"My lord," said Kenneth, "the cross which I wear in common with yourself, and the importance of what I have to tell, must, for the present, cause me to pass over a bearing which else I were unapt to endure. In plain language, then, I bring with me a Moorish physician, who undertakes to work a cure on King Richard."
"A Moorish physician!" said De Vaux; "and who will warrant that he brings not poisons instead of remedies?"
"His own life, my lord--his head, which he offers as a guarantee."
"I have known many a resolute ruffian," said De Vaux, "who valued his own life as little as it deserved, and would troop to the gallows as merrily as if the hangman were his partner in a dance."
"But thus it is, my lord," replied the Scot. "Saladin, to whom none will deny the credit of a generous and valiant enemy, hath sent this leech hither with an honourable retinue and guard, befitting the high estimation in which El Hakim [The Physician] is held by the Soldan, and with fruits and refreshments for the King's private chamber, and such message as may pass betwixt honourable enemies, praying him to be recovered of his fever, that he may be the fitter to receive a visit from the Soldan, with his naked scimitar in his hand, and a hundred thousand cavaliers at his back. Will it please you, who are of the
King's secret council, to cause these camels to be discharged of their burdens, and some order taken as to the reception of the learned physician?"
Tiqrit Iraq which is thought of currently, in military terms, as the northern angle of the Sunni triangle, is also the birthplace of the legendary Sultan Saladin. Saladin is treated as a just and chivalrous character in Sir Walter Scott's "The Talisman". Saladin died on March 4, 1193.