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took care to withhold the specific for breeding
fish till he had not only reached the opposite
bank, but had run for so great distance that he
was forced to raise his voice considerably in
order to be heard. The event proved that he
acted rightly, for the river had no sooner heard
that a drowned man was necessary for the
fructification of its waters, than it overflowed its
banks, and would have overtaken him had he not
made good use of his heels.

Three days before the festival of the ill-used
patron saint, he reached the house of the stingy
devotee, who, hearing his information, invited
him to stop and test its truth. The best beast
was slaughtered on this occasion, and as great
improvement in the condition of the cattle
immediately took place, the reformed miser bestowed
five oxen on his instructor, who, taking leave,
soon came to the house of the undutiful son.
This afflicted sinner, acting on the advice of
Fate, as communicated by his visitor, at once
called his father and mother from their obscure
nook, had them properly washed and combed,
placed them at the head of his table, and
dutifully gave them the first glass of wine, and the
first glass of brandy. His virtue was speedily
rewarded. The young members of the household
instantly lost half their appetite, and the
old folks both died on the following morning.
Two oxen rewarded the Pilgrim for his useful
information, and when he reached his own
country, the sight of his seven fine beasts
excited no little admiration. When he was asked
to whom they belonged, he prudently answered
that they were the property of his niece.

His brother, without the slightest hesitation,
gave him his daughter for a wife, and he now
became a prosperous man, for he told everybody
that the wealth by which he was surrounded was
his wife's property, not his own. One day,
however, when the crops looked more than usually
fine, and a passer-by asked him to whom the
fields belonged, a feeling of pride came over him,
and he unguardedly replied, " To me."

Instantly a fire broke out among the corn, and
threatened' to destroy it all, when the confidant
of Fate corrected himself, and shouted after his

"Stop, friend, the crops didn't belong to me,
but to my brother's daughter."

The fire was at once extinguished, and the
mistake was not repeated.

The attentive reader will observe that two
theories, hard to be reconciled, are propounded in
this very curious story. According to one of
them, mankind, without any regard to individual
merit, is subjected to the decrees of an
indiscriminating Fate, which considers not persons
but birthdays. At the same time it must be
remarked, that this Fate does not by any means
rise to the rank of the predetermining Deity
of Calvinism, or the inexorable Destiny of the
Greeks, which was superior to the Gods. Far
from being himself immovable, while he decrees
the changes in the world, the Servian Fate is
subject to vicissitudes over which he has no
control, and merely wishes to bestow on others
the good or evil he has himself experienced.
He is not even allowed the choice of his victims
or his favourites; and though he regulates his
gifts by the day on which they are born, they
come into the world without his leave, nor is
he able to fix the time of their entrance. To
complete the theory, we must suppose that this
so-called Fate is under the influence of a still
higher Destiny (perhaps represented by the
voice), who decrees the coincidence of birthdays
with the days of good and evil passed by the
secondary agent, who would otherwise be a mere
personification of chance. As for the vicissitudes
to which Fate himself is subject, they
seem to follow each other with the regularity of
a planetary movement. In a given number of
days the palace sinks into a hovel, passing
through every intermediate condition, and, the
descent accomplished, the hovel becomes a
palace, without gradual change, to commence
the downward course anew. It is a singular
refinement that the Servian has personified not
only the general distribution of good and evil,
but also the lot assigned to each individual. A
beautiful girl and an ugly hag respectively
embody the " luck" of the fortunate and
unfortunate brothers.

While the doctrine of a Fate that is utterly
regardless of individual merit is thus inculcated
in the main incident of the story, two of the
episodes convey the directly opposite moral,
that persons are rewarded and punished according
to their deserts. No industry can compensate
for the ill luck of the Pilgrim, and he only
betters his condition by taking to himself a lucky
wife, but the man who slights his parents, and
the other who affronts his patron saint, are
relieved from their misfortunes as soon as they
mend their ways. Do we see in this inconsistency
an instance of that almost instinctive
repugnance which is so frequently evinced by
unsophisticated minds against the teachings
of the fatalist, whether he assumes the
profundity of the philosopher or the sanctity of the

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