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strange and monstrous things. This man may have been prompted to get off his donkey and pray merely because it is now the 'asr—the regular hour for afternoon prayer; and this little river furnishes water for the necessary ablutions.
I am surprised to see the plain covered with men plowing and sowing at this late season.
This is common, and will continue all winter. It has always been so,
I suppose. Solomon says the sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold, or winter, as the margin has it, therefore shall he beg in harvest and have nothing. Our farmers do actually plow in the severest weather. I have often seen them shivering with cold, and contending with wind and rain, quite enough to discourage those who are not sluggards. But time has become precious and critical, and he who expects to reap must sow, no matter how tempestuous the weather. He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. This hard necessity of winter-work is mainly owing to the wretched implements used, and to a strange deficiency in agricultural science and skill. If the farmers had good plows and adequate teams, they might break up and prepare their ground in fair weather, and then, when sufficient rain had fallen, they would sow the whole crop in a few days. But these men, with their frail plows and tiny oxen, must wait until the ground is saturated and softened, however late in the season that may
2 Eccl. xi. 4.
: Prov. xx. 4.
be. Then they can not sow and plow in more than half an acre per day, and few average so much, and hence the work is dragged along for months. They know nothing about the harrow, and merely plow under the seed, and leave it to take its chance. Job, however, speaks of the harrow; and, if our translation be correct, it is one of the oldest agricultural implements in the world.
We have another Biblical illustration before us. In 1 Kings xix. 19, we read that Elijah found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. We are not to suppose that he had a team of twelve yoke of oxen before him. If you count these here at work, you find seven separate plows following one after another as closely as possible; and I have seen more than a dozen of them thus at work. To understand the reason of this, several things must be taken into account. First, that the arable lands of nearly all villages are cultivated in common; then, that Arab farmers delight to work together in companies, partly for mutual protection, and in part from their love of gossip; and, as they sow no more ground than they can plow during the day, one sower will answer for the entire company.
Their little plows make no proper furrow, but merely root up and throw the soil on either side, and so any number may follow one another, each making its own scratch along the back of the earth, and when at the end of the field, they can return along the same line, and thus back and forth until the whole is plowed. It was well that Elisha came the last of the twelve, for the act of Elijah would have stopped all that were in advance of him, They can not pass one another. Such brief hints let us far into the interior of ancient manners and customs. We may fairly conclude that Elisha's plow and oxen were much like those in this field, that the people worked in companies as they do now, and probably for the same reasons. These reasons suggest pain
1 Job xxxix. 10.
ful thoughts about insecurity, and oppression, and robbery; about the tenure of land; the mode of raising taxes and collecting rents, and I know not what besides. Why are lands now worked in common? Because they belong not to the farmers, but to feudal lords, or to government, which claims a certain part of the produce. In short, a vast concatenation of causes and effects, reaching up to the remotest ages of Biblical antiquity, is suggested by the manner in which these simple plowmen perform their labor.
To return to our Tell. It once formed the acropolis of a city whose shapeless remains are scattered over the plain. I have often seen these mounds near fountains which they were probably designed to command. Water is of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of all towns in Syria, and their fountains must be protected at any cost. All these things, however, speak unmistakably of misrule and danger, even far beyond any thing known to the present generation. Bad as the times are, the former were worse. It was infinitely worse when every hill-top was covered with a castle armed for defense, and when every farmer was at the same time a soldier.
This little river Burikîyeh drains the wady Kafûr, and during heavy rains is sometimes troublesome to travelers. The Romans found it so, if we may judge from these heavy abutments of a bridge built by them, but broken by the violence of the brook long ages ago. The next stream is callel ’Akabîyeh, and is spanned by a natural bridge at its mouth. I have ridden over it, though it is not more than three feet wide in the narrowest part. The road crosses higher up. This Wady el ’Akabîyeh runs far into the interior, across the district of Shûmar into that of Shūkîf. I once followed it to Nsar, en route to Safed. This Nsar was once a large town, and about it are many rock-tombs and other indications of antiquity. The country in that direction is wild and uncultivated. The inhabitants are Metāwelies, and great growers of tobacco.
One of St. Helen's towers stands on that projecting headland. It is also called 'Akabîyeh, probably from this brook. And there, by the sea-side, is our tent, pitched under the tall tamarisks of 'Ain el Kủnterah. , Near it is an apology for an inn, from which we can get barley for our horses, and eggs and lebn for ourselves; and, what is better, there is much to interest us hereabouts, for Sarepta's ruins cover the whole plain for more than a mile to the south of our campground, but we will postpone the examination of them till tomorrow. The sun is sinking quietly to rest in the sea, beneath a glowing canopy of crimson, gold, and blue, and there will be fair weather for many days to come. Such signals never deceive, and we can discern the face of the sky as well as the Jews, and the signs of the times far better than did that wicked and adulterous generation, that did not know the day of their merciful visitation.
XI. SIDON-SARAFEND-Continued. Our evening turns out as lovely as the day-quite too pleasant to be wasted in the tent. Let us take a stroll along this quiet and solitary shore.
As you please; but first wrap your cloak about you: the air is cool, and we have come from the shelter of home too recently to encounter it with safety. Let us go out to those white rocks which protect this little cove on the north.
This is indeed charming. The tired sea gently heaves its broad bosom, and the surf sobs and sighs along the shore like a vexed child sinking to sleep. And how gloriously the full-orbed moon rises over Lebanon! How many
miles may those majestic mountains be from us?
The nearest, fifteen; the most distant, sixty at least; but, light as are our nights, you would not see them thus distinctly were it not for their robes of fresh snow. Those mountains remind me of my promise to tell you something about the two rivers we crossed on our way from Sidon.
In the wildest of those gorges, whose outlines lie in misty shadows along the south end of Lebanon, bursts out a copious spring called Neb'a et Tāsy-Fountain of the Cup. It is the source of the Zahrany. The ancient Sidonians coveted this ice-cold water, and did actually lead it to their city,
CANAL OF ZOBEIDA.
along a line of canal which might well confound the boldest engineer. A channel was hewn in the rock, into which the new-born river was turned, and thence carried down the gorge southward until it could double the promontory of Jerju'a, after which it meandered as it could northward for eight miles, spanning deep ravines over high arches, and descending into Wady Kefrah, below Jeba'ah. Beyond this, the aqueduct was led along frightful cliffs, where goats can scarcely keep their feet, for more than a mile, and thence it followed the ridge of Kefr Milky, past the village, into the wady of the Sanîk, where it was joined by another aqueduct from Neb'a er Râhib, the source of that river. The two canals were taken thence down the river, but separately, one about fifteen feet above the other. The system of arches by which these works were carried across the ravines and rivers is still almost perfect, and the cliffs to which they cling are absolutely perpendicular for miles together. As there are no traces of arches by which the water was led across the low plain up to the city, it has been conjectured that the Sidonian engineers were acquainted, at that early age, with the principle in hydrostatics that water will rise to the level of its source. People also tell me that fragments of earthen pipes, incased in lead, have been dug up in the gardens, in the probable line of these canals. These may have served to conduct the water to the city.
This great work, thus briefly described, reflects much credit not only on the ancient inhabitants of Sidon, but also on the science, skill, and courage of her engineers. The proposition to carry the water of Neb’a et Tāsy from its source, in the wild ravine of Jebel Rihan, to Sidon, would make even a New York engineer hesitate. Who constructed these canals, and when, are questions which can not now be answered. They bear the name of Zobeida, but this affords no clew to the mystery; the only Zobeida known to Arab history, I believe, was the wife of Haroun el Raschîd, a sort of Moslem St. Helena, author of every ancient work except those built by "Suleiman bin Daûd, upon whom be peace.” It is certain, however, that this lady did not construct these