My name? Harbona. My job? The title depends on what country you're in. In Britain, I would be called a personal valet. In America, I would be a male private secretary. In my country, I am Harbona, chamberlain to Xerxes, king of Persia. You may know him by the name Ahasuerus. I am his chamberlain. At first I hesitated to take the job. You never knew about Xerxes. One day things would be going smooth; everything would be going okay; you'd be friends with him. But without warning, he would turn on you, and it was all over.
For example, I remember once that Pithias, one of his leading officials, offered Xerxes $40 million to finance one of the Persian military campaigns. Forty million. Xerxes was overwhelmed by this loyalty. He refused the gift, and in fact he even gave Pithias a present besides. But a little later, when Pithias hinted maybe his oldest son could be excused from the military campaign, Xerxes was so infuriated that he hacked the poor boy in two and marched the army between the pieces. You never knew about Xerxes.
Another time, a storm at sea destroyed three hundred of his ships. Xerxes grabbed a strap, went down to the seashore in blind rage, and beat the sea three hundred times: once for each ship. See why I hesitated to take the job? But, I took it. I thought, I'm going to get along with Xerxes. Never rub him the wrong way. Go with the tide.
But let me tell you about a series of amazing coincidences that have happened in Persia lately. We have had the most peculiar chain of events take place. It's kind of funny how it all worked out. It all started years ago with what we call the Bay of Salamis fiasco. Xerxes was making a bid to take over Greece and expand the Persian military empire. In one naval battle, in ...
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