A polished but arid retelling of two old Middle Eastern tales accompanied by quasi-Persian miniatures that are simply slick--waxen posturings with none of the vagrant life or even the vivid, contrasting hues of their models. In the first story, a miserly merchant tries, tardily, to get rid of his derelict slippers--and succeeds only after many costly travails. The moral: ""when a thing is no longer useful that thing should be relinquished."" In the second, the King's lowly-born chief courtier hides away his original ""pair of sandal shoon"" to remind him of his lowly birth--and when the King learns that this is his secret treasure (not the suspected gold and jewels), he is royally commended. Obviously, what was not worth keeping in the first case was very much worth keeping--with a different motive--in the second. So the two stories do complement one another. It's doubtful, however, if children of the age involved would be particularly interested in the juxtaposition as such; and the general want of spontaneity and vitality (the language is as formal as the pictorial style is formalized) makes this another bit of ersatz culture for fanciers of arty books.