STORY VI. Luqman's Master examines him and discovers his Acuteness.
Luqman the Sage, 1 who is sometimes identified with Esop, and sometimes
with the nephew of the prophet. Job, though "gifted with wisdom by
God," was a slave. His master, however, discovered his worth, and became
extremely attached to him, so that he never received any delicacy without
giving Luqman a share of it. One day, having received a watermelon, he gave
Luqman the best part of it, and Luqman devoured it with such apparent relish
that his master was tempted to taste it. To his surprise he found it very
bitter, and asked Luqman why he had not told him of this. Luqman replied that
it was not for him, who lived on his master's bounty, to complain if he now and
then received disagreeable things at his hands. Thus, though to outward
appearance a slave, Luqman showed himself to be a lord.
Love endures hardships at the hands of the Beloved.
Through love bitter things seem sweet,
Through love bits of copper are made gold.
Through love dregs taste like pure wine,
Through love pains are as healing balms.
Through love thorns become roses,
And through love vinegar becomes sweet wine.
Through love the stake becomes a throne,
Through love reverse of fortune seems good fortune.
Through love a prison seems a rose bower,
Without love a grate full of ashes seems a garden.
Through love burning fire is pleasing light,
Through love the Devil becomes a Houri.
Through love hard stones become soft as butter,
Without love soft wax becomes hard iron.
Through love grief is as joy,
Through love Ghouls turn into angels.
Through love stings are as honey,
Through love lions are harmless as mice.
Through love sickness is health,
Through love wrath is as mercy.
Through love the dead rise to life,
Through love the king becomes a slave.
Even when an evil befalls you, have due regard;
Regard well him who does you this ill turn.
The sight which regards the ebb and flow of good and ill
Opens a passage for you from misfortune to happiness.
Thence you see the one state moves you into the other, 2
One opposite state generating its opposite in exchange.
So long as you experience not fears after joys,
How can you look for pleasures after disgusts?
While ye fear the doom of the angel on the left hand,
Men hope for the bliss of the angel on the right. 3
May you gain two wings! 4 A fowl with only one wing
Is impotent to fly, O well-intentioned one!
Now either permit me to hold my peace altogether,
Or give me leave to explain the whole matter.
And if you dislike this and forbid that,
Who can tell what your desire is?
You must have the soul of Abraham in order with light
To see the mansions of Paradise in the fire.
Step by step he ascended above sun and moon,
And so lagged not below, as a ring that fastens a door.
Since the "Friend of God" ascended above the heavens,
And said, "I love not Gods that set;" 5
So this world of the body is a breeder of misconceptions
In all who have not fled from lust.