As soon as Setoc arrived among his own tribe he demanded the payment of
five hundred ounces of silver, which he had lent to a Jew in presence
of two witnesses; but as the witnesses were dead, and the debt could
not be proved, the Hebrew appropriated the merchant's money to himself,
and piously thanked God for putting it in his power to cheat an
Arabian. Setoc imparted this troublesome affair to Zadig, who was now
become his counsel.
"In what place," said Zadig, "didst thou lend the five hundred ounces
to this infidel?"
"Upon a large stone," replied the merchant, "that lies near Mount
"What is the character of thy debtor?" said Zadig.
"That of a knave," returned Setoc.
"But I ask thee whether he is lively or phlegmatic, cautious or
"He is, of all bad payers," said Setoc, "the most lively fellow I ever
"Well," resumed Zadig, "allow me to plead thy cause." In effect Zadig,
having summoned the Jew to the tribunal, addressed the judge in the
following terms: "Pillow of the throne of equity, I come to demand of
this man, in the name of my master, five hundred ounces of silver,
which he refuses to pay."
"Hast thou any witnesses?" said the judge.
"No, they are dead; but there remains a large stone upon which the
money was counted; and if it please thy grandeur to order the stone to
be sought for, I hope that it will bear witness. The Hebrew and I will
tarry here till the stone arrives; I will send for it at my master's
"With all my heart," replied the judge, and immediately applied himself
to the discussion of other affairs.
When the court was going to break up, the judge said to Zadig, "Well,
friend, is not thy stone come yet?"
The Hebrew replied with a smile, "Thy grandeur may stay here till the
morrow, and after all not see the stone. It is more than six miles from
hence; and it would require fifteen men to move it."
"Well," cried Zadig, "did not I say that the stone would bear witness?
Since this man knows where it is, he thereby confesses that it was upon
it that the money was counted." The Hebrew was disconcerted, and was
soon after obliged to confess the truth. The judge ordered him to be
fastened to the stone, without meat or drink, till he should restore
the five hundred ounces, which were soon after paid.
The slave Zadig and the stone were held in great repute in Arabia.
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