224 STORY OF THE THREE SONS OF HALI
am the victim of my love for Izaf.' pointing to the man who had entered last, ' and in spite of his ingratitude, I cannot tear him from my heart. Cruel enemy of my life,' she continued, turning to Izaf, ' tell these gentlemen your story and that of your brothers, and try to gain your pardon by repentance.'
' We all three were born at the same time,' said the Jew, obeying the command of Sumi at a sign from the Cadi, ' and are the sons of the famous Nathan Ben-Sadi, who gave us the names of Izif, Izouf, and Izaf. From our earliest years we were taught the secrets of magic, and as we were all born under the same stars we shared the same happiness and the same troubles.
' Our mother died before I can remember, and when we were fifteen our father was seized with a dangerous illness which no spells could cure. Feeling death draw near, he called us to his bedside and took leave of us in these words :
' "My sons, I have no riches to bequeath to you; my only wealth was those secrets of magic which you know. Some stones you already have, engraved with mystic signs, and long ago I taught you how to make others. But you still lack the most precious of all talismans — the three rings belonging to the daughters of Siroco. Try to get possession of them, but take heed on beholding these young-girls that you do not fall under the power of their beauty. Their religion is different from yours, and further, they are the betrothed brides of the sons of the Bassa of the Sea. And to preserve you from a love which can bring you nothing but sorrow, I counsel you in time of peril to seek out the daughter of Moizes the Rabbi, who cherishes a hidden passion for Izaf, and possesses the Book of Spells, which her father himself wrote with the sacred ink that was used for the Talmud." So saying, our father fell back on his cushions and died, leaving us burning with desire for the three rings of the daughters of Siroco.