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The Sandy Road

Once upon a time a merchant, with many carts, was on his way to the country on the other side of the desert. The sun on the sand, making it hot. But at night, after the sun went down, the sand cooled, and then men could travel. So the merchant waited for dark, and then started walking with the goods that he was going to sell, he took water and of rice, and firewood, so that the rice could be cooked. One man was pilot who was directing everyone.

Night after night they traveled in this way, resting during the heat of the day. At last one morning the pilot said: "In one more night we shall get out of the sand." The men were glad to hear this, for they were tired.

After that night the merchant said: "You may as well throw away nearly all the water and the firewood. By tomorrow we shall be in the city."

Then the pilot took his place at the head of the line. But, instead of sitting up and guiding the drivers, he lay down in the wagon on the cushions. Soon he was fast asleep, because he had not slept for many nights, and the light had been so strong in the daytime that he had not slept well then. All night long the oxen went on. When the pilot awoke he called to the drivers. "We are at the same place where we were yesterday. The oxen must have turned about while I slept."

There was no water for them to drink. They had thrown away the water that was left the night before. So the men spread the awning over the carts, and the oxen lay down, tired and thirsty. The men, too, lay down saying, "The wood and water are gone"

But the merchant said to himself, "This is no time for me to sleep. I must find water. The oxen cannot go on if they do not have water to drink. The men must have water. They cannot cook the rice unless they have water."

On and on he walked, keeping close watch of the ground. At last he saw a tuft of grass. "There must be water somewhere " he said.

He ran back, shouting to the men, "Bring the spade and the hammer"

They ran with him to the place where the grass grew. They began to dig, and they struck a rock and could dig no further. Then the merchant jumped down into the hole they had dug, and put his ear to the rock. "I hear water running under this rock,"

The merchant raised the hammer high above his head and hit the rock. And the water began to flow. The men drank the enough water, and then they watered the oxen, and bathed.

Then they split up their extra yokes and axles, and built a fire, and cooked their rice. Feeling better, they rested through the day. They set up a flag on the well for travelers to see.

At evening they started on again, and the next morning reached the city, where they sold the goods, and then returned home

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