Zadig the Babylonianby Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire
Format of Original Source: Novella
Recommended Adaptation Length:
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed
“It would appear then,” said Zadig, “that there must be a very delicious pleasure in being burned alive.”
“Oh! it makes nature shudder,” replied the lady, “but that must be overlooked. I am a devotee, and I should lose my reputation and all the world would despise me if I did not burn myself.”
Zadig having made her acknowledge that she burned herself to gain the good opinion of others and to gratify her own vanity, entertained her with a long discourse, calculated to make her a little in love with life, and even went so far as to inspire her with some degree of good will for the person who spoke to her.
“Alas!” said the lady, “I believe I should desire thee to marry me.”
Zadig’s mind was too much engrossed with the idea of Astarte not to elude this declaration; but he instantly went to the chiefs of the tribes, told them what had passed, and advised them to make a law, by which a widow should not be permitted to burn herself till she had conversed privately with a young man for the space of an hour. Since that time not a single woman hath burned herself in Arabia. They were indebted to Zadig alone for destroying in one day a cruel custom that had lasted for so many ages and thus he became the benefactor of Arabia.
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