IN the year 1132 a broken army, flying before its pursuers, reached the left bank of the Tigris. On the other side, upon a steep cliff, stood the impregnable Fortress of Tekrit, defended landwards by a deep moat and accessible only by secret steps cut in the rock and leading from the heart of the citadel to the water’s edge. The one hope of the fugitives was to attain the refuge of the castle, and their fate turned upon the disposition of its warden. Happily he chose the friendly part, and provided a ferry by which they crossed to safety. The ferry boats of the Tigris made the fortunes of the house of Saladin. The flying leader who owed his life to their timely succour was Zengy, the powerful lord of Mosil; and in later days, when triumph returned to his standards, he did not forget the debt he owed Tekrit, but, ever mindful of past services, carried its warden onward and upward on the wave of his progress. This warden was Saladin ‘s father.
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