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proofs of merit. And not the least of his good qualities is a strong relish of independence. All he will accept from the kindest of benefactors is merely an intimation of the best course to pursue in order to earn a competence by his own exertions. This knowledge I therefore ask of you, in his behalf."
"So modest a request I will surely grant," said the fairy. "To the eastward, a hundred paces hence, he will find the dry bed of a brook. Let him bring to you a handful of earth from the bed of that brook."
The magician repeated the order, and Ahmed hastened away. In a few minutes he returned to his friend with the handful of earth.
"Place it on this leaf," said the fairy. The magician obeyed. The fairy then stirred the earth gently with her myrtle branch, and then directed the magician to take up the leaf and examine its contents carefully. He did so, and found in it several shining particles.
"Let the youth also look," the fairy next commanded. The magician called Ahmed, and they both saw the particles distinctly. Upon looking up, they perceived that the fairy was gone.
"She laughs at me," said Ahmed. "What am I to do with this handful of earth?"
to the brook and began his labors. After various experiments, he found the most ready means of separating the gold from the dirt was to dissolve the latter in water and allow it to flow away. But the nearest stream was at a considerable distance. On reflection, he concluded to hire a servant, whose business should be to bring the water needed in his work. Going to Lassa on this errand, he was so fortunate as to encounter one of his late servants, who gladly accepted employment.
Every day's labor was munificently rewarded. At the end of about two months Ahmed visited Almansor. Making his toil-worn hands as smooth as possible, he went to the city for a wagoner, who quickly conveyed his cask of gold to the palace-gate. Almansor greeted him cordially, and invited him in.
"Let me first discharge the wagoner," said Ahmed; "he has brought something that may please you."
The cask was so heavy that Ahmed was obliged to assist the man in unloading it.
When the wagoner was discharged, Ahmed proceeded gravely to open the cask with a hammer. While he was doing so, the noble observed that his hands were not so fair as they had for
"Do you see those shining bits?" merly been. Why, Ahmed," he exasked the magician. claimed, "what have you been doing "Yes; they are plain enough," an- lately? Your hands look like those of swered Ahmed.
"Well, that is gold," said the magician. “Every handful of earth in that ravine contains more or less gold. Here and there are quite large pieces. One year of steady labor, separating the gold from the earth, will be quite enough to make you rich. Your ingenuity will quickly find out a way to accomplish it. Does this satisfy you?"
"Yes," was the reply. "It is not, I admit, what I would myself have chosen; but why should I be thus particular? The fortune will be earned all the more surely, if the process prove disagreeable; and the harder the work, the more certain the success."
The next morning Ahmed hastened
"Look here, and see," said Ahmed, quietly, thrusting his hand down into the mass and letting a glittering handful fall slowly back.
"What is it, Ahmed?" asked the astonished noble.
"Gold-all the way down!" was the answer. "And these hands have produced it. I am at present a gold-digger, and doing well, as you perceive."
Almansor was decidedly astonished. "Nourmahal!" he shouted, "here is a base mechanic who has something to show you!"
With a little cry of delight the fair creature bounded into the arms of her lover, and for a while was blind to
every thing but his presence, and the bliss of being actually in his arms.
"Come, come-before this gold vanishes in a vapor, as I fairly expect it will before you look at it!"
"Never fear for that gold!" said Ahmed; "it is real ! ”
Nourmahal glanced at the treasure, and returned to Ahmed. "This is my treasure!" she said, softly, laying her head on his bosom. But she was much affected when she learned how long and faithfully he had labored for her sake. She had suffered much in secret, though her father had kindly assured her he had every confidence in Ahmed.
The noble now declared that the wedding should take place forthwith; the rest of Ahmed's fortune could be earned by deputy. He would himself purchase the whole mountain, and, with Ahmed, would have the torrent-beds thoroughly searched for their treasures. As Ahmed
felt that he had fairly earned a little happiness, after so many cruel pains and privations, he was careful to interpose no objection to this arrangement. So that, in a couple of weeks, every preparation having been made, the wedding took place, amid great rejoicings.
Calcar, the late steward, having met with a serious accident, felt so appre
hensive of his life, that he made a confession of his misdeeds, implicating Ganem so gravely that he fled the country. Much of the gold so freely entrusted to the steward's care proved to be still in his possession. This he now yielded up, and with it Ahmed founded a professorship of gymnastics in the college.
His friends Noureddin and the magician were at the wedding, and made the bride very handsome presents. From the attentions which Noureddin paid to Ahmed's mother-who was still handsome and young-looking-it was predicted on all sides that, before long, another wedding would demand their assistance. This augury proved to be
Almansor invited the happy pair to reside in the palace till fortune should enable them to build for themselves. Ahmed made much of his late waterbearer, and a good number of his former servants found employment in the palace or on the estates. For many years thereafter his peace was never once disturbed by serious misfortune.
The purchase of the mountain proved to be a lucky investment. It was not long afterward repurchased by the government for five hundred thousand pieces of gold.
["You will excuse my rudeness," dryly observed the Sultan, when Scheherazade had ceased, "but I can't help thinking that rather a tough story."
"I have told you much more wonderful things," the Sultana mildly replied, "which you have apparently believed without hesitation."
“More wonderful,' certainly, in some points," rejoined the Sultan; "but in one respect your story is incredible. You actually set a young man at earning his own living. I call this circumstance monstrous. It is entirely foreign to the genius of the age."
"That may be the very reason why its author wrote it," said Scheherazade. "He would like the age to reform itself."
แ Why didn't your uncle Schirzad try the same thing?" asked Schahrier.
"His reforms, which are many and various, are attempted more quietly,” replied the Sultana. "He judged it best not to obtrude the moral of his stories; and yet, each of
them is a moral tale."
"His first aim is, to fix the second, to teach morals and
"Indeed!" exclaimed the Sultan, becoming interested; "please explain." "Most willingly," responded the amiable Scheherazade. attention, for, failing in that point, he would fail in all; his manners generally by example, sometimes by direct precept. His best characters are highminded, truthful, honorable, and just. The men are brave and generous, the women modest, and both are gentle. Repentance follows transgression; vice and virtue are never confounded. If the punishment of vice or folly is sometimes severe, we feel that such severity is owing entirely to his detestation of the faults he punishes so signally."
"I have frequently observed this," said the Sultan, quietly; "and I must declare I meant not to be over-critical; for, truly, the charm of your stories is not so much in the matter as in your manner of telling them. And that convinces me you could yourself write stories."
Flattered by this compliment, Scheherazade was for a moment at a loss for a suitable reply. Just as she was about to express her thanks, the hour for prayers sounded loadly, and the Sultan hastily arose.]
THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE.
"AN American," says Coleridge (in his "Recollections and Conversations"), "by his boasting of the superiority of the Americans generally, but especially in their language, provoked me to tell him that, on that head, the least said the better, as the Americans presented the extraordinary anomaly of a people without a language; that they had mistaken the English language for baggage (which is called 'plunder' in America), and had stolen it."
What a fearful course of boredom แ an American" must have inflicted upon good Mr. Coleridge to wring from that mild and sensible gentleman, even semi-seriously, such an absurd remark as this! A slight examination of the subject could not have failed to convince him that the Americans obtained their language by a process exactly similar to that which gave the English theirs; and that, if there was any dishonesty in the transaction, we had the example of his own nation before us at the time.
Indeed, the origin and progress of the English language proper could hardly correspond more exactly than they do with those of the one spoken in the United States. The groundwork, so to speak, of the first-named tongue, was brought to England by certain enterprising fillibusters; and the same element in our language was introduced here by a similar set of gentlemen, who, in their dealings with the natives, displayed the same talent for the acquisition of real estate that so strikingly distinguished the Angli of old. In England a number of indigenous Celtic words were engrafted upon the Teutonic lingual stock; and in the United
States an equal, if not a greater, addition to the colloquial system has been drawn from the Indian dialects. A great influx of foreigners, natives of the Continent of Europe, came into England with William the Conqueror, and added many new terms to the existing vernacular; and our country has long been the receptacle for vast numbers of people from the same Continent, who came as colonists in former days, who come as emigrants now, and whose influence on the language is already perceptible.
So it seems that the language used in the United States exhibits, with regard to its birth and growth, a perfect repetition of the one Mr. Coleridge accuses us of having stolen.
It is true, our language closely resembles that of England; and the advanced state of civilization in both countries, the constant and general intercourse between them, and the existence of a common literature, must long operate to prevent them from becoming radically, or even substantially, different. But admitting all this, there does not seem to be any reason why Americans should not call the language they speak "the American language," even if there were no words in it that are not generally used in England also.
This, however, is far from being the case. There are many words used every day in the United States which would be perfectly unintelligible to ninety-nine per cent. of the English people. Many of these words are derived from the Dutch, Spanish, French, and German languages, while a large number also have been obtained from the Indians. These last enter much more extensively into the composition
of our language than is generally real ized, and many of them are among the most commonly-used words in it.
It is these classes of words that form the really distinctive features of what may be called the American language.
Of course, the national origin, and even the primary meaning, of many of these American words, are familiar to a large proportion of the people; but there are some belonging to each class about which almost all reliable information seems confined to those who have made the subject a study. Perhaps the words of German, French, and Spanish extraction are the most generally known; while those taken from Dutch and Indian sources are the least
Among the words borrowed from the Spanish is savannah; which, transmogrified into "Salwanners," was believed by the old English inn-keeper in "Barnaby Rudge" to be the name of a ferocious tribe of Indians, whose sole occupations were digging up tomahawks and emitting unearthly war-whoops. (This gentleman was certainly not very conversant with "the English language as spoken in America.") Savana, or sabana, meaning, in Spanish, a bedsheet, was the name given by the Spaniards to the southern representatives of the grassy plains called by the French prairies. The name was used in Florida, and, when that territory became part of the United States, was incorporated into the language of the new inhabitants.
The title used everywhere in the United States for the cayman, or American crocodile, viz., "alligator," is another Spanish-American word. It is a corruption of the name given to the creature by the Spanish settlers, which was el lagarto, the lizard. The word "key," applied to the small islands of the Florida coast, is the present form of the original Spanish name, cayo; and Key West, though seemingly composed of two common words of Saxon parentage, is really American for Cayo Hueso, bone islet. Probably most persons who use the term "pickaninny" for a ncgro
child, suppose it to be an original African substantive; but, as is stated in Mr. Bartlett's valuable "Dictionary of Americanisms," it is derived from the Spanish phrase pequeño niño, little child. The common title of the well-known sand-flea, i. e., "jigger," may be ascribed to the same source, being derived from the Spanish chigoe. Jerked" beef is a corrupted form of charqui, the name of the same article in all Spanish-American countries except Mexico, where it is called tasajo. "Creole" affords a striking instance of the way in which American words are misunderstood in England. A very general impression prevails in that country that it means a person of mixed race. The true signification is very different. It is a corruption of criollo, the name given by the Spaniards in all their former American colonies to the native white inhabitants, and used in contradistinction to gachupino (from an Aztec word meaning a horseman "), which was confined to Spanish residents. The mixed races have always had their own distinctive names, as meztizo, mulatto, zambo, &c. The word "creole," as now used in the United States, has preserved its original Spanish meaning, and also includes Louisianians of French descent. "Calaboose" comes from the Spanish calabozo, a dungeon. "Picayune," Spanish picayuna, is said to have been originally derived from the language of the Caribbe islanders. "Musketo" is the Spanish mosquito, adopted without change of sound. "Lagoon," from laguna, a lake, is a vestige of the Spanish occupation of Louisiana. "Siesta" is the Spanish name for the sixth hour after sunrise, when every body in the tropics indulges in a nap. "Garrote " comes from garrota, the Spanish mode of punishment by strangulation. "Mulatto" differs very slightly from the Spanish mulato, mixed breed, from mulo, a mule. "Zambo" (popularized "Sambo") is the true Spanish term for a person of negro and Indian blood. "Bit" (as used in the once common expression, "fi'-penny-bit") is a remnant of the Spanish pieza. "Stampede"
comes from estampado, a stamping of feet, and was first used in speaking of the herds of cattle and troops of mustangs that were once SO numerous in northern Mexico. "Placer" (pronounced in California plah-sair') was borrowed from the Mexican population, and has given name to the American city of Placerville.
Other very common instances are "mustang," from mesteño; “lasso," from lazo; "sierra," meaning literally a saw, and used very appropriately to describe the serrated mountain-chains of the Pacific coast; "peon," primarily a foot-soldier, and by application a serf or bond-servant; "coyote," a Spanish corruption of coyotl, the Aztec name for the prairie-wolf; "fandango," a name said to have been brought, with the dance itself, to the Spanish West Indies by negroes from Guinea; "sombrero," a literal appropriation of the Spanish name, which is derived from sombra, shade; cañon," pronounced canyon'; "ranch," Spanish rancho, a cattle-farm; and "muskeet," from the Spanish mezquite, the species of acacia so common on the Plains.
The French-American words are very numerous, and may be ascribed to the influence of the French settlers in that vast region originally called New France.
Two of the most common animals indigenous to the prairie-country still retain their French names; one of these is the bison, and the other the little marmot (Cynomus ludovicianus), sometimes called "prairie-dog," but in the West generally designated gopher." The latter term retains the sound of the French name, gaufre, a honeycomb, given on account of its custom of "honeycombing" the ground with its little subterranean dwellings. The Western colloquial expression, "to gopher," meaning to dig or burrow, is taken from the same source. In another Western conversational phrase, "to be in cahoot" (that is, in partnership) with another, the last word is a variation upon the French cohorte, company.
"Calumet," the universal name for
the Indian peace-pipe, has been called an Indian word, but it is really the title applied to it by the colonists of New France. Its analogy to the Latin calamus, a reed, is evident; and as all Indian pipes had stems of reed, it is quite an appropriate term. "Portage" is the name given by the French voyageurs to the space between two rivers or their head-waters, over which the bark canoes were carried in the days of canoe-travel. The ordinary name, at present, for the Felis concolor (often called "panther," from its resemblance to the real panther of Africa), is "cougar." This is a slight alteration of couguar, the term applied to it by the French, and taken by them from cuguaracu, its name among the Guaranies of South America. The Algonquin Indians called it mishe-peshea, big wild-cat; while its appellation outside of France and the United States is puma, which is its name among the Quichoans of Peru. Caribou," the distinctive designation of the American reindeer, was originally taken from the French patois of the Northwest. "Voyageur" is still used in the United States to describe that peculiar class of travelling fur-traders once so numerous on the Upper Mississippi. "Bayou" is a remnant of the old French word boyau, a leathern pipe, a long and narrow place, or a branch of a trench. "Levée," another Creole word, preserves the orthography of the French name for a raised bank of earth. "Barbecue " may be traced to the French phrase de barbe à queue, from snout to tail, and is about equivalent to "the whole hog." "Calash" is a modification of calèche, a kind of gig, which this bonnet (“in England," says Mr. Bartlett, “very appropriately called an ugly ") was thought to resemble. "Cache," or, as sometimes written, “cash," long used on the frontier as a name for the holes in the ground in which it was the practice to hide provisions or goods, comes from the French verb cacher, to conceal.
Among the most common of the French-American words used to describe the different classes of mixed races inhabiting this country, are me