THE GENERAL came before the silent and angry King and saluting him said: 'The village is punished, the men are stricken to dust, and the women cower in their unlit homes afraid to weep aloud.

        The High Priest stood up and blessed the King and cried: 'God's mercy is ever upon you.'

        The Clown, when he heard this, burst out laughing and startled the court. The King's frown darkened.

        'The honour of the throne,' said the minister, 'is upheld by the King's prowess and the blessing of Almighty God.'

Louder laughed the Clown, and the King growled,-'Unseemly mirth!'

        'God has showered many blessings upon your head,' said the Clown; 'the one he bestowed on me was the gift of laughter.'

        'This gift will cost you your life,' said the King, gripping his sword with his right hand.

        Yet the Clown stood up and laughed till he laughed no more.

A shadow of dread fell upon the Court, for they heard that laughter echoing in the depth of God's silence.