicate that she was more of a bride than the others. Their dresses were all similar, they all blushed, they all looked up and then looked down. They all had charming little hands. Not one spoke a word. Not one lifted a finger to make a sign.
It was evident that the orders given them had been very strict. And this time there was a slight change in the countenances of two of the ladies. One of the fairest gently smiled as he passed her. Another, just as beautiful, slightly frowned. But which? One smiled. And would not any woman smile when she saw in such a case, her husband coming toward her? Then again, on the other hand, would not any woman frown when she saw her husband come toward her and fail to claim her?
Would she not knit her lovely brows? It is the next but one. It is two ladies above. Go on! Would she not now smile if she thought me comely? But if I wedded the one who frowned, could she restrain her disapprobation if she did not like me?
Smiles invite the approach of true love. A frown is a reproach to a tardy advance. He had taken his lawful bride. Get started by clicking the "Add" button. Add The Discourager of Hesitancy to your own personal library.
The Discourager of Hesitancy: Summary & Analysis
Jump to navigation Jump to search The source document of this text is not known. Ideally this will be a scanned copy of the original that can be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and proofread. If not, it is preferably a URL; if one is not available, please explain on the talk page. Stockton It was nearly a year after the occurrence of that event in the arena of the semi-barbaric king known as the incident of the lady or the tiger, that there came to the palace of this monarch a deputation of five strangers from a far country. These men, of venerable and dignified aspect and demeanour, were received by a high officer of the court, and to him they made known their errand. Our fellow citizen who was then present was a man of supersensitive feelings, and at the moment when the youth was about to open the door he was so fearful lest he should behold a horrible spectacle that his nerves failed him, and he fled precipitately from the arena, and, mounting his camel, rode homeward as fast as he could go. We hoped, however, that in a few weeks some traveller from your city would come among us and bring us further news, but up to that day when we left our country no such traveller had arrived.
Discourager of Hesitancy
The Discourager of Hesitancy