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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT. Saladin. Prince of Chivalry

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CHARLES J. ROSEBAULT.
Saladin. Prince of Chivalry
page 159



One may well believe that this was a cause celebre in its day. The great Sultan himself a defendant in open court, and charged with the very type of oppression which he was constantly condemning in his satraps ! We have a fairly good report of the proceedings from the pen of the presiding justice. The Sultan was among the early arrivals and took a seat on the couch beside the Judge. When the plaintiff appeared Saladin ordered him to draw near and to take a seat in front of the judicial couch, which he then left for a place beside him. The proceedings opened with the recital of the charges by the plaintiff, after which the Sultan took up the defense. "This Sonkor was a mameluke of mine," he asserted, " and he never ceased to be my property until I gave him his freedom. He is dead, and his heirs have entered upon the inheritance he left." But Omar was not to be put down by assertions, even though these came from his Sovereign. If the court was indeed free then one man's word was as good as another's. " I hold in my hand," he declared, " an instrument that will prove the truth of what I state. Please to open it, that its contents may be known." The document was taken to the Judge, who opened it, read it and confirmed Omar's declaration. On the face of the evidence adduced he was in the right. However, Saladin was not the man to come before his people unprepared. " What is the date of this paper? " he demanded.


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