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Bible, and I doubt not correctly. It is common to find two sides of the one room where the native farmer resides with his cattle fitted up with these mangers, and the remainder elevated about two feet higher for the accommodation of the family. The mangers are built of small stones and mortar, in the shape of a box, or, rather, of a kneading-trough, and, when cleaned up and whitewashed, as they often are in summer, they do very well to lay little babes in. Indeed, our own children have slept in them in our rude summer retreats on the mountains.
As to the donkey, he is a slandered and much-abused animal. He is poorly fed, hard worked, overloaded, and beaten without reason or mercy. Their saddles are so ill-shaped, so hard, and so ragged, that they wound the back and shoulders, and the rough ropes which bind on the burdens lacerate the flesh wherever they come in contact with it. No wonder, therefore, that he has a gaunt frame, a tottering gait, ears which slouch heavily round his head, and a stupid and woe-begone stare out of hopeless eyes. But when young and unbroken, they are as lively and playful as kittens; and when well fed, the male is, without exception, the most pugnacious brute on earth. Dogs full of fire and fight as Dandy Dinmont's varieties of pepper will yet sometimes be at peace, but two fat male donkeys can never be brought together, night or day, in summer or in winter, without instant war.
XXVIII. TIBERIAS TO NAZARETH.
March 28th. It is six hours to Nazareth, but as there is nothing of special interest along the direct route by Lubieh, we will turn northward over this rocky shore to Mejdel. The path commands one of the finest views of the lake and surrounding scenery, and when the water was covered with boats and ships, and the land adorned with villas, orchards, and groves, the tout ensemble must have been beautiful, and even mag. nificent. But now, how solitary and sad! There is something oppressive in this unbroken silence; the very ducks on the lake are " shockingly tame," and the stupid fish gather in crowds, and stare up into one's face without the least alarm. Let us stop and look at them congregated around these copious tepid and nauseous fountains of Fûlîyeh. Travelers call them 'Ain el Barideh-Cold Fountains; but I have not heard that name applied to them by the Arabs, and there is no propriety in it, for they are decidedly warm. Dr. Robinson says that the great road from the south comes down to the shore at this point, along this Wady 'Ammas; but, if this was formerly the case, it is nearly deserted now, and the main road descends Wady Hamâm. I myself have always ascended by that ravine, nor have I ever seen any one pass up this wady of Abu el Ammâs.
These circular structures about Fûlîyeh have puzzled all travelers who have noticed them. They are ancient, and some think they are ruined baths, but there are no traces of any of the necessary accessories to such establishments, and without these they could not have been used for bathing. They do not appear to have been vaulted over, and the probability is that they were erected, like those at Ras el 'Ain, near Tyre, and at Kabereh, to elevate the water of the fountains to irrigate this little vale of Fûlîyeh and to drive the mills of Mejdel. An inexhaustible mill-stream must always have been of immense importance to the inhabitants of this neighborhood.
Is this wild mustard that is growing so luxuriantly and blossoming so fragrantly along our path ?
It is; and I have always found it here in spring, and, a little later than this, the whole surface of the vale will be gilded over with its yellow flowers. I have seen this plant on the rich plain of Akkâr as tall as the horse and his rider. It has occurred to me on former visits that the mustard-tree of the parable probably grew at this spot, or possibly at Tabiga, near Capernaum, for the water in both is somewhat similar, and so are the vegetable productions. To furnish an adequate basis for the proverb, it is necessary to suppose that a variety of it was cultivated in the time of our Saviour, which grew to an enormous size, and shot forth large branches, so that the fowls of the air could lodge in the
MUSTARD PLANT-IRBY AND MANGLES.
branches of it. It may have been perennial, and have grown to a considerable tree, and there are traditions in the country of such so large that a man could climb into them; and after having seen red pepper bushes grow on, year after year, into tall shrubs, and the castor bean line the brooks about Damascus like the willows and the poplars, I can readily credit the existence of mustard-trees large enough to meet all the demands of our Lord's parable.
Irby and Mangles, going from the south end of the Dead Sea to Kerak, found a tree in great abundance, which had a berry growing in clusters like currants, and with the color of a plum. The taste was pleasant, though strongly aromatic, and closely resembled that of mustard, and, if taken in considerable quantity, it had precisely the same effects as mustard. The leaves had the same pungent flavor as the seed, although not so strong. They think this is the tree of the parable, and it may be so. They give no name to this remarkable plant, but it well deserves a more careful and scientific examination. At any rate, I should not be surprised to find in some such locality a mustard plant, which, when grown, " is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." I once discovered a veritable cabbagetree on the cliffs of Dog River, and many curious vegetable anomalies doubtless remain to be detected and described.
We are not to suppose that the mustard-seed is the least of all seeds in the world, but it was the smallest which the husbandman was accustomed to sow, and the "tree," when full grown, was larger than the other herbs in his garden. To press the literal meaning of the terms any farther would be a violation of one of the plainest canons of interpretation. This ample size, with branches shooting out in all directions, yet springing from the very smallest beginnings, contains, as I suppose, the special meaning and intention of the parable. It is in this sense only that the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed. Our Saviour did not select it because of any inherent qualities, medicinal or
Matt. xiii. 31, 32; Mark iv. 30-32; Luke xiii. 18, 19.
otherwise, which belonged to it. True, it is pungent, and penetrating, and fiery, and searching, and must be bruised or crushed before it will give out its special virtues; and one might go on enumerating such qualities, and multiplying analogies between these properties of mustard and certain attributes of true religion, or of the Church, or of the individual Christian, but they are foreign to any object that Jesus had in view, and must therefore be altogether fanciful. Such exposition dilutes the sense, and dissipates the force and point of his sayings, and should not be encouraged.
Here, on the side of this mountain, above Fûlîyeh, I had my first introduction, some twenty years ago, to the farfamed locusts of the East. Noticing something peculiar on the hill side, I rode up to examine it, when, to my amazement, the whole surface became agitated, and began to roll down the declivity. My horse was so terrified that I was obliged to dismount. The locusts were very young, not yet able even to jump; they had the shape, however, of minute grasshoppers. Their numbers seemed infinite, and in their haste to get out of my way they literally rolled over and over, like semi-fluid mortar an inch or two in thickness. Many years after this I became better acquainted with these extraordinary creatures in Abeîh on Lebanon.
Early in the spring of 1845, these insects appeared in considerable numbers along the sea-coast and on the lower spurs of the mountains. They did no great injury at the time, and, having laid their eggs, immediately disappeared. The people, familiar with their habits, looked with anxiety to the time when these eggs would be hatched, nor were their fears groundless or exaggerated. For several days previous to the first of June we had heard that millions of young locusts were on their march up the valley toward our village, and at length I was told that they had reached the lower part of it. Summoning all the people I could collect, we went to meet and attack them, hoping to stop their progress altogether, or at least to turn aside the line of their march. Never shall I lose the impression produced by the