down by
turn to tradition with its fables and stories, then we get to such fond tales as that of the Wolf which stood howling before Mahomet; whereupon he turned to his Companions, telling them that this wolf was a deputation to him from the Beasts of the forests:—'Wherefore if ye will (continued he) let us impose upon it certain conditions which they shall not transgress; or if ye will we shall let it go free.' They answered that they did not care to impose conditions; then Mahomet made signs to it with his three fingers, whereupon it turned and went away. Wonderful! (proceeding in a strain of irony) that Mahomet should understand the inarticulate bark of a wolf! Suppose he had said, This wolf is a messenger from the Almighty to me, could any one have gainsaid it? Such tales, my brother, are meant only for ignorant people innocent of reason and the laws of evidence." Another story of a wolf speaking to one of the Companions (strange, he adds, that both miracles should be in connexion with an animal called in the Scriptures "ravening") he treats with equal contempt. Such conceits were not for sensible men, and there was no need to dwell longer on them. He dismisses with similar scorn the legend of the bull that spoke; the goat whose empty udders swelled when touched by Mahomet; and the tree which advanced at his call, ploughing up the ground—a tradition rejected even by intelligent Moslems. More space is given to the miracle of the Roasted shoulder of mutton,


xii. 21.
which, having been sent to the Prophet by Zeinab the Jewess, told him that it was poisoned, and of which Bishr ate and died thereof. "Either Mahomet alone beard the shoulder speak, and then why did he conceal the matter, and not prevent Bishr (a chosen guest) from eating of the same? or the whole company heard it, and then Bishr himself would surely have refrained. There is no escape from the dilemma. Or, forsooth, was it that Bishr ate on, secure in the company of a prophet whom the Lord heard alway, and answered his prayers? Why, then, did not thy Master pray to his Lord, as the prophets of old who interceded and the dead were raised to life again; even as Elias raised the widow's son, and his disciple Elisha the son of the Shunamite? And after his death, virtue remained even in the bones of Elisha, so that a dead man placed upon the same revived and stood upon his feet. Thou knowest that this is true, for it is in the Scripture, as thou mayest read in the Book of Kings. There is no difference in the text between the Jews and Christians; for though we differ in religion we agree in the truth of this. Now, why, when Bishr did eat, was the poison not made harmless? Then surely had it been a sign of thy Master's prophetic office: for prophets and holy men of old were shielded by the Lord from calamities incident to those in unbelief,—according to the promise of our Lord to His disciples in the holy Gospel, which was fulfilled to them, in that He said, If ye drink deadly