Deceitful Request.

The above suggestion is approved of by the rest, and in the morning the brothers repair to their venerable father, and, kneeling before him with seeming respect, urge him to allow their brother Joseph to return with them to the wilderness.

“Already we feel the wearisomeness of the house,
And long to return to the open fields.
If thou wilt suffer us, it is the wish of our hearts
To go back to-morrow for some days to the wilderness.
Our brother Jacob—the light of our eyes—
On account of his tender years hath been little there with us,
What, if he were to accompany us on the way,
And cheer our spirits by his companionship on our journey!
Night and day he remaineth lost in a corner of the house,
Send him forth with us to ramble and disport himself!
Sometimes we will roam with him through paths of the desert;
Sometimes we will wander with him o’er the hills and the mountains;
Sometimes we shall draw the milk from the sheep;
Sometimes we shall quaff it with delighted lips.
We will mark out for him a play-ground on the verdant sod;
We will trace him a path to a bed of tulips;
To one place we will lead the roes to pasture,
In another we will tear to pieces the strength of the wolf.
Perchance by these means his temper will be cheered,
And his mind be set free from the anxieties of home.”
But Jacob replied—“How can I approve of what ye are saying?
It would fill my soul with deep anxiety.
I should be in terror lest ye should sit down neglect­ing him,
Through inconsideration should overlook his condition;
Lest in this old calamitous wilderness
Some grey wolf should fix his sharp teeth
In that tender body, and tear it to pieces—
Tear to pieces his body, but my very soul.”

At last, however, they force from him a silent but foreboding acquiescence, assuring him,

“That they are not such spiritless creatures
That ten of them cannot master a single wolf;
Not merely the wolf, but the courageous lion,
Would in our grasp be contemptible as foxes.”