Gateway to the Classics: The Golden Ladder Book by E. Hershey Sneath
The Golden Ladder Book by  E. Hershey Sneath

A Persian Lad

There was once a Persian lad who was very anxious to go to Bagdad to study.

Of course he could not go without money, and he would not go without his mother's consent.

So he talked the matter over with her, and she said that he might go. She took forty pieces of money and sewed them under his garments, hoping to prevent their being lost or stolen.

Before leaving home, he promised his mother never to tell a lie. She bade him farewell, saying that they would not meet again in this world. Then he set out on his journey.

At Hamadan, the party with which he was traveling was robbed by a large band of horsemen.

One of them asked the lad whether he had any money. The boy did not try to conceal the truth. He replied at once that he had forty pieces of gold sewed inside his clothes.

The robber laughed, thinking that the boy was joking.

Then another member of the band asked him what he had, and received the same answer.

Soon the lad was taken to the chief, who said: "Well, my boy, how much money have you?"

Again the boy replied: "I have told two of your band already. I have forty pieces of money. They are sewed inside my clothes."


Then the chief commanded several of his followers to rip open the boy's garments, and they found the money there, just as the boy had declared.

Of course the chief and his fellow-robbers were surprised. They were not used to such honesty.

"How was it that you told the truth to my men after taking such pains to hide your money?" asked the chief.

"Because," replied the lad. "I could not break my word. I promised my mother that I would never tell a lie."

The chief was greatly impressed by the boy's truthfulness and courage, and he repented. When his followers saw this, they repented also, and said to their chief:—

"You have led us in things evil, now be our leader in things good." And they returned the money that they had stolen.

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