With bowed head and trembling knees, Haman went in search of Mordechai.

At that moment, Mordechai was sitting in the synagogue, surrounded by his beloved students. Lifting up his eyes, he saw Haman through the window.

"Escape, dear children! The villain is coming!"

But the brave children replied, "No, we will not leave you now. We have lived with you, and will die with you!"

Mordechai was saying his last prayers, when Haman came in. Haman waited patiently until he finished, and then said to him:

"Mordechai, son of Abraham the Hebrew, you have a truly great G‑d. Whenever you pray to Him, He hears your prayers and performs miracles for you. Now arise, Mordechai, and put on these royal robes, this golden crown. . .

"Haman, you villain, son of Amalek! Why do you come here to mock me? Is it not enough that you want to hang me?" cried Mordechai.

"No," answered Haman bitterly, "I do not come to mock you. Would that what you say were true, but alas, it is the King's own command!"

Mordechai could scarcely believe his ears. The children began to dance for joy.

Presently Mordechai said gravely, "Honorable Prime Minister, am I fit to don the royal robes in the state I am in? For three days I have fasted; I am covered with ashes . . . "

Haman nodded. He took Mordechai to the public baths, where he washed him, and anointed him with the finest oils and perfumes.

As Haman was trimming Mordechai's hair, Mordechai heard him sighing and groaning to himself.

"Why do you moan so, son of Agag?" asked Mordechai.

"What Prime Minister would not moan upon turning into a barber." Haman said bitterly.

"At last you are doing a job that befits you. It's like the good old days again when you were a barber in the village of Karzum, remember?" answered Mordechai.

Haman continued his job in silence.

Having finished dressing Mordechai in the royal robes, Haman fetched the King's horse from the royal stables and bade Mordechai mount it.

"Your distress has dulled your senses, Haman." said Mordechai. "I am weak and feeble after the fast. How do you expect an old man like myself to mount the horse unaided?"

Haman knew that the King's words were not to be trifled with. Already the King must be getting impatient, he thought. Without further ado, Haman bent down to permit Mordechai to step upon him, and Mordechai mounted the royal horse.

Arrayed in full majesty and now looking quite stately, Mordechai rode through the streets of Shushan, while Haman led the horse, crying, "Thus shall be done to the man whom the King desires to honor! Thus shall be done to the man whom the King desires to honor!"

The streets of Shushan were filled with people. The royal heralds loudly sounded their silver trumpets. The highest officers of state escorted the procession, while conjurers and jesters tossed silver and golden goblets in the air. It was a wonderful sight to behold.

And above all the cheers and shouts of joy, Haman's voice sounded clear and loud, "Thus shall be done to the man whom the King desires to honor!"

Seeing the procession from atop of the roof of her palatial house, Haman's daughter called to her mother: "Mother, look! There is father riding on the King's horse, and Mordechai is leading him through the streets!"

She grabbed the garbage can and with vicious laughter threw it down on the man she thought was Mordechai. Then, as she recognized the voice of the man leading the horse, she realized her mistake. In despair, she jumped from the roof rather than face her father's temper.

Dejected and disgraced, his clothes soiled, Haman staggered home after the procession was over.

"I will yet take revenge on Mordechai! I will hang him on the gallows and shall yet feast my eyes on his lifeless body dangling in the air!" he said to Zeresh.

"Haman, you must have lost your mind! Forget about your plan, it has already failed. The Jews are likened to the sands and the stars. When they stray from their G‑d and disobey His commandments, they can be oppressed and humiliated, and trodden upon like sand. But when they return to their G‑d and serve Him with true devotion, they become exalted like the stars in heaven! As for you, my poor Haman, since you have begun to fall before Mordechai, your fate is sealed . . ."

While they were still talking, the King's chamberlains arrived to take Haman to Queen Esther's second banquet.