The King refuses their present. The author's boldness. The present is afterwards accepted. The people are forbidden to sell them provisions. The author remonstrates against the usage. The King redresses it.
But such was either the hatred or avarice of this man, that instead of doing us the good offices he pretended, he advised the King to refuse our present, that he might draw from us something more valuable. When I attended the King in order to deliver the presents, after I had excused the smallness of them, as being, though unworthy his acceptance, the largest that our profession of poverty, and distance from our country, allowed us to make, he examined them one by one with a dissatisfied look, and told me that however he might be pleased with our good attentions, he thought our present such as could not be offered to a king without affronting him; and made me a sign with his hand to withdraw, and take back what I had brought. I obeyed, telling him that perhaps he might send for it again without having so much. The Chec Furt, who had been the occasion of all this, coming to us afterwards, blamed us exceedingly for having offered so little, and being told by us that the present was picked out by himself, that we had nothing better to give, and that what we had left would scarce defray the expenses of our journey, he pressed us at least to add something, but could prevail no farther than to persuade us to repeat our former offer, which the King was now pleased to accept, though with no kinder countenance than before.
Here we spent our time and our provisions, without being able to procure any more. The country indeed affords goats and honey, but nobody would sell us any, the King, as I was secretly informed, having strictly prohibited it, with a view of forcing all we had from us. The patriarch sent me to expostulate the matter with the King, which I did in very warm terms, telling him that we were assured by the Emperor of a reception in this country far different from what we met with, which assurances he had confirmed by his promise and the civilities we were entertained with at our first arrival; but that instead of friends who would compassionate our miseries, and supply our necessities, we found ourselves in the midst of mortal enemies that wanted to destroy us.
The King, who affected to appear ignorant of the whole affair, demanded an account of the injuries I complained of, and told me that if any of his subjects should dare to attempt our lives, it should cost him his own. We were not, replied I, in danger of being stabbed or poisoned, but are doomed to a more lingering and painful death by that prohibition which obliges your subjects to deny us the necessaries of life; if it be Your Highness's pleasure that we die here, we entreat that we may at least be despatched quickly, and not condemned to longer torments. The King, startled at this discourse, denied that he had given any such orders, and was very importunate to know the author of our intelligence, but finding me determined not to discover him, he sent me away with a promise that for the future we should be furnished with everything we wanted, and indeed that same day we bought three goats for about a crown, and some honey, and found ourselves better treated than before.Next