F AIJASIIAS, from the Ethiopic falas, to which this book owes its title, signifies exile, and is the name by which the Jews in Abyssinia are designated. The period of their settlement, in that remote country, is involved in uncertainty. According to their own tradition, and the concurrent testimony of native Christian writers, they came to Ethiopia in the reign of Maqueda, the Queen of Sheba. 'I'his princess who, in the lays and legends of the country, is portrayed ill the most glo\ving and extravagant colours, had frequently heard from merchants and traders of the magnificence and wisdorn of the Jewish Monarch. Curiosity, not unmixed with a touch of pardonable vanity, prompted her to visit the court of the wise and famous Solomon. Her faultless beauty, and intellectual sagacity, won for her the favour and assiduous attentions of the gifted King; and after a lengthened sojourn at J erusalem she returned to her own dominions, laden with munificent presents, and, what greatly enhanced her happiness, with a youthful
heir and prince, in the person of her son Menilek. The bond of friendship and union between the two mighty rulers, initiated by mutual regard and cemented by the tenderest affection, was made still more lasting and secure by religious sympathy. In the train of the illustrious princess, besides a number of distinguished Jews from every tribe, was Azariah, the son of the High-priest Zadok, to whom the pious parent had specially intrusted the education of Menilelc and the guardianship of the tabot, or transcript of the law. The impetuous zeal of the emigrants found ample scope for its loftiest inspiration in the new world to which they were transplanted, and in the course of a few years the worship of the God of Israel extensively supplanted the idolatries of Ethiopia.