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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.                   23
monarch who was brought in contact day by day with im-
moderate flattery and idolatrous veneration. Well did
Akbar know that no Oriental nation can be governed with-
out a display of dazzling splendor; but in the midst of the
fabulous luxury with which Akbar's court was fitted out
and his camp on the march, in the possession of an incom-
parably rich harern which accompanied the Emperor on his
expeditions and journeys in large palatial tents, Akbar
always showed a remarkable moderation. It is true that
he abolished the prohibition of wine which Islam had in-
augurated and had a court cellar in his palace, but he him-
self drank only a little wine and only ate once a day and
then did not fully satisfy his hunger at this one meal which
he ate alone and not at any definite time.21 Though he
was not strictly a vegetarian yet he lived mainly on rice,
milk, fruits and sweets, and meat was repulsive to him.
He is said to have eaten meat hardly more than four times
a year.22
Akbar was very fond of flowers and perfumes and
especially enjoyed blooded doves whose care he well under-
stood. About twenty thousand of these peaceful birds are
said to have made their home on the battlements of his
palace. His historian23 relates: "His Majesty deigned to
improve them in a marvelous manner by crossing the races
which had not been done formerly."
Akbar was passionately fond of hunting and pursued
the noble sport in its different forms, especially the tiger
hunt and the trapping of wild elephants,24 but he also
hunted with trained falcons and leopards, owning no less
than nine hundred hunting leopards. He was not fond of
battue; he enjoyed the excitement and exertion of the
aNoer, II, 355-
22 J. T. Wheeler, IV, I, 169, following the old English geographer Samuel
Purchas.
33 Abul Fazl in Noer, I, 511.
84 M. Elphinstone, 519.