The Queen Of Sheba (1/5) [Archives:2005/834/Culture]
Translated and Annotated by David Ben-Abraham
When King Solomon had invited the neighboring kings bordering upon his country to come up unto him, in order to show them his glory, and especially, to show them his ability to converse with the birds and animals and creeping things, compelling them to do whatsoever he should command, simply by speaking with them, he obtained his desire and had the kings of the east and west, north and south, gathered together in his banqueting hall, where they all sat down together to observe this great spectacle.
King Solomon then called in the animals, birds and creeping things, one by one, to parade before the king and his onlookers, without any man leading them, and without any of them being bound by fetters or restraints.
While this was taking place, King Solomon noticed that the hoopoe bird was absent among the birds, and commanded his servants to bring unto him the bird, even if it meant chaining him. When he was eventually brought before the king, the king enquired where he had been. The hoopoe replied that the king should not be wroth, for he had gone for days without food and drink, flying in the heavens, hoping withal to find a land or kingdom where Solomon's fame had not yet reached, and then to return unto the king, and duly report his findings to the king.
After these entreaties, the bird proceeded to report on a kingdom, which he had discovered afar off, governed by a queen, the queen of Sheba, from the castle Qitor. Their country, he said, was a good land, with trees and gardens watered by the rivers issuing forth from the Garden of Eden, and where there was gold and silver aplenty, and where the citizens of that country made no warlike gestures, and wore crowns upon their heads. At hearing this, King Solomon took up the hoopoe in his hands, and commanded his scribes to write an epistle unto the queen of Sheba, which epistle should then be bound to the wing of the bird, and the bird sent back on his journey into the land of Sheba. The content of that epistle was this:
“From me, King Solomon. Greetings unto thee, and greetings to thy servants. In order that you might know that God hath made me king over the wild beasts and fowl of the air, and that all the kings of the east and of the west, of the south and of the north, do come and salute me, so too, if it shall now please you, come thou unto me and pay homage unto me.
I shall do unto thee great honour, more so than what I do to the other kings who sit before me. But if you do not wish to do so, neither wilt thou come and salute me, then know of a certainty that I will send against thee kings, and legions, and horsemen to wage a war against you.
And if you shall ask within yourself who are these kings and legions and horsemen whom King Solomon hath to send, be apprised that the wild creatures they are the kings and legions and horsemen. And if you shall ask, moreover, which of the creatures are the horsemen in this army, be apprised that the fowl of the air they are the horsemen.
My troops are the spirits, whilst the demons and little she-devils are the legions who will strangle you upon your beds in the midst of your houses. And the wild beasts shall kill you in the fields, as shall the birds of the air devour your flesh from your bodies!”