THE THANKSGIVING OF THE WAZIR
Once upon a time there lived in Hindustan two kings whose countries bordered upon each other; but, as they were rivals in wealth and power, and one was a Hindu rajah and the other a Mohammedan badshah, they were not good friends at all. In order, however, to escape continual quarrels, the rajah and the badshah had drawn up an agreement, stamped and signed, declaring that if any of their subjects, from the least to the greatest, crossed the boundary between the two kingdoms, he might be seized and punished.
One morning the badshah and his chief wazir, or prime minister, were just about to begin their morning's work over the affairs of the kingdom, and the badshah had taken up a pen and was cutting it to his liking with a sharp knife, when the knife slipped and cut off the tip of his finger.
' Oh-he, wazir! ' cried the king, ' I've cut the tip of my finger off!'
' That is good hearing !' said the wazir in answer.
' Insolent one,' exclaimed the king. ' Do you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, and in mine also? Take him away, my guards, and put him in the court prison until I have time to punish him as he deserves!'
Instantly the officers in attendance seized upon the luckless wazir, and dragged him out of the king's presence towards the narrow doorway, through which unhappy criminals were wont to be led to prison or execution.