the stone without any external agency. This stone was like a plane semisquare, and its light must have been shed upon the word inscribed upon
the book. A lens can also release light so that small words are visible (at
night), as the words appear magnified and the space between lines
greater. As a matter of fact, this is the measure adopted by the maker of
There is another story like the one of the Isrna'iU ring. Amir Yamin
al-Dawlah went on a hunting expedition in the reserve in Balkh. While
he was on his way, a beggar from Bukhara began to importune him. The
Amir usually became irritated by such people and he, therefore, ordered
the beggar to be flogged. The centre-piece of the ring which he wore fell
off while he gave the command through the movement of his hand. The
Bukhara beggar was watching it. When the retinue of the Amir moved
on the beggar took the gemstone. The Amir on his return journey found
the gemstone of the ring missing. He ordered a search for it to be made.
Next day, while returning from the hunt, he found the Bukharan beggar
at the same place. The beggar, as was his wont, began to pester the
Amir, who ordered that his head be pricked with needles. The Bukharan
at this said: "If you do not wish to give me anything from your possession, at least you should take from me what is yours." He then produced the gemstone and gave it to the Amir. The Amir, surprised, asked
him how he had got hold of the gemstone. The beggar narrated the incident. The Amir said: "God willed that I should be disgraced by thee",
and commanded that 300 dinars be paid to him. The Amir told the beggar: "Take this money and do not dare to thank me, for this is a gift
from God, not from me. If this were my gift, it would not have reached
A still stranger story is that of Ahmad bin Hasan al-Yazidi, a drunkard of Farawah. He guzzled liquor all the time. Once as he tippled wine
in the meadow of Jurjaniyah, Khwarizm, the stone of his ring fell off.
He did not know about the missing stone till the next day. Al-Yazidi
even forgot where he had sat.
Two years elapsed until one night someone knocked at his door, and
told him that the missing stone had been sent by the jurist and preacher,
Akhshidi. He found that.it was the missing ring-stone. Al-Yazidi went
to Akhshidi next morning and asked him how he had found the gem.
Akhshidi had two kilns where bricks were being baked. The labourers
were bringing bricks for baking and placing them on the ground when
one of the bricks fell down and broke. The gemstone came out of it
with the name of Al-Yazidi inscribed upon it.
We will now relate a slightly different story. When Mamun al-Rashid
returned from Khurasan to Baghdad, Fadl bin Rabic presented him with
a ruby, the like of which had never been seen till then. Mamun al-Rashid