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several days; after which Abu Munchar,
hearing of his fate and repenting of what he
had done, went and procured his release, and
took him to his palace near the Zeynab gate.
Here,—strange to say, but the ways of Allah
are inscrutablequiet, and good feeding, and
clean clothing, restored him to his wits. The
wag appointed him as one of his servants,
and he remained a long time in tranquillity
without alluding to what had taken place.

At length, however, one day, Ali the barber,
being merry, said to his master:

"O merry man, where is that place where
the wise and happy congregate, and where it
is possible to call up by the mere will all that
is beautiful and magnificent in the world,
and to enjoy without trouble the fruits of
power and wealth?"

"Thou hast already been there," replied
Abu Munchar.

"I remember not. What manner of place
is it?"

"The Moristân!"


No creature can well have a quieter birthplace
than the trout which is spawned in the
Bann. The Bann is not, on the whole, a quiet
river, for it has a prodigious deal of work to
do, and it does its work in a prodigious bustle
at times; though occasionally it relaxes somewhat,
and seems to remember the great truth,
that nothing is worth the loss of composure.
The work that the Bann has to do is to carry
away into the sea all the water that other
rivers pour into the largest lake of our three
kingdomsLough Neagh. This lake measures
eighty miles round; and several rivers pour
their waters into it, while there is only this
one river Bann to carry them away. So it
must move quickly to get its work done; and
it does push on, and drive between its banks,
and fume and splash at a grand rate, where
rocks are obstinate in refusing to get out of
its way. In other spots, whence the rocks
got rolled away ages ago, and where thick
woods overhang the stream, its current
becomes not less rapid but more still. Clear,
deep, and dark, it there flows on swiftly and
silently. There it is that the salmon, if they
are wise, look about them for some little cove
some recess in the bankswhich is seldom
violently flooded, but which receives a gentle
ripple as the stream sweeps by. In such a
little cove, with a floor of pure sand, the eggs
of the salmon may lie unharmed by any
disturbance till they are hatched. Some of the
fish deposit their spawn where the waters
lash the sand, or where animals like to drink,
and there the eggs come to nothing and are
lost. This is now so well understood, that in
some places (in one place in France particularly)
fishermen are making fortunes by looking
in good time to the eggs and milt, and
seeing that they are deposited in favourable
places. Hundreds of thousands, aye, countless
millions of fish may be provided for human
food by this simple precaution, for want of
which some of our Scotch and English rivers
are supplying less and less salmon every year.

In such a quiet pool, with its clean sandy
bottom, does the fish pass its earliest days.
From its first wriggle as a minute insect (as
we should call it if we could see it at that
stage of its life) to its first use of its fins and
tail, that little pool is its world. Its world is
quite big enough for it, and altogether beyond
its comprehension. Even there it is not
wholly beyond the reach of the tidesnot
shut out from the influences of the moon, and
the laws which keep a universe full of
firmaments in their due place and order: but the
little fish is very like us in being frightened,
and fancying that everything is out of order
when any commotion happens that it did not
foresee. If it suppose that the universe was
made for the sake of infant trout, it may well
be alarmed when a strong ripple spreads over
its pool, and the water makes a bubble or two
against the bank;—just as men used to take
for granted that the world was coming
to an end when there was an eclipse; or
when an unusual aurora borealis turned the
calm, cool night sky into a blood-red dome.
Mankind has grown wiser with experience,
and is learning that all goes on in the noblest
and most regular and stedfast way under laws
which never change; so that the wise man
fears nothing: and even the infant trout
grows bolder and happier as it learns more of
its own world of waters. It wields its fins, it
practises with its tail; it finds it can rise to
the surface, and drop down to the sand, and
get into the shade at noon under the roots of
some water-loving tree, or make new glancing
lights in the shallows by playing off its scales
in the sunshine. By degrees, it goes out
further into the current, and delights in being
swept along by it, even though it is whirled
away from its own native cove. It may not
be for ever. In a year or two it may come up
the stream againas so many do every season.

Meantime, down it goes; not all at once,
but as may suit its growing strength and size,
and the provision of food it finds. Towards
the end of winter the waters grow cold. The
melting snows make them chilly. The salt
water will be warmer; and the young creature
is strong enough now to bear a salt-water life.
So down it goes, faster and faster. It does
not know why, but it is carried on faster and
faster, under banks where the hazels are
hanging out their catkins, and the willow-
palm its velvet tufts. Here and there a well-
sheltered primrose puts forth a pale bud, in
some hollow of the bank, and the wild ducks
are making a splutter among the ripening
reeds. But now the river rushes so fast that
the sun-gleams are like lightning, and there is
a rumbling roar like thunder, and a splash
like a deluge. On shoots the little creature,
setting its rudderthat is, its tailsteady,
like the older fish that go before, and in a trice