The Author and inventor of the following tales relates, that in a city of the Grecians there was a king, named Wisdom, who sub­dued all the regions of the west; but his happiness was incomplete, because he had no son to take the active part in the government of the nation. The Almighty at length bestowed upon him a beauti­ful son, whom he called Heart. In process of time Heart grew in knowledge, and became prime-minister of state. Wisdom had a very strong fort, called Body’s castle, in which he stationed Heart as governor. Within this fort there was a palace, called the Palate, which, like a temple, was vaulted with a dome. After some time, having filled this exalted station with equity to all the world; he was one night in company with his privy councillors, who related some tales; in the course of which they stated, that the Almighty has in this world, an everlasting fountain from Paradise, named THE WATER OF LIFE, and those who drink of it, live for ever.

Heart, overcome with a thirst for that water, inquired about the fountain of life. All replied, “There is no road leading to it, nor account of any person having been at it.”

The ardent desire of tasting the water of life, brought on melan­choly, and Heart resigned the affairs of the nation; shutting himself up in his closet, and locking the door of familiar conversation.

It happened that Heart had a spy called Vision, watch of the city of Body: who coming to Heart in his retirement, and kissing the ground of submission, asked the cause of his sadness. Heart made no concealment, but recounted to him the excessive desire he conceived for the water. Vision replied: — Be not uneasy my Lord, nor resign the affairs of the nation, for I will quickly go and trace out the water of life, be it ever so distant.

Rejoiced at this answer, Heart took courage; and Vision set out in search of the desired water; travelled by sea and land, and after some time, reached the most distant parts of the world, witnessing many wondrous sights: among the rest, he came to a city abound­ing in lofty structures, and encompassed with extensive fields: its environs were most charming; its edifices truly sumptuous.

He secretly inquired of a person the history of the country, and the name of the reigning king. This place, replied the person, is called Health and Youth, and the name of the king is Fame.

Vision paid his respects to Fame, and questioned him about the water. The tale of the water of life, said he, is a mere fable which requires an interpretation:—know then, that whoever desires the water of life, must gain it by renown; because the water of life centres in those only who gain renown. Whosoever is nourished with this water, will have his name flowing in the mouths of the living till the day of judgment.

Thus disappointed, Vision left Fame’s city, and made across the mountains; till one day coming to a certain hill, he asked a person the name of it. This hill, said he, is termed FALSE HERMIT’S MOUNT, because it contains the cave of an old recluse called Falsity.

Vision paid a visit to Falsity, and questioned him about the water. He replied, “The fountain of the water of life is in the garden of Paradise, and the signs of it in this world are the tears of the penetential: therefore, one must put on the garb of piety, to be able to sip the clear and delicious sherbet of the people’s faith.”

Vision gaining no satisfactory information from the deceitful reply of Falsity, issued from the mountain, like a torrent, and hastened to the plain, where some days after, he discovered a fort, flanked with towers and lofty battlements. He inquired of a per­son the name of the fort, and who was the king: this is the city of Direction said he: and the sovereign of the country is a stripling, named Attention.

Vision waited upon Attention, and having kissed the ground of submission, he inquired about the water of life. Young man, said Attention, the fountain of life is undoubtedly in the world, though difficult of access; because there is no road to it, nor person who knows in what direction it lies.

Vision replied, though it be difficult of access; it cannot injure your Majesty to impart some information on the subject; devise an expedient, and I will adopt it; impart your intelligence, and I will go in quest of the fountain.

Attention answered:—know that in the East there is a king, called Love; the influence of whose power extends to the geni as well as to mortals. He has a daughter, of matchless beauty, the celebrity of which is the theme throughout the East: her father therefore named her Beauty; built a noble city in honour of her at the foot of the Magic-mountain; and made a garden in it resembling Paradise. He called the city SIGHT; the garden, THE ROSE-GARDEN OF THE CHEEK.

In this garden there is a private fountain called Mouth, which contains the hidden water of life. Beauty, attended by her generals is constantly there with an innumerable army, immersed in plea­sure and delight, and drinking the water of life out of the cup of desire. But it is difficult for man to reach the place, because there are many dangers in the way, beside the city of Monsters, the residence of a demon called Guardian, who has the control over it, and who is stationed by Love as Guardian of the city of Sight. There are many other obstacles, but if you pass this place and reach the city of Sight in safety; I have a brother there whose name is SHAPE, Generalissimo and Standard-bearer to Beauty, in countenance like an angel. Beyond the city of Monsters, near the end of the journey, the progress of the traveller is impeded by a race of scrpents with human heads.

In short, when Attention had given a representation of the water of life; Vision took leave, and at parting, Attention gave him a letter of introduction to his brother and bade him adieu.

Vision travelled towards the East, and after a long journey, reached the destined spot, and was taken by Guardian’s army and brought before him. Guardian demanded who he was and whence he came, who could presume to enter his territory. Vision told him he was a Chemist and a master of several arts. Guardian then asked him which he excelled in, and what was his most familiar art: he replied “By permission of Divine Providence I am in want of nothing that nature can bestow, because, by means of the Philosopher’s stone, I can change earth into gold.”

Guardian hankering much after gold, requested him to make some; but was answered by Vision, that Alchimy required several ingredients compounded, which ingredients might be obtained in the city of Sight, and in the Rose-garden of the cheek.

Guardian replied, “If you can make gold, the city of Sight and the Rose-garden of the cheek are yonder.” In fine, Guardian accompanied Vision, and when they arrived at Shape’s garden, they gathered the fruit of desire from the the tree of perception.

When Shape saw Vision in company with Guardian, he called him aside and inquired his business. Vision recounted to him that part of his history which related to himself, and confirmed it by producing Attention’s letter. Shape then placed him in the care of his servant LEG; and Guardian losing sight of Vision, returned to his own city.

When Vision had got rid of Guardian, and was going to leave Shape’s garden, to repair to the city of sight; he descried many wonderful objects: one was an arch of virgin silver,* another, a globe* suspended from hair. Unable to descend the declivity (of the globe), he stood helpless and amazed.

Beauty had an officer whose name was Ringlet, a native of Hindostan, whom she employed as night-watch to take such fugi­tives as got entangled in the snares he laid in Shape’s garden and about the city of Sight. Ringlet having walked that day in the shade, to avoid the influence of the sun-beams, had retired to rest, and was reposing within the arch (of the brow). Surprised by Vision’s sudden appearance, Ringlet ordered him to give an account of himself.

Vision’s father coming from Turkistan, his mother from Hin­dostan, his complexion had a favourable effect on the mind of Ringlet, who, conceiving him to be one of his own fellow-citizens, took pity on his forlorn situation, and ascending to the top of the arch and springing a noose, he disentangled his hands and feet, and released him out of the snare (into which he had fallen).

Vision being set at liberty, took his leave, and Ringlet giving him a hair from his own head, told him if he should be embarrassed in the way, to set it on fire and he would come to his assistance. Vision having set out, was taken by the serpent squadron of Ringlet’s army, but escaping from them, reached the city of Sight. This city comprised four districts, viz, GALANTRY, COQUETRY, BLANDISHMENT, VIRTUE.

When Vision had examined some remarkable scenes in the sub­urbs of the city, he directed his steps to the Rose-garden of the cheek; and having passed through the Court-yard of the Palace, he entered the garden, in which he saw several negro boys peram­bulating and gathering roses.

Vision asked them who they were and to whom they belonged; they replied, “As a black mole gives lustre to angelic beauty, so we are the slaves of lovely Beauty’s mole; we come from Ethiopia and Zenguebar; we are all slaves, in constant attendance.”