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Later, when they were drinking after their1 meal, Hystaspas asked: “Pray, Cyrus, would you be displeased with me, if I were to ask you something that I wish to know from you?”

“Why, no; by the gods, no,” he answered; “on the contrary, I should be displeased with you if I found that you refrained from asking something that you wished to ask.”

“Tell me, then,” said the other, “did I ever fail to come when you sent for me?”

“Hush!”2 said Cyrus.

“Or, obeying, did I ever obey reluctantly?”

“No; nor that.”

“Or did I ever fail to do your bidding in anything?”

“I make no such accusation,” answered Cyrus.

“And is there anything I did that you found me doing otherwise than eagerly or cheerfully?”

“That, least of all,” answered Cyrus.

1 Why Hystaspas felt slighted

2 The Greek says: “Speak words of good omen”—i.e., preserve auspicious silence.

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