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in return for the benefits accumulated upon him, seduced the lady, and wasted the country over which he was placed. When the husband, therefore, knew of his wife's infidelity, he was overwhelmed with sorrow, and repudiated her with the loss of every honour. Thus circumstanced, she fell into extreme poverty; and, reduced to despair by the wretchedness of her condition, walked from place to place, begging her bread, and wishing for the death that came not to her relief. But at length, the husband, compassionating her distress, sent messengers to recall her to his court. Come, lady," they said, " come in perfect safety. Thy lord wishes thy return; fear nothing." Yet she refused, and exclaimed, “ Tell my lord, that I would willingly come to him, but I am unable to do so. If he ask why, say, in compliance with an imperious law. If a man marry, and his wife prove an adultress, he shall give her a writing of divorcement; but from that hour, she can be no longer his wife. To me such a writing has been given-for, alas ! I am an adultress : therefore, it is impossible for me to return to my lord.”_" But,” replied the messengers, “ our lord is greater than the law which he made himself: and since he is disposed to shew mercy towards you, we repeat, that you may properly comply with his wishes, secure from further punishment or reproach.”—“How shall I know that ?" said the lady; " if my beloved would assure me of it; if he would deign to come and kiss me with the kiss of his lip, then should I feel certain of favor."
When the messengers communicated to the Prince what had passed between them and his afflicted wife, he called together the noblemen of his kingdom, and deliberated upon the measures it became him to adopt. After mature reflection, they determined that some man of experience and judgment, should be sent to persuade her to return. But they who answered this description, refused to undertake the office; and the husband, in his extremity, despatched once more the massengers, whom he commissioned to speak thus : “What can I do for you? There is not a man in my dominions who will execute my wishes!" These words increased the anguish of the unfortunate lady; and she wept bitterly. Her condition was related to the Prince, and he earnestly besought his father to give him permission to bring back his wife, and to assuage her sorrows. The King acquiesced—“ Go,” said he, “ go now in thy might, and re-instate her in the seat from which she has fallen." The messengers were then ordered to return and apprize her of the purposed visit. But the Prince's elder sister, that is to say, Justice, understanding what was meditated, hastened to her father, and said, “ My lord, art thou just ? and is thy judgment righteous ? Is it fit that the harlot should again become my brother's wife? You properly sanctioned the writing of divorcement; therefore, to the law let her appeal. And if, in violation of justice, you act thus, be assured, that I will no longer be accounted your daughter." The second sister, who was called Truth, then said, “ My father, she has spoken truly. You have adjudged this woman an adultress : if you permit her to return, you destroy the very essence of truth, and therefore, I too, will no more fulfil the offices of a daughter.” But the third sister, called MERCY, hearing what had been said by the other two, exclaimed, “ Oh, my lord, I also am thy daughter: forgive the offence of this repentant woman. If thou wilt not, thou abandonest Mercy, and she will never again acknowledge thee her father.” The fourth sister, whose name was Peace, terrified at the discord between her parent and sisters, fled to a remote corner of the earth.
Justice and Truth, however, relinquished not their purpose; and, putting into their father's hands a naked sword, said, "My lord, we present to you the sword of Justice. Take it, and strike the harlot who has wronged our brother." But Mercy,rushing forward, snatched the weapon from their
grasp Enough, enough," cried she, “ long have you reigned, and your inclinations have been your only law. Now forbear; it is fit that my wishes should sometimes be listened to. Remember, that I too, am the daughter of the King.” To this Justice made answer,
Thou hast said well: we have reigned long: and long will we preserve our authority. But why should there be this discord ? Call our brother, who is wiser than us all; and let him judge between us." The proposal was assented to. They shewed him the grounds of their altercation, and explained how Justice and Truth pertinaciously demanded the infliction of the law, while Mercy and Peace sought a free forgiveness.
My beloved sisters," said the Prince, “ I am little satisfied with the flight of my sister Peace, whom your unbeseeming strife has banished. This ought not to be, and shall not. And as for my adulterous wife, I am prepared to undergo her punishment myself.” _“If this be your determination," observed Justice, " we cannot oppose you, my brother." Then turning towards Mercy, he said, “ Use your endeavour to restore my wife. But should I receive her, and she again falls, do you design to renew your intercession ?"_“ Not,” said the other," unless she be truly penitent.” The Prince then conducted back his sister Peace, and caused each of the others to embrace her, in turn. Concord being thus re