THE BOY WHO FOUND FEAR AT LAST 287
won the bracelet from the kadi. After this, he again set forth in his quest of fear.
On and on walked the youth, but fear never crossed his path, and one day he entered a large town, where all the streets and squares were so full of people, he could hardly pass between them.
' Why are all these crowds gathered together ? ' he asked of a man who stood next him.
' The ruler of this country is dead,' was the reply, ' and as he had no children, it is needful to choose a successor. Therefore each morning one of the sacred pigeons is let loose from the tower yonder, and on whomsoever the bird shall perch, that man is our king. In a few minutes the pigeon will fly. Wait and see what happens.'
Every eye was fixed on the tall tower which stood in the centre of the chief square, and the moment that the sun was seen to stand straight over it, a door was opened and a beautiful pigeon, gleaming with pink and grey, blue and green, came rushing through the air. Onward it flew, onward, onward, till at length it rested on the head of the boy. Then a great shout arose :
' The king ! the king ! ' but as he listened to the cries, a vision, swifter than lightning, flashed across his brain. He saw himself seated on a throne, spending his life trying, and never succeeding, to make poor people rich ; miserable people happy ; bad people good ; never doing anything he wished to do, not able even to marry the girl that he loved.
' No ! no ! ' he shrieked, hiding his face in his hands ; but the crowds who heard him thought he was overcome by the grandeur that awaited him, and paid no heed.
' Well, to make quite sure, let fly more pigeons,' said they, but each pigeon followed where the first had led, and the cries arose louder than ever :
' The king ! the king !' And as the young man heard,