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164
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
that this island lay far away in the ocean ; that it was the abode of perpetual spring, and the seat of universal and unbounded bliss. But what was its shape? was it circular, triangular, or quadrangular 1 These were questions which agitated the people and shook society to its foundation.
King Hiram was a man of sense, and of a practical turn; he determined, therefore, that the question should be settled by ocular de­monstration. He accordingly ordered an expe­dition to be fitted out, consisting of as many vessels as there were sects. He then selected the leading philosophers of every sect, gave each the command of a vessel, and ordered them to sail forth upon the sea in quest of the happy isle, and bring him tidings of the result.
The squadron consisted of several hundred vessels, maimed by expert seamen. Having entered the Indian ocean, by the way of the Red sea, they bade adieu to the shore, and stretched forth upon the blue main, guiding their course by the heavenly bodies. They kept to­gether for many days; but at length the skies became involved in clouds, and violent disputes arose among the philosophers. Under these circumstances, the great question should have been as to their course: but, instead of this,
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