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166
FIRESIDE EDUCATION,
to that by which they had arrived. These soon reached the shore, and the philosophers, who had parted in malice, now met in peace.
Having spent some time at the happy isle, they entered their ships, and, bidding a reluctant adieu to the place, returned to Tyre. On being-required by the king to tell him the shape of the island, the grand object of the expedition, the philosophers looked at each other, and appeared to be abashed. The king was angry, and im­periously commanded them to answer his ques­tion. They then confessed that they had for­gotten to ask about the shape of the island. - Let me have no more quarrels then," said the king, "about idle questions of belief. Let your arrogance and dogmatism be humbled by the recollection that opposite courses have led to the same point; and remember that matters of speculation, which are wrought into conse­quence by contention, sink into insignificance in the light of truth."
"This may be so," said one of the philoso­phers, "but your majesty will allow that one advantage has arisen from our disputes."
" And what is that?" said the king,
" That the actual existence of the happy island has been demonstrated," replied the phi­losopher.
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