It was a calm, early summer noon in the southern mountains of Arabia. Sheltering the King''s well-guarded domain, a mile above and a dozen miles east of the Dead Sea, motionless masses of neighbourly white clouds hung suspended from a remote blue ceiling.
There had been an unusually heavy snowfall in the winter, not only upon the King''s land but throughout the country. It was going to be a prosperous season for everybody. Intertribal jangling and discontent would be reduced to a minimum. Arabia anticipated a relatively peaceful summer.
Viewed from the main entrance to the King''s encampment the undulating plateau was a rich pasture on which a thousand newly shorn sheep, indifferent to the rough nuzzling of their hungry lambs, grazed greedily as if some instinct warned that there might be a famine next season.
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