By Lew Wallace
A bestseller for the reason that 1880...
The vintage saga of the Roman Empire
From an exhilarating sea conflict to its recognized chariot race to the soreness of the Crucifixion, this can be the epic story of a prince who grew to become a slave and by way of a coincidence and his personal skill-won an opportunity at freedom.
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Additional info for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
He mounts the horse and whips it into action. The magic horse flies him to the roof of another palace and, as the dervish dismounts, the horse lashes out with its tail, striking out his right eye. The dervish finds that he has been brought back to the palace of the ten one-eyed men. His story has been a warning to the curious. It is as if the storyteller is teasing the audience, saying to them: ‘Beware. ’ Also, perhaps, the interdiction ‘Whatever you do, do not do this’ acts as a kind of dam, slowing the narrative stream of the plot.
As soon as the newcomer had sat down, a huge dust-devil appeared in the middle of the desert, clearing away to show the ‘ifrit with a drawn sword in his hand and sparks shooting from his eyes. ’ The merchant sobbed and wept, while the three old men shed tears, wailed and lamented. ’ The ‘ifrit agreed to do this if he found the story marvellous, AND SO THE OLD MAN BEGAN HIS TALE: Know, ‘ifrit, that this gazelle is my cousin, my own flesh and blood. I married her when she was still young and stayed with her for thirty years without her bearing me a child.
The storytellers had only a slight interest in the lives of the fellahin or peasants (though there are a few stories about them). Beyond the walls of the city of the storytellers lay mostly wasteland and desert, populated by huntsmen, woodcutters, bandits and ghuls. The storytellers and their listeners rarely ventured beyond the city and into the desert. It was rarely that they entered a palace, and never its harem; certainly they never visited the Valley of Diamonds or the Island of Waq-Waq with its trees bearing human fruit.
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