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[28]

And when he had been given the kiss, the Mede asked: “Really, is it a custom in Persia to kiss one's kinsfolk?”

“Certainly,” said he; “at least, when they see one another after a time of separation, or when they part from one another.”

“It may be time, then, for you to kiss me once again,” said the Mede; “for, as you see, I am parting from you now.”

And so Cyrus kissed him good-bye again and went on his way. But they had not yet gone far, when the Mede came back with his horse in a lather. And when Cyrus saw him he said: “Why, how now? Did you forget something that you intended to say?”

“No, by Zeus,” said he, “but I have come back after a time of separation.”

“By Zeus, cousin,” said Cyrus, “a pretty short time.”

“Short, is it?” said the Mede; “don't you know, Cyrus,” said he, “that even the time it takes me to wink seems an eternity to me, because during that time I do not see you, who are so handsome?”

Then Cyrus laughed through his tears and bade him go and be of good cheer, for in a little while he would come back to them, so that he might soon look at him—without winking, if he chose.

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