10.King Kara-Kush of Bithynia

A King of Bithynia, named Kara-kush, who was blind in one eye, was considered in his day a reasonable, just, and sensitive man. He administered justice upon the basis of the law, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’.

It happened that a weaver by accident put out the eye of a man. He was brought before the King or magistrate, for in those days the Kings acted as magistrates, who promptly condemned him, in accordance with the law, to the loss of an eye. The weaver pleaded touchingly, saying, “Oh magistrate! I have a wife and a large family, and I support them by throwing the shuttle from the right to the left, and again from the left to the right; first using the one eye and then the other. If you remove one of my eyes, I will not be able to weave, and my wife and children will suffer the pangs of hunger. Why not, in the place of my eye, remove that of the hunter who uses just one eye in exercising his profession, and to whom two eyes are unnecessary?”

The magistrate was impressed, acknowledged the justice of the weaver’s remarks, and the hunter was immediately sent for. The hunter being brought, the magistrate was greatly rejoiced to notice that the hunter’s eyes were exactly the same color as his own. He asked the hunter how he earned his living, and receiving his answer that he was a hunter, the magistrate asked him how he shot. The hunter in reply demonstrated the manner by putting up his arms, his head to a side, and closing one eye. The magistrate said the weaver was right and immediately sent for the surgeon to have the eye removed. Further, the magistrate thought that he might profit by this and have the hunter’s eye placed in his own socket. The surgeon set to work and prepared the cavity to receive the hunter’s eye. This done with a skilled hand, the surgeon removed the hunter’s eye and was about to place it in the prepared socket, when it accidentally slipped from his fingers to the ground, and was snatched up by a cat. The surgeon was terrified and madly ran after the cat, but alas, the cat had eaten the eye. What was he to do? On the inspiration of the moment he snatched out the eye of the cat, and placing it in the Magistrate’s head, bound it up.

Sometime after the surgeon asked the Magistrate how he saw.

“Oh,” replied the Magistrate, “with my old eye I see as usual, but strange to say, the new eye you placed in my head is continually searching and watching for rat holes.”