|He said there once
lived not far from the River Indus an ancient Persian by the name of Al
Hafed. He said that Al Hafed owned a very large farm with orchards,
grain fields and gardens. He was a contented and wealthy man --
contented because he was wealthy, and wealthy because he was contented.
One day there visited this old farmer one of those ancient Buddhist
priests, and he sat down by Al Hafed's fire and told that old farmer how
this world of ours was made.
He said that this world was once a mere
bank of fog, which is scientifically true, and he said that the Almighty
thrust his finger into the bank of fog and then began slowly to move his
finger around and gradually to increase the speed of his finger until at
last he whirled that bank of fog into a solid ball of fire, and it went
rolling through the universe, burning its way through other cosmic banks
of fog, until it condensed the moisture without, and fell in floods of
rain upon the heated surface and cooled the outward crust. Then the
internal flames burst through the cooling crust and threw up the
mountains and made the hills and the valleys of this wonderful world of
ours. If this internal melted mass burst out and cooled very quickly it
became granite; that which cooled less quickly became silver; and less
quickly, gold; and after gold diamonds were made. Said the old priest,
"A diamond is a congealed drop of sunlight."
This is a scientific truth also. You
all know that a diamond is pure carbon, actually deposited sunlight --
and he said another thing I would not forget: he declared that a diamond
is the last and highest of God's mineral creations, as a woman is the
last and highest of God's animal creations. I suppose that is the reason
why the two have such a liking for each other. And the old priest told
Al Hafed that if he had a handful of diamonds he could purchase a whole
country, and with a mine of diamonds he could place his children upon
thrones through the influence of their great wealth.
Al Hafed heard all about diamonds and
how much they were worth, and went to his bed that night a poor man --
not that he had lost anything, but poor because he was discontented and
discontented because he thought he was poor. He said: "I want a mine of
diamonds!" So he lay awake all night, and early in the morning sought
out the priest.
Now I know from experience that a
priest when awakened early in the morning is cross. He awoke that priest
out of his dreams and said to him, "Will you tell me where I can find
diamonds?" The priest said, "Diamonds? What do you want with diamonds?"
"I want to be immensely rich," said Al Hafed, "but I don't know where to
go." "Well," said the priest, "if you will find a river that runs over
white sand between high mountains, in those sands you will always see
diamonds." "Do you really believe that there is such a river?" "Plenty
of them, plenty of them; all you have to do is just go and find them,
then you have them." Al Hafed said, "I will go." So he sold his farm,
collected his money at interest, left his family in charge of a
neighbor, and away he went in search of diamonds.
He began very properly, to my mind, at
the Mountains of the Moon. Afterwards he went around into Palestine,
then wandered on into Europe, and at last, when his money was all spent,
and he was in rags, wretchedness and poverty, he stood on the shore of
that bay in Barcelona, Spain, when a tidal wave came rolling in through
the Pillars of Hercules and the poor, afflicted, suffering man could not
resist the awful temptation to cast himself into that incoming tide, and
he sank beneath its foaming crest, never to rise in this life again.
When that old guide had told me that
very sad story, he stopped the camel I was riding and went back to fix
the baggage on one of the other camels, and I remember thinking to
myself, "Why did he reserve that for his particular friends?" There
seemed to be no beginning, middle or end -- nothing to it. That was the
first story I ever heard told or read in which the hero was killed in
the first chapter. I had but one chapter of that story and the hero was
When the guide came back and
took up the halter of my camel again, he went right on with the same
story. He said that Al Hafed's successor led his camel out into the
garden to drink, and as that camel put its nose down into the clear
water of the garden brook Al Hafed's successor noticed a curious flash
of light from the sands of the shallow stream, and reaching in he pulled
out a black stone having an eye of light that reflected all the colors
of the rainbow, and he took that curious pebble into the house and left
it on the mantel, then went on his way and forgot all about it.
A few days after that, this same old
priest who told Al Hafed how diamonds were made, came in to visit his
successor, when he saw that flash of light from the mantel. He rushed up
and said, "Here is a diamond -- here is a diamond! Has Al Hafed
returned?" "No, no; Al Hafed has not returned and that is not a diamond;
that is nothing but a stone; we found it right out here in our garden."
"But I know a diamond when I see it," said he; "that is a diamond!"
Then together they rushed to the garden
and stirred up the white sands with their fingers and found others more
beautiful, more valuable diamonds than the first, and thus, said the
guide to me, were discovered the diamond mines of Golconda, the most
magnificent diamond mines in all the history of mankind, exceeding the
Kimberley in its value. The great Kohinoor diamond in England's crown
jewels and the largest crown diamond on earth in Russia's crown jewels,
which I had often hoped she would have to sell before they had peace
with Japan, came from that mine, and when the old guide had called my
attention to that wonderful discovery he took his Turkish cap off his
head again and swung it around in the air to call my attention to the