« IndietroContinua »
proofs of merit. And not the least of to the brook and began his labors. his good qualities is a strong relish of After various experiments, he found the independence. All he will accept from most ready means of separating the the kindest of benefactors is merely an gold from the dirt was to dissolve the intimation of the best course to pursue latter in water and allow it to flow in order to earn a competence by his away. But the nearest stream was at a own exertions. This knowledge I there- considerable distance. On reflection, fore ask of you, in his behalf.”
he concluded to hire a servant, whose “So modest a request I will surely business should be to bring the water grant," said the fairy. “To the east- needed in his work. Going to Lassa ward, a hundred paces hence, he will on this errand, he was so fortunate as find the dry bed of a brook. Let him to encounter one of his late servants, bring to you a handful of earth from who gladly accepted employment. the bed of that brook."
Every day's labor was munificently The magician repeated the order, and rewarded. At the end of about two Ahmed hastened away. In a few min- months Ahmed visited Almansor. Makutes he returned to his friend with the ing his toil-worn hands as smooth as handful of earth.
possible, he went to the city for a wag“Place it on this leaf,” said the fairy. oner, who quickly conveyed his cask of The magician obeyed. The fairy then gold to the palace-gate. Almansor stirred the earth gently with her myrtle greeted him cordially, and invited him branch, and then directed the magician in, to take up the leaf and examine its “Let me first discharge the wagoncontents carefully. He did so, and er," said Ahmed; "he has brought found in it several shining particles. something that may please you."
“Let the youth also look," the fairy The cask was so heavy that Ahmed next commanded. The magician called was obliged to assist the man in unAhmed, and they both saw the particles loading it. distinctly. Upon looking up, they per- When the wagoner was discharged, ceived that the fairy was gone.
Ahmed proceeded gravely to open the “ She laughs at me,” said Ahmed. cask with a hammer. While he was “ What am I to do with this handful of doing so, the noble observed that his earth?"
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.
a blacksmith." “Well, that is gold," said the magi- “Look here, and see,” said Ahmed, cian. “Every handful of earth in that quietly, thrusting his hand down into ravine contains more or less gold. Here the mass and letting a glittering handand there are quite large pieces. One ful fall slowly back. year of steady labor, separating the “ What is it, Ahmed ?” asked the gold from the earth, will be quite astonished noble. enough to make you rich. Your inge- “Gold-all the way down !" was the nuity will quickly find out a way to ac
“ And these hands have procomplish it. Does this satisfy you ?” duced it. I am at present a gold-dig
“Yes,” was the reply. “It is not, I ger, and doing well, as you perceive.” admit, what I would myself have cho- Almansor was decidedly astonished. sen; but why should I be thus particu- « Nourmahal!"
" he shouted, “here is a lar? The fortune will be earned all the base mechanic who has something to more surely, if the process prove dis- show you !” agreeable; and the harder the work, With a little cry of delight the fair the more certain the success."
creature bounded into the arms of her The next morning Ahmed hastened lover, and for a while was blind to
every thing but his presence, and the hensive of his life, that he made a conbliss of being actually in his arms.
fession of his misdeeds, implicating “Come, come-before this gold van- Ganem so gravely that he fled the counishes in a vapor, as I fairly expect it try. Much of the gold so freely enwill before you look at it ! ”
trusted to the steward's care proved to “Never fear for that gold !” said be still in his possession. This he now Ahmed; “it is real ! "
yielded up, and with it Ahmed foundNourmabal glanced at the treasure, ed a professorship of gymnastics in the and returned to Ahmed. “ This is my college. treasure !" she said, softly, laying her
His friends Noureddin and the mahead on his bosom. But she was much gician were at the wedding, and made affected wlien she learned how long and the bride very handsome presents. faithfully he had labored for her sake. From the attentions which Noureddin She had suffered much in secret, though paid to Ahmed's mother-who was still her father had kindly assured her he handsome and young-looking—it was had every confidence in Ahmed.
predicted on all sides that, before long, The noble now declared that the wed- another wedding would demand their ding should take place forthwith ; the assistance. Tbis augury proved to be rest of Ahmed's fortune could be earned correct. by deputy. He would himself purchase Almansor invited the happy pair to the whole mountain, and, with Ahmed, reside in the palace till fortune should would have the torrent-beds thoroughly enable them to build for themselves. searched for their treasures. As Ahmed Ahmed made much of his late waterfelt that he had fairly earned a little bearer, and a good number of his forhappiness, after so many cruel pains mer servants found employment in the and privations, he was careful to in- palace or on the estates. For many terpose no objection to this arrange- years thereafter his peace was never ment. So that, in a couple of weeks, once disturbed by serious misfortune. every preparation having been made, The purchase of the mountain proved the wedding took place, amid great re- to be a lucky investment. It was not joicings.
long afterward repurchased by the govCalcar, the late steward, having met ernment for five hundred thousand with a serious accident, felt so appre 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.”
“Why didn't your uncle Schirzad try the same thing ?” asked Schabrier.
“ 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."
“ Indeed!” exclaimed the Sultan, becoming interested; "please explain.”
“Most willingly,” responded the amiable Scheherazade. “ His first aim is, to fix the attention, for, failing in that point, he would fail in all; his second, to teach morals and 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 States an equal, if not a greater, addihis “Recollections and Conversations”), tion to the colloquial system has been "by his boasting of the superiority of drawn from the Indian dialects. A the Americans generally, but especially great influx of foreigners, natives of the in their language, provoked me to tell Continent of Europe, came into England him that, on that head, the least said with William the Conqueror, and added the better, as the Americans presented many new terms to the existing vernacthe extraordinary anomaly of a people ular; and our country has long been without a language; that they had mis- the receptacle for vast numbers of peotaken the English language for bazgage ple from the same Continent, who came (which is called "plunder' in America), as colonists in former days, who come and had stolen it."
as emigrants now, and whose influence What a fearful course of boredom on the language is already perceptible. an American" must have inflicted So it seems that the language used in upon good Mr. Coleridge to wring from the United States exhibits, with regard that mild and sensible gentleman, even to its birth and growth, a perfect repesemi-seriously, such an absurd remark tition of the one Mr. Coleridge accuses as this! A slight examination of the us of having stolen, subject could not have failed to con- It is true, our language closely resemvince him that the Americans obtained bles that of England; and the adtheir language by a process exactly sim- vanced state of civilization in both ilar to that which gave the English countries, the constant and general intheirs; and that, if there was any dis- tercourse between them, and the existhonesty in the transaction, we had the ence of a common literature, must long example of his own nation before us at operate to prevent them from becoming the time.
radically, or even substantially, differIndeed, the origin and progress of ent. But admitting all this, there does the Englislı language proper could hard- not seem to be any reason why Amerily correspond more exactly than they cans should not call the language they do with those of the one spoken in the speak “ the American language,” even United States. The groundwork, so to if there were no words in it that are speak, of the first-named tongue, was not generally used in England also. brought to England by certain enter- This, however, is far from being the prising fillibusters; and the same ele
There are many words used ment in our language was introduced every day in the United States which here by a similar set of gentlemen, who, would be perfectly unintelligible to in their dealings with the natives, dis- ninety-nine per cent. of the English played the same talent for the acquisi- people. Many of these words arc detion of real estate that so strikingly dis- rived from the Dutch, Spanish, French, tinguished the Angli of old. In Eng- and German languages, while a large land a number of indigenous Celtic number also have been obtained from words were engrafted upon the Teuton- the Indians. These last enter much ic lingual stock; and in the United more extensively into the composition
of our language than is generally real, child, suppose it to be an original Afriized, and many of them are among the can substantive; but, as is stated in most commonly-used words in it. Mr. Bartlett's valuable Dictionary of
It is these classes of words that form Americanisms," it is derived from the the really distinctive features of what Spanish phrase pequeño niño, little child. may be called the American language. The common title of the well-known
Of course, the national origin, and sand-flea, i. e., "jigger,” may be ascribed even the primary meaning, of many of to the same source, being derived from these American words, are familiar to the Spanish chigoe. "Jerked” beef is a large proportion of the people; but a corrupted form of charqui, the name there are some belonging to each class of the same article in all Spanish-Amerabout which almost all reliable infor- ican countries except Mexico, where it mation seems confined to those who is called tasajo. “ Creole " affords a have made the subject a study. Per- striking instance of the way in which haps the words of German, French, and American words are misunderstood in Spanish extraction are the most gen. England. A very general impression erally known; while those taken from prevails in that country that it means a Dutch and Indian sources are the least person of mixed race. The true signi
fication is very different. It is a corrurAmong the words borrowed from the tion of criollo, the name given by the Spanish is savannah; which, transmog- Spaniards in all their former American rified into “Salwanners," was believed colonies to the native white inhabitants, by the old English inn-keeper in “Bar- and used in contradistinction to gachunaby Rudge” to be the name of a fero- pino (from an Aztec word meaning " a cious tribe of Indians, whose sole occu- horseman"), which was confined to pations were digging up tomahawks Spanish residents. The mixed races and emitting unearthly war-whoops. have always had their own distinctive (This gentleman was certainly not very names, as meztizo, mulatto, zambo, &c. conversant with “the English language The word “creole,” as now used in the as spoken in America.") Savana, or United States, has preserved its origisabana, meaning, in Spanish, a bed- nal Spanish meaning, and also includes sheet, was the name given by the Span- Louisianians of French descent. “Caliards to the southern representatives of aboose" comes from the Spanish calathe grassy plains called by the French bozo, a dungeon. “Picayune," Spanish prairies. The name was used in Flori- picayuna, is said to have been originalda, and, when that territory became part ly derived from the language of the of the United States, was incorporated Caribbe islanders. “Musketo" is the into the language of the new inhabit- Spanish mosquito, adopted without ants.
change of sound. “Lagoon,” from laThe title used everywhere in the Uni- guna, a lake, is a vestige of the Spanish ted States for the cayman, or American occupation of Louisiana. “ Siesta" is crocodile, viz., " alligator," is another the Spanish name for the sixth hour Spanish-American word.
It is a cor- after sunrise, when every body in the ruption of the name given to the crea- tropics indulges in a nap.
“ Garrote" ture by the Spanish settlers, which was comes from garrota, the Spanish mode el lagarto, the lizard. The word “key,” of punishment hy strangulation. “Muapplied to the small islands of the latto” differs very slightly from the Florida coast, is the present form of the Spanish mulato, mixed breed, from muoriginal Spanish name, cayo; and Key lo, a mule. “ Zambo” (popularized West, though seemingly composed of “Sambo”) is the true Spanish term for two common words of Saxon parent- a person of negro and Indian blood. agc, is really American for Cayo Hueso, “Bit” (as used in the once common exbonc islet. Probably most persons who pression, “fi’-penny-bit”) is a remnant use the term “pickaninny" for å ncgro- of the Spanish pieza. “Stampede"
comes from estampado, a stamping of the Indian peace-pipe, has been called feet, and was first used in speaking of an Indian word, but it is really the title the herds of cattle and troops of mus- applied to it by the colonists of New tangs that were
France. Its analogy to the Latin calain northern Mexico. “ Placer” (pro- mus, a reed, is evident; and as all Innounced in California plah-sair') was dian pipes had stems of reed, it is quite borrowed from the Mexican population, an appropriate term. “Portage” is the and has given name to the American name given by the French voyageurs to city of Placerville.
the space between two rivers or their Other very common instances are head-waters, over which the bark canoes “mustang," from mesteño; “lasso," were carried in the days of canoe-travel. from lazo; “ sierra,” meaning literally The ordinary name, at present, for the a saw, and used very appropriately to Felis concolor (often called “panther," describe the serrated mountain-chains from its resemblance to the real panther of the Pacific coast; peon,” primarily of Africa), is “cougar.” This is a slight a foot-soldier, and by application a serf alteration of couguar, the term applied or bond-servant; coyote,” a Spanish to it by the French, and taken by them corruption of coyotl, the Aztec name for from cuguaracu, its name among the the prairie-wolf; “ fandango,” a name Guaranies of South America. The Al. said to have been brought, with the gonquin Indians called it mishe-peshea, dance itself, to the Spanish West Indies big wild-cat; wbile its appellation outby negroes from Guinea ; " sombrero," side of France and the United States is a literal appropriation of the Spanish puma, which is its name among the name, which is derived from sombra, Quichoans of Peru. “ Caribou,” the shade; “cañon,” pronounced canyon'; distinctive designation of the American “ ranch,” Spanish rancho, a cattle-farm; reindeer, was originally taken from the and “ muskeet," from the Spanish mez- French patois of the Northwest. “Voquite, the species of acacia so common yageur" is still used in the United States on the Plains.
to describe that peculiar class of travThe French-American words are very elling fur-traders once so numerous on numerous, and may be ascribed to the the Upper Mississippi. “Bayou" is a influence of the French settlers in that remnant of the old French word boyau, vast region originally called New & leathern pipe, a long and narrow France.
place, or a branch of a trench. Levée," Two of the most common animals in another Creole word, preserves the ordigenous to the prairie-country still re- thography of the French name for a tain their French names; one of these raised bank of carth. “ Barbecue " is the bison, and the other the little may be traced to the French phrase de marmot (Cynomus ludovicianus), some- barbe à queue, from snout to tail, and is times called “prairie-dog,” but in the about equivalent to “the whole hog." West generally designated “gopher." “ Calash " is a modification of calèche, a The latter term retains the sound of the kind of gig, which this bonnet (“in French name, gaufre, a honeycomb, England,” says Mr. Bartlett,“ very apgiven on account of its custom of propriately called an ugly ") was thought
honeycombing" the ground with its to resemble. “ Cache,” or, as sometimes little subterranean dwellings. The written, “cash," long used on the fronWestern colloquial expression, “ to tier as a name for the holes in the gopher,” meaning to dig or burrow, is ground in which it was the practice to taken from the same source. In anoth- hide provisions or goods, comes from er Western conversational phrase, "to the French verb cacher, to conceal. be in cahoot” (that is, in partnership) Among the most common: of the with another, the last word is a varia- French-American words used to detion upon the French cohorte, company. scribe the different classes of mixed Calumet,"
," the universal name for races inhabiting this country, are