The Dog And The Horse

Zadig found by experience that the first month of marriage, as it is

written in the book of Zend, is the moon of honey, and that the second

is the moon of wormwood. He was some time after obliged to repudiate

Azora, who became too difficult to be pleased; and he then sought for

happiness in the study of nature. "No man," said he, "can be happier

than a philosopher who reads in this great book which God hath placed

e our eyes. The truths he discovers are his own, he nourishes and

exalts his soul; he lives in peace; he fears nothing from men; and his

tender spouse will not come to cut off his nose."

Possessed of these ideas he retired to a country house on the banks of

the Euphrates. There he did not employ himself in calculating how many

inches of water flow in a second of time under the arches of a bridge,

or whether there fell a cube line of rain in the month of the Mouse

more than in the month of the Sheep. He never dreamed of making silk of

cobwebs, or porcelain of broken bottles; but he chiefly studied the

properties of plants and animals; and soon acquired a sagacity that

made him discover a thousand differences where other men see nothing

but uniformity.

One day, as he was walking near a little wood, he saw one of the

queen's eunuchs running toward him, followed by several officers, who

appeared to be in great perplexity, and who ran to and fro like men

distracted, eagerly searching for something they had lost of great

value. "Young man," said the first eunuch, "hast thou seen the queen's

dog?" "It is a female," replied Zadig. "Thou art in the right,"

returned the first eunuch. "It is a very small she spaniel," added

Zadig; "she has lately whelped; she limps on the left forefoot, and has

very long ears." "Thou hast seen her," said the first eunuch, quite out

of breath. "No," replied Zadig, "I have not seen her, nor did I so much

as know that the queen had a dog."

Exactly at the same time, by one of the common freaks of fortune, the

finest horse in the king's stable had escaped from the jockey in the

plains of Babylon. The principal huntsman and all the other officers

ran after him with as much eagerness and anxiety as the first eunuch

had done after the spaniel. The principal huntsman addressed himself to

Zadig, and asked him if he had not seen the king's horse passing by.

"He is the fleetest horse in the king's stable," replied Zadig; "he is

five feet high, with very small hoofs, and a tail three feet and a half

in length; the studs on his bit are gold of twenty-three carats, and

his shoes are silver of eleven pennyweights." "What way did he take?

where is he?" demanded the chief huntsman. "I have not seen him,"

replied Zadig, "and never heard talk of him before."

The principal huntsman and the first eunuch never doubted but that

Zadig had stolen the king's horse and the queen's spaniel. They

therefore had him conducted before the assembly of the grand desterham,

who condemned him to the knout, and to spend the rest of his days in

Siberia. Hardly was the sentence passed when the horse and the spaniel

were both found. The judges were reduced to the disagreeable necessity

of reversing their sentence; but they condemned Zadig to pay four

hundred ounces of gold for having said that he had not seen what he had

seen. This fine he was obliged to pay; after which he was permitted to

plead his cause before the counsel of the grand desterham, when he

spoke to the following effect:

"Ye stars of justice, abyss of sciences, mirrors of truth, who have the

weight of lead, the hardness of iron, the splendor of the diamond, and

many properties of gold: Since I am permitted to speak before this

august assembly, I swear to you by Oramades that I have never seen the

queen's respectable spaniel, nor the sacred horse of the king of kings.

The truth of the matter was as follows: I was walking toward the little

wood, where I afterwards met the venerable eunuch, and the most

illustrious chief huntsman. I observed on the sand the traces of an

animal, and could easily perceive them to be those of a little dog. The

light and long furrows impressed on little eminences of sand between

the marks of the paws plainly discovered that it was a female, whose

dugs were hanging down, and that therefore she must have whelped a few

days before. Other traces of a different kind, that always appeared to

have gently brushed the surface of the sand near the marks of the

forefeet, showed me that she had very long ears; and as I remarked that

there was always a slighter impression made on the sand by one foot

than the other three, I found that the spaniel of our august queen was

a little lame, if I may be allowed the expression.

"With regard to the horse of the king of kings, you will be pleased to

know that, walking in the lanes of this wood, I observed the marks of a

horse's shoes, all at equal distances. This must be a horse, said I to

myself, that gallops excellently. The dust on the trees in the road

that was but seven feet wide was a little brushed off, at the distance

of three feet and a half from the middle of the road. This horse, said

I, has a tail three feet and a half long, which being whisked to the

right and left, has swept away the dust. I observed under the trees

that formed an arbor five feet in height, that the leaves of the

branches were newly fallen; from whence I inferred that the horse had

touched them, and that he must therefore be five feet high. As to his

bit, it must be gold of twenty-three carats, for he had rubbed its

bosses against a stone which I knew to be a touchstone, and which I

have tried. In a word, from the marks made by his shoes on flints of

another kind, I concluded that he was shod with silver eleven deniers


All the judges admired Zadig for his acute and profound discernment.

The news of this speech was carried even to the king and queen. Nothing

was talked of but Zadig in the antechambers, the chambers, and the

cabinet; and though many of the magi were of opinion that he ought to

be burned as a sorcerer, the king ordered his officers to restore him

the four hundred ounces of gold which he had been obliged to pay. The

register, the attorneys, and bailiffs, went to his house with great

formality, to carry him back his four hundred ounces. They only

retained three hundred and ninety-eight of them to defray the expenses

of justice; and their servants demanded their fees.

Zadig saw how extremely dangerous it sometimes is to appear too

knowing, and therefore resolved that on the next occasion of the like

nature he would not tell what he had seen.

Such an opportunity soon offered. A prisoner of state made his escape,

and passed under the window of Zadig's house. Zadig was examined and

made no answer. But it was proved that he had looked at the prisoner

from this window. For this crime he was condemned to pay five hundred

ounces of gold; and, according to the polite custom of Babylon, he

thanked his judges for their indulgence.

"Great God!" said he to himself, "what a misfortune it is to walk in a

wood through which the queen's spaniel or the king's horse has passed!

how dangerous to look out at a window! and how difficult to be happy in

this life!"