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fast out of tenderness to them. Their performances are quite astonishing. The best shatirs get into the service of the king, and they are expected to run before his horse even when he rides at full gallop. It is almost beyond belief how long and swiftly these men can run when thus employed, or when sent on special messages. I have heard of some who have gone from eighty to a hundred miles in about twelve hours! These men, when they expect to have a hard run, bandage themselves up with great tightness, not only that they may not be encumbered in running, but under the impression that great support is thus given to their bodies. It is, however, one effect of this tight bandaging, that they cannot stoop without great difficulty and even danger. Upon an elevation in a desolate plain, to the south of the great city of Ispahan, there is a small round tower, covered with a cupola, which is called the “Shatir's Tomb,” concerning which the people of the town tell the following story :
In former times a king of Persia promised that he would give his daughter in marriage to any one who would run before his horse all the way from Shiraz to Ispahan—that is, a distance of nearly 200 miles. One of his shatirs undertook
the task, and would have accomplished it if the king had been willing to keep his promise ; and by the time they reached the eminence, on which the tower now stands, he began to fear that he should be obliged to do so, unless he could find some contrivance to prevent it. He therefore dropt his whip; but the shatir, who knew that, bandaged as he was, he should certainly die if he stooped to pick it up, contrived to take it up with his foot, and carried it in his hand to the king. This trick having failed, the king let fall his ring; when the shatir, who saw that his fate was decided, cried out, “O king, you have broken your word, but I'll show you my submission to the last.” Upon which he stooped, picked up the ring, and died. In memory of this event the shatir was buried on the spot, and this tower was built over his body.
F. How cruel that king was!
H. But if I had been that shatir, I would not have picked up the whip or the ring either.
U. O. It would have been his duty on any common occasion to do so; and he chose to die rather than neglect that duty, which makes his conduct noble. Depend upon it, my children, he would
have gained nothing by not doing as he did; for a king of Persia never finds the least difficulty in getting rid of any man he wishes to destroy.
Another piece of Persian state is for public officers of rank to have one or more richlydressed horses led before them. This is one way, indeed, in which relative ranks are distinguished in Persia. Several such horses are led before the king on state occasions, having their saddles richly embossed with gold, and with bits of the same metal. The saddles of the led horses are usually covered with very rich cloths, and when this piece of state is well managed, the effect is rather impressive. The most magnificently dressed led horses I ever saw were those used in the religious procession at the time when the anniversary of a favourite prophet is celebrated. The fronts of their heads were ornamented with plates, which were entirely covered with diamonds, the appearance of which was perfectly dazzling; and their bodies were covered with shawls and gold stuffs. Altogether, such led horses form by far the most magnificent part of the Persian king's state when he travels.
I must not forget to mention that the king's stable is considered the most sacred of all sanc
tuaries to persons who are in fear of punishment. In the last reign, a nobleman of the highest rank, who had himself aspired to the throne, took refuge in the royal stable, and remained there till he had obtained pardon for his offence. I have seen a Persian book, in which all the misfortunes which befel a Persian prince about fifty years since are considered to have been a punishment upon him for having put to death a person who had taken refuge in his stable. The same writer says that the monarch or chief in whose stable a criminal takes refuge must feed him as long as he stays there; but he may be killed the moment before he reaches it, or the moment after he leaves it; but while he is there, even a slave who has murdered his master cannot be touched. · H. Are there any sanctuaries for criminals in England ?
U. O. Not now. There were plenty of sanctuaries formerly in churches and monasteries. They tended to encourage crime, by affording criminals a security from punishment; but in those times, when the laws had little power, something of this sort was, perhaps, necessary to shelter the innocent from undeserved punishment, and to protect the weak from the anger
or vengeance of great men. The law does this now, and sanctuaries are no longer needful. · As Persia is not the native country of the camel, I shall not speak of its habits particularly. You know that it is an animal suited to level and dry countries; and it is in such parts of Persia that it is chiefly used. But I have often met with them in the cold and mountainous parts of the country; and though camels are never merry-looking beasts, I thought they looked particularly mournful as they crept slowly along through hard and slippery paths, which must have been very distressing to their feet. Except towards the east of Persia, they are much inferior in size and strength to the camels of Arabia ; but yet I think that the largest and finest camel I ever saw in my life was in that part of Persia--the northern part—which is least suitable to it. I must here explain to you that the camels of the countries west of Persia have but one hump, while those to the east of Persia have two. In Persia, both are used, and there they mix and produce a third, which is stronger and more tractable than either of the others. They are lower, in proportion to their bulk, than other camels, and have a considerable quantity of shaggy hair, which other