STORY VIII. The Man who made a Pet of a Bear. 1
A kind man, seeing a serpent overcoming a bear, went to the bear's assistance,
and delivered him from the serpent. The bear was so sensible of the kindness
the man had done him that he followed him about wherever he went, and became
his faithful slave, guarding him from everything that might annoy him. One day
the man was lying asleep, and the bear, according to his custom, was sitting by
him and driving off the flies. The flies became so persistent in their
annoyances that the bear lost patience, and seizing the largest stone he could
find, dashed it at them in order to crush them utterly; but unfortunately the
flies escaped, and the stone lighted upon the sleeper's face and crushed it.
The moral is, "Do not make friends with fools." In the course of this
story occur anecdotes of a blind man, of Moses rebuking the worshippers of the
calf, and of the Greek physician Galen and a madman.
He who needs mercy finds it.
Doing kindness is the game and quarry of good men,
A good man seeks in the world only pains to cure.
Wherever there is a pain there goes the remedy,
Wherever there is poverty there goes relief.
Seek not water, only show you are thirsty,
That water may spring up all around you.
That you may hear the words, "The Lord gives them to drink,"
Be athirst! Allah knows what is best for you.
Seek you the water of mercy? Be downcast,
And straightway drink the wine of mercy to intoxication.
Mercy is called down by mercy to the last.
Withhold not, then, mercy from any one, O son!
If of yourself you cannot journey to the Ka'ba,
Represent your helplessness to the Reliever.
Cries and groans are a powerful means,
And the All-Merciful is a mighty nurse.
The nurse and the mother keep excusing themselves,
Till their child begins to cry.
In you too has God created infant needs;
When they cry out, their milk is brought to them;
God said, "Call on God;" continue crying,
So that the milk of His love may boil up. 3
Moses and the worshipper of the calf.
Moses said to one of those full of vain imaginations,
"O malevolent one, through error and heresy
You entertain a hundred doubts as to my prophethood,
Notwithstanding these proofs, and my holy character.
You have seen thousands of miracles done by me,
Yet they only multiply your doubts and cavils.
Through doubts and evil thoughts you are in a strait,
You speak despitefully of my prophethood.
I brought the host out of the Red Sea before all men,
That ye might escape the oppression of the Egyptians.
For forty years meat and drink came from heaven,
And water sprang from the rock at my prayer.
My staff became a mighty serpent in my hand,
Water became blood for my ill-conditioned enemy.
The staff became a snake, and my hand bright as the sun;
From the reflection of that light the sun became a star.
Have not these incidents, and hundreds more like them,
Banished these doubts from you, O cold-hearted one?
The calf lowed through magic,
And you bowed down to it, saying, 'Thou art my God.' 4
The golden calf lowed; but what did it say,
That the fools should feel all this devotion to it?
You have seen many more wondrous works done by me,
But where is the base man who accepts the truth?
What is it that charms vain men but vanity?
What else pleases the foolish but folly?
Because each kind is charmed by its own kind,
Does a cow ever seek the lion?
Did the wolf show love to Joseph, 5
Or only fraud upon fraud with a view to devour him?
True, if it lose his wolf-like nature it becomes a friend;
Even as the dog of the cave became a son of man. 6
When good Abu Bakr saw Muhammad,
He recognized his truth, saying, 'This one is true;'
When Abu Bakr caught the perfume of Muhammad,
He said, 'This is no false one.'
But Abu Jahl, who was not one of the sympathizers,
Saw the moon split asunder, yet believed not.
If from a sympathizer, to whom it is well known,
I withhold the truth, still 'tis not hidden from him;
But he who is ignorant and without sympathy,
However much I show him the truth, he sees it not.
The mirror of the heart must needs be polished
Before you can distinguish fair and foul therein."