FEW 1 scholars can have taken greater delight in discovering historical facts than did John Boyle. He endeavoured above all to ascertain exactly what had happened, and to identify as precisely as possible the place and date of events and the persons involved in any incident. It was this quality which made him such a superb commentator on the Persian histories, to the study and interpretation of which he devoted so much of his energies with such impressive results. There have been other scholars with whom he shared this characteristic, his teacher Minorsky, for instance. But Boyle joined to this, unusually, an affection 176for legends, and an appreciation of the way in which they develop under the influence of changing conditions as they pass from one century or one people to another, and of how they in their turn may influence events. Very few men have derived more enjoyment at once from factual and from legendary history. Today I propose to speak about a legend which he did something to elucidate, which has had an immense influence on history, especially on the history of geographical discovery, and which affords a remarkable example of the courage and persistence of men in seeking evidence for something in which they would like to believe.