DAMASCUS. ■ 419
nd the Templars. The character of these orders underwent a decisive change during
t The religious austerity which marked their origin was lost and supplanted by a
the contest. o
• chivalry which soon became the ideal of every knight in Europe. But this change
the direct result of an imitation of Saladin.
Notwithstanding his striking resemblance to the national genius of the Arabs, he was no
A 1 either by birth or by education. He was born, 1137, at Tekrit, on the Tigris, and was
K rd bv descent; and he was educated under the tutelage of his uncle, Shirkah, in the
rvice of the ruler of Northern Syria, Nureddin. But the principal force active in forming
his character was his religion and not his race. He is a typical instance of what the Koran
can make out of human nature, not through its faith but through its poesy, not through its
fanaticism but through its chivalry. He stands in the same relation to Islam as the Templar
or the Hospitaller to Christianity.
On March 4, 1193, Saladin died at Damascus. When he felt that his time was running
out fast, he ordered his standard-bearer to descend into the streets, carrying his winding-sheet
on a high pole, and crying out to the people, " Lo, this is all that remains of the great Saladin ! "
There was truth in that, for the whole political fabric which he had reared burst to pieces
immediately after his death. Something more, though, than his winding-sheet remained of him
a moral influence which it is still interesting to study, a brilliant name which still kindles a
wide enthusiasm, and a tomb which is still admired as a fine specimen of Moslem art.
The camel is fitly called " the ship of the desert." It is admirably adapted for its
use on the boundless ocean of sand from the Nile to the Euphrates. It has needed no
repair since the days of Abraham, and could not be improved by any invention in navigation.
It would be as impossible to cross the waterless desert without this wonderful animal as to
cross the ocean without a ship. No horse or donkey would answer the purpose. The
camel has the reputation of patient endurance and passive submission, which some, however,
deny, or regard as mere stupidity. It carries the heaviest burdens on its single or double hump,
which is its natural pack-saddle. The Bactrian camel of Central Asia has two humps, the
Arabian camel, or dromedary, which is used in Egypt and the Sinaitic Peninsula, has
one hump. The very name of the camel means burden-bearer. It can travel five (some
nine, or even fifteen) days in scorching heat without water, and resorts to its inside
or cistern, which, at the sacrifice of its own life, has saved the life of many a traveller.
s on barley, dry beans, and chopped straw while in camp, and on the prickly thistles
thorns of the wilderness, which, much to the annoyance of the rider, it snatches from
Me and leisurely chews as a positive luxury. It supplies its master with milk, fuel,
■ and garments; and, having done its duty, it leaves its bleached skeleton in the arid
a landmark to future travellers. With peculiar gurgling growls or sighs of protest,
- sound of any other animal, the camel goes down on its knees in four distinct
it lies flat on its belly; growling, it receives its burden; growling, it gets up by