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By Harold Lamb

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After supper they could talk undisturbed by ceremony; Suleiman could read and question Ibrahim, who answered readily even while fingering the muted strings of his violin. Ibrahim, who seldom needed to study books, was fluent in at least two languages Persian and Italian as well as his native Greek and acquired Turkish that his master barely un derstood. At will the brilliant Greek could tap the riches of classical Persian poetry, or quote from Dante. He could go far ahead of Suleiman’s thought.

In one corner of the Treasury stood the first standard of the Osmanlis, a small pole with a battered brass crescent under which hung two dried-out white horsetails. The ancient wood was carefully oiled, the long hairs combed smooth. Smiling, the attendants told Suleiman that a chieftain long before Osman had lost his standard in a battle, and had slashed the tail from a horse to make this new one, on the instant. To these men who crowded around him respectfully, he, Suleiman, was no more than the youth who must carry out the task of mTing; they wanted him to feel the importance of a wooden pole and a horsetail.

In one corner of the Treasury stood the first standard of the Osmanlis, a small pole with a battered brass crescent under which hung two dried-out white horsetails. The ancient wood was carefully oiled, the long hairs combed smooth. Smiling, the attendants told Suleiman that a chieftain long before Osman had lost his standard in a battle, and had slashed the tail from a horse to make this new one, on the instant. To these men who crowded around him respectfully, he, Suleiman, was no more than the youth who must carry out the task of mTing; they wanted him to feel the importance of a wooden pole and a horsetail.

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