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The Laughable Stories of Bar-Hebraeus, by Bar-Hebraeus, tr. E.A.W. Budge, [1897], at

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Through Thy blessed Name, O Lord of the Universe, blessings are rained down upon us; and through Thy gracious direction and guidance [our] paths are made straight; and through Thee our ways are made smooth and the stumbling-blocks are cleared from our road; and through Thee our understandings are illumined and our intellects made clear. O all-blessed Nature, O Trinity, O Thou Who didst create the Universe by the might of [Thy] Godhead, pour out Thy mercy abundantly upon us from the sublime habitations of Thy heavens, and do Thou sustain [my] feeble speech, for Thou art the Cause of all blessings, so that it may gather together in a little book the narratives which refresh the mind and which wash away from the heart every grief and care. And let this book be a consolation to those who are sad, and a binding up [of the spirit] to those who are broken, and an instructive teacher to those who love amusement, for no matter worthy of being recorded is omitted therefrom. And let this book be a religious friend to the reader, whether he be Muslim, or Hebrew, or Aramean, or a man belonging to a foreign country and nation. And let the man who is learned, I mean to say the man who hath a bright understanding, and the man that babbleth conceitedly, even though he drive every man mad, and every other man choose what is best for himself, and let each

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pluck the flowers which please him, for in this way the book will succeed in bringing together the things which are alike, each to the other. And inasmuch as it hath been put together in sections it will be clear and plain to the reader; moreover, the twenty chapters which the plan of the book compriseth [are written] in concise but fluent language.

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