When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king,surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal stateon one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath himopened, and the accused subject stepped out into theamphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of theinclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. Itwas the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walkdirectly to these doors and open one of them. He could open eitherdoor he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence butthat of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. Ifhe opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, thefiercest and most cruel that could be procured, whichimmediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as apunishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of thecriminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, greatwails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of*the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcasthearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatlythat one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should havemerited so dire a fate.


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