III - ON THE EXCELLENCE OF CONTENTMENT
A Maghrabi supplicant said
in Aleppo in the row of linen-drapers: Lords of wealth,
if you were just and we contented, the trade of begging would
vanish from the world.
O contentment, make me rich
For besides thee no other
Loqman selected the corner
Who has no patience has
Two sons of amirs were in
Egypt, the one acquiring science, the other accumulating wealth,
till the former became the ullemma of the period and the other
the prince of Egypt; whereon the rich man looked with contempt
upon the faqih and said: I have reached the sultanate whilst
thou hast remained in poverty as before. He replied: O
brother, I am bound to be grateful to the most high Creator for
having obtained the inheritance of prophets whilst thou hast
attained the inheritance of Pharaoh and of Haman, namely the
kingdom of Egypt.
I am that ant which is trodden
Not that wasp, the pain
of whose sting causes lament.
How shall I give due thanks
for the blessing
That I do not possess the
strength of injuring mankind?
I heard that a dervish,
burning in the fire of poverty and sewing patch upon patch, said
to comfort his mind:
Someone said to him: Why
sittest thou? A certain man in this town possesses a benevolent
nature, is liberal to all, has girded his loins to serve the
pious and is ready to comfort every heart. If he becomes aware
of thy case, he will consider it an obligation to comfort the
mind of a worthy person. He replied: Hush! It is
better to die of inanition than to plead for ones necessities
before any man.
It is better to patch clothes
and sit in the corner of patience
Than to write petitions
for robes to gentlemen.
Verily it is equal to the
punishment of hell
To go to paradise as a flunkey
to ones neighbour.
One of the kings of Persia
had sent an able physician to wait upon the Mustafa, the benediction
of Allah and peace be on him; and he remained for some years
in the Arab country without anyone coming to him to make a trial
of his ability or desiring to be treated by him. He went to the
Prophet, salutation to him, and complained that although he had
been sent to treat the companions, none of them had up to this
time taken notice of him or required the services incumbent upon
him. The Apostle, salutation to him, replied: It is a law
with these people not to eat until appetite overpowers them and
when some of it yet remains they withdraw their hands from food.
The doctor said: This is the cause of health, and
kissing the earth of service departed.
The sage begins to speak
Or points his fingers to
When silence would be dangerous
Or abstinance would bring
No doubt his wisdom is in
And his eating bears the
fruit of health.
A man often made vows of
repentance but broke them again till one of the sheikhs said
to him: I think thou art in the habit of eating a great
deal and that thy power of restraining appetite is more slender
than a hair, whilst an appetite such as thou nourishest would
rupture a chain and a day may come when it will tear thee up.
It is narrated in the life
of Ardeshir Babekan that he asked an Arab physician how much
food he must consume daily. He replied: The weight of one
hundred dirhems will be enough. The king queried: What
strength will this quantity give me? He replied: This
quantity will carry thee, and whatever is more than that, thou
wilt be the carrier of it.
Two Khorasani dervishes
travelled together. One of them, being weak, broke his fast every
second night whilst the other who was strong consumed every day
three meals. It happened that they were captured at the gate
of a town on suspicion of being spies; whereon each of them was
confined in a closet and the aperture of it walled up with mud
bricks. After two weeks it became known that they were guiltless.
Accordingly the doors were opened and the strong man was found
to be dead whilst the weak fellow had remained alive. The people
were astonished but a sage averred that the contrary would have
been astonishing because one of them having been voracious possessed
no strength to suffer hunger and perished whilst the other who
was abstemious merely persevered in his habit and remained safe.
When eating little has become
the nature of a man
He takes it easy when a
calamity befalls him
But when the body becomes
strong in affluence
He will die when a hardship
One of the philosophers
forbade his son to eat much because repletion keeps people ailing.
The boy replied: O father, it is hunger that kills. Hast
thou not heard of the maxim of the ingenious that it is better
to die satiated than to bear hunger? He rejoined: Be
moderate. Eat and drink but not to excess.
Eat not so much that it
comes up to thy mouth
Nor so little that from
weakness thy soul comes up.
Although maintenance of
life depends upon food
Victuals bring on disease
when eaten to excess.
If thou eatest rose-confectionery
without appetite it injures thee
But eating dry bread after
a long fast is like rose-preserve.
A sick man having been asked
what his heart desired replied: That it may not desire
A grain dealer to whom Sufis
were owing some money asked them for it every day in the town
of Waset and used harsh language towards them. The companions
had become weary of his reproaches but had no other remedy than
to bear them; and one of them who was a pious man remarked: It
is more easy to pacify a hungry stomach with promises of food
than a grain dealer with promises of money.
It is preferable to be without
the bounty of a gentleman
Than to bear the insults
of the gate-keepers.
It is better to die wishing
Than to endure the expostulations
A brave warrior who had
received a dreadful wound in the Tatar war was informed that
a certain merchant possessed a medicine which he would probably
not refuse to give if asked for; but it is related that the said
merchant was also well known for his avarice.
The warrior replied: If
I ask for the medicine he will either give it or refuse it and
if he gives it maybe it will profit me, and maybe not. At any
rate the inconvenience of asking it from him is a lethal poison.
And philosophers have said:
If for instance the water of life were to be exchanged
for a good reputation, no wise man would purchase it because
it is preferable to die with honour than to live in disgrace.
One of the ullemma had many
eaters to provide for and only a slender income. This fact he
communicated to a great man of whose character he entertained
a very favourable opinion but his expectations were disappointed
because the man made a wry face and averred that according to
his opinion applications from respectable persons for aid are
With a face made sad by
misfortune, to a dear friend
Do not go because thou wilt
embitter his life also.
For the needful for which
thou appliest, go with a fresh and smiling face.
The man of joyful countenance
will not be unsuccessful in his affairs.
It is related that the great
man augmented his stipend a little but considerably diminished
his familiarity towards him and when he perceived after some
days that it was not as usual, he recited:
Evil is the food which
the time of degradation acquires.
The kettle is indeed placed
but the dignity is lowered.
He increased my bread but
diminished my honour.
Poverty is better than the
degradation of asking.
A dervish wanted something
and a man told him that a certain individual possessed untold
wealth who, if he were made aware of his want, would not consider
it proper to fail in supplying it forthwith. The dervish answering
that he had no acquaintance with him, the man proposed to show
him the house and when the dervish entered he caught sight of
a person with hanging lips and sitting morosely. He returned
immediately and being asked what he had done replied: I
excused him from making me a present when I saw his face.
Carry not thy necessity
to a sour-faced fellow
Because his ill-humour will
crush thy hopes.
If thou confidest thy hearts
grief, tell it to one
Whose face will comfort
thee like ready cash.
A year of dearth set in
at Alexandria so that even a dervish lost the reins of patience
from his hands, the pearls of heaven were withheld from the earth
and the lamentations of mankind ascended to the firmament.
There was no wild beast,
fowl, fish or ant
Whose wailings prompted
by distress had not reached the sky.
For a wonder the heart-smoke
of the people did not condense
To form clouds and the torrents
of their tears rain.
In such a year there was
an hermaphrodite. I owe it to my friends not to describe him
because it would be an abandonment of good manners, especially
in the presence of great men. On the other hand, it would likewise
be improper and in the way of negligence not to mention anything
about him because certain people would impute it to the ignorance
of the narrator. Accordingly I shall briefly describe him in
the following two distichs because a little indicates much and
a handful is a sample of a donkey load.
If a Tatar slays that hermaphrodite
The Tatar must not be slain
How long will he be like
the bridge of Baghdad
With water flowing beneath
and men on the back?
Such a man, a portion of
whose eulogy thou hast now heard, possessed in that year boundless
wealth, bestowed silver and gold upon the needy and laid out
tables for travellers. A company of dervishes who were by the
presence of distress on the point of starvation were inclined
to accept of his hospitality and consulted me on the subject
but I struck my head back from assenting and replied:
A lion does not eat the
half of which a dog consumed
Although he may die of hunger
in his lair.
Though getting rich in wealth
and property like Feridun
A worthless man is to be
considered of no account.
Hatim Tai, having been asked
whether he had seen in the world anyone of more exalted sentiments
than himself, replied: Yes, one day I slaughtered forty
camels to entertain Arab amirs. I had occasion to go out on some
business into a corner of the desert, where I noticed a gatherer
of briars, who had accumulated a hillock of thistles, and I asked
him why he had not become a guest of Hatim since many people
had come round to his banquet but he replied:
Then I saw that his sentiments
were more exalted than mine.
Moses, to whom be salutation,
beheld a dervish who had on account of his nudity concealed himself
in the sand exclaiming: O Moses, utter a supplication to
God the most high to give me an allowance because I am, on account
of my distress, on the point of starvation. Moses accordingly
prayed and departed but returning a few days afterwards he saw
that the dervish was a prisoner and surrounded by a crowd of
people. On asking for the reason he was informed that the dervish
had drunk wine, quarrelled, slain a man and was to be executed
If the humble cat possessed
He would rob the world of
It may happen that when
a weak man obtains power
He arises and twists the
hands of the weak.
And if Allah were to bestow
abundance upon his servants, they would certainly rebel upon
What has made thee wade
into danger, O fool,
Till thou hast perished.
Would that the ant had not been able to fly!
When a base fellow obtains
dignity, silver and gold,
His head necessarily demands
to be knocked.
Was not after all this maxim
uttered by a sage?
That ant is the best
which possesses no wings.
The heavenly father has
plenty of honey but the son has a hot disease.
I noticed an Arab of the
desert sitting in a company jewellers at Bosrah and narrating
stories to them. He said: I had once lost my road in the
desert and consumed all my provisions. I considered that I must
perish when I suddenly caught sight of a bag full of pearls and
I shall never forget the joy and ecstasy I felt on thinking they
might be parched grain nor the bitterness and despair when I
discovered them to be pearls.
In a dry desert and among
It is the same to a thirsty
man whether he has pearls or shells in his mouth.
When a man has no provisions
and his strength is exhausted
It matters not whether his
girdle is adorned with pearls or potsherds.
An Arab suffering in the
desert from extreme thirst recited:
Would that before
I could one day enjoy my
That a rivers waves
might strike my knee
And I might fill my water-bag.
In the same manner another
traveller lost himself in an extensive region having neither
any strength nor food left but he possessed some money and roamed
about and the road leading him nowhere he perished from exhaustion.
Some people afterwards discovered his corpse with the money in
front of it and the following written on the ground:
If possessed of all the
It will avail nothing to
a hungry man.
To a poor man burnt in the
Boiled turnips are more
valuable than pure silver.
I never lamented about the
vicissitudes of time or complained of the turns of fortune except
on the occasion when I was barefooted and unable to procure slippers.
But when I entered the great mosque of Kufah with a sore heart
and beheld a man without feet I offered thanks to the bounty
of God, consoled myself for my want of shoes and recited:
A roast fowl is to
the sight of a satiated man
Less valuable than a blade
of fresh grass on the table
And to him who has no means
A burnt turnip is a roasted
A king with some of his
courtiers had during a hunting party and in the winter season
strayed far from inhabited places but when the night set in he
perceived the house of a dehqan and said: We shall spend
the night there to avoid the injury of the cold. One of
the veziers, however, objected alleging that it was unworthy
of the high
dignity of a padshah to
take refuge in the house of a dehqan and that it would be best
to pitch tents and to light fires on the spot. The dehqan who
had become aware of what was taking place prepared some food
he had ready in his house, offered it, kissed the ground of service
and said: The high dignity of the sultan would not have
been so much lowered, but
the courtiers did not wish the dignity of the dehqan to become
high. The king who was pleased with these words moved for
the night into the mans house and bestowed a dress of honour
upon him the next morning. When he accompanied the king a few
paces at the departure he was heard to say:
Nothing was lost of
the sultans power and pomp
By accepting the hospitality
of a dehqan,
But the corner of the dehqans
cap reached the sun
When a sultan such as thou
overshadowed his head.
It is related that a sultan
thus addressed a miserly beggar who had accumulated great riches:
It is evident that thou possessest boundless wealth and
we have an affair on hand in which thou canst aid us by way of
a loan. When the finances of the country are in a flourishing
condition it will be repaid. The miser replied: It
is not befitting the power and dignity of a padshah to soil the
hands of his noble aspirations with the property of an individual
like myself who has collected it grain by grain. The king
replied: It does not matter because the money will be spent
upon infidels: The wicked women should be joined to the wicked
If the water of a Christians
well is impure
What matters it if thou
washest a dead Jew therein?
They said: The lime-mortar
is not clean.
We replied: We shall
plug therewith the privy holes.
I heard that he refused
to comply with the behest of the king, began to argue and to
look insolently; whereon the king ordered the sum in question
to be released from his grasp by force and with a reprimand.
If an affair cannot be accomplished
He forsooth turns his head
Who has no regard for himself
It is proper that no one
should pay him any.
I met a trader who possessed
one hundred and fifty camel loads of merchandise with forty slaves
and servants. One evening in the oasis of Kish he took me into
his apartment and taking all night no rest kept up an incoherent
gabble, saying: I have such and such a warehouse in Turkestan,
such and such goods in Hindostan; this is the title-deed of such
and such an estate and in this affair such and such a man is
security. He said: I intend to go to Alexandria because
it has a good climate, and correcting himself continued:
No, because the African sea is boisterous. O Sadi,
I have one journey more to undertake and after performing it
I shall during the rest of my life sit in a corner and enjoy
contentment. I asked: What journey is that?
He replied: I shall carry Persian brimstone to China because
I heard that it fetched a high price. I shall also carry Chinese
porcelain to Rum and Rumi brocade to India and Indian steel to
Aleppo, convey glass-ware of Aleppo to Yemen, striped cloth of
Yemen to Pares. After that I shall abandon trading and shall
sit down in a shop. He had talked so much of this nonsenses
that no more strength remained in him so he said: O Sadi,
do thou also tell me something of what thou hast seen and heard.
Thou mayest have heard
that in the plain of Ghur
Once a leader fell down
from his beast of burden,
Saying: The narrow
eye of a wealthy man
Will be filled either by
content or by the earth of the tomb.
I heard about a wealthy
man who was as well known for his avarice as Hatim Tai for his
liberality. Outwardly he displayed the appearance of wealth but
inwardly his sordid nature was so dominant that he would not
for his life give a morsel of bread to anyone or bestow a scrap
upon the kitten of Abu Harirah or throw a bone to the dog of
the companions of the cave. In short, no one had seen the door
of his house open or his table-doth spread.
I heard that he was sailing
in the Mediterranean with the pride of Pharaoh in his head-according
to the words of the most high, Until drowning overtook him-when
all of a sudden a contrary wind befell the ship, as it is said:
He uplifted the hands of
supplication and began to lament in vain but Allah the most high
has commanded: When they sail in a ship they call upon Allah,
sincerely exhibiting unto him their religion.
Of what use is the hand
of supplication to a needy worshipper
Which is uplifted to God
in the time of prayer but in the armpit
in the time of bounty?
Bestow comfort with gold
and with silver
And thereby also profit
As this house of thine will
Build it with a silver and
a gold brick.
It is narrated that he had
poor relations in Egypt who became rich by the remainder of his
wealth, tearing up their old cloths and cutting new ones of silk
and of Damiari. During the same week I also beheld one of them
riding a fleet horse with a fairy-faced slave boy at his heels.
Wah! If the dead man
were to return
Among his kinsfolk and connections
The refunding of the inheritance
would be more painful
To the heirs than the death
of their relative.
On account of the acquaintance
which had formerly subsisted between us, I pulled his sleeve,
Eat thou, O virtuous
and good man,
What that mean fellow gathered
and did not eat.
A weak fisherman caught
a strong fish in his net and not being able to retain it the
fish overcame him and pulled the net from his hand.
A boy went to bring water
from the torrent.
The torrent came and took
the boy away.
The net brought every time
This time the fish went
and carried off the net.
The other fishermen were
sorry and blamed him for not being able to retain such a fish
which had fallen into his net. He replied: O brothers,
what can be done? My day was not lucky but the fish had yet one
remaining. Moral: A fisherman cannot catch a fish in the
Tigris without a day of luck and a fish cannot die on dry ground
without the decree of fate.
A man whose hands and feet
had been amputated killed a millipede and a pious passer-by exclaimed:
Praised be Allah! In spite of the thousand feet he possessed
he could not escape from a man without hands and feet when his
fate had overtaken him.
When the life-taking foe
comes in the rear
Fate ties the legs of a
At the moment when the enemy
has slowly arrived
It is useless to draw the
I have seen a fat fool,
dressed in a costly robe, with a turban of Egyptian linen on
his head, riding on an Arab horse. Someone said: Sadi,
what thinkest thou of this famous brocade upon this ignorant
animal? I replied: It is like ugly characters scrawled
Verily he is like an ass
A calf, a body which is
This animal cannot be said
to resemble a man
Except in his cloak, turban
and outward adornment.
Examine all his property
and belongings of his estate
Thou wilt find nothing lawful
to take except his blood.
If a noble man becomes impoverished
That his high worth will
But if into a silver threshold
golden nails are driven
By a Jew, think not that
he will thereby become noble.
A thief said to a mendicant:
Art thou not ashamed to stretch out thy hand for a grain
of silver to every sordid fellow? He replied:
It is related that an athlete
had been reduced to the greatest distress by adverse fortune.
His throat being capacious and his hands unable to fill it, he
complained to his father and asked him for permission to travel
as he hoped to be hoped to be able to gain a livelihood by the
strength of his arm.
The father replied: My
son, get rid of this vain idea and place the feet of contentment
under the skirt of safety because great men have said that happiness
does not consist in exertion and that the remedy against want
is in the moderation of desires.
No one can grasp the skirt
of luck by force.
It is useless to put vasmah
on a bald mans brow.
If thou hast two hundred
accomplishments for each hair of thy head
They will be of no use if
fortune is unpropitious.
What can an athlete do with
The arm of luck is better
than the arm of strength.
The son rejoined: Father,
the advantages of travel are many, such as recreation of the
mind entailing profit, seeing of wonderful and hearing of strange
things, recreation in cities, associating with friends, acquisition
of dignity, rank, property, the power of discriminating among
acquaintances and gaining experience of the world, as the travellers
in the Tariqat have said:
As long as thou walkest
about the shop or the house
Thou wilt never become a
man, 0 raw fellow.
Go and travel in the world
Before that day when thou
goest from the world.
The father replied: My
son, the advantages of travel such as thou hast enumerated them
are countless but they regard especially five classes of men:
firstly, a merchant who possesses in consequence of his wealth
and power graceful male and female slaves and quick-handed assistants,
alights every day in another town and every night in another
place, has recreation every moment and sometimes enjoys the delights
of the world.
A rich man is not a stranger
in mountain, desert or solitude.
Wherever he goes he pitches
a tent and makes a sleeping place;
Whilst he who is destitute
of the goods of this world
Must be in his own country
a stranger and unknown.
Secondly, a scholar, who
is for the pleasantness of his speech, the power of his eloquence
and the fund of his instruction, waited upon and honoured wherever
The presence of a learned
man is like pure gold
Whose power and price is
known wherever he goes.
An ignorant fellow of noble
descent resembles Shahrua,
Which nobody accepts in
a foreign country.
Thirdly, handsome fellows
with whom the souls of pious men are inclined to commingle because
it has been said that a little beauty is better than much wealth.
An attractive face is also said to be a slave to despondent hearts
and the key to locked doors, wherefore the society of such a
person is everywhere known to be very acceptable:
A beautiful person meets
with honour and respect everywhere
Although perhaps driven
away in anger by father and mother.
I have seen a peacock feather
in the leaves of the Quran.
I said: I see thy
position is higher than thy deserts.
It said: Hush, whoever
is endowed with beauty,
Wherever he places his foot,
hands are held out to receive it.
When a boy is symmetrical
It matters not if his father
He is a jewel which must
not remain in a shell.
A precious pearl everyone
desires to buy.
Fourthly, one with a sweet
voice, who retains, with a David-like throat, water from flowing
and birds from soaring. By means of this talent he holds the
hearts of people captive and religious men are delighted to associate
My audition is intent on
the beautiful melody.
Who is that performing on
the double chord?
How pleasant is the gentle
and melancholy lay
To the ear of the boon companions
who quaff the morning draught!
Better than a handsome face
is a pleasant voice.
The former is joy to the
senses, the latter food for the soul.
Fifthly, the artisan, who
gains a sufficient livelihood by the strength of his arm, so
that his reputation is not lost in struggling for bread; as wise
men have said:
If he goes abroad from his
The patcher of clothes meets
with no bardship or trouble
But if the government falls
The king of Nimruz will
go to bed hungry.
The qualities which I have
explained, 0 my son, are in a journey the occasion of satisfaction
to the mind, stimulants to a happy life but he, who possesses
none of them, goes with idle fancies into the world and no one
will ever hear anything about his name and fame.
He whom the turning world
is to afflict
Will be guided by the times
against his aim.
A pigeon destined not to
see its nest again
Will be carried by fate
towards the grain and net.
The son asked: O father,
how can I act contrary to the injunctions of the wise, who have
said, that although food is distributed by predestination the
acquisition of it depends upon exertion and that, although a
calamity may be decreed by fate, it is incumbent on men to show
the gates by which it may enter?
Although daily food
may come unawares
It is reasonable to seek
it out of doors
And though no one dies without
the decree of fate
Thou must not rush into
the jaws of a dragon.
As I am at present
able to cope with a mad elephant and to wrestle with a furious
lion, it is proper, O father, that I should travel abroad because
I have no longer the endurance to suffer misery.
When a man has fallen
from his place and station
Why should he eat more grief?
All the horizons are his place.
At night every rich man
goes to an inn.
The dervish has his inn
where the night overtakes him.
After saying this, he asked
for the good wishes of his father, took leave of him, departed
and said to himself:
A skilful man, when
his luck does not favour him,
Goes to a place where people
know not his name.
He reached the banks of
a water, the force of which was such that it knocked stones against
each other and its roaring was heard to a farsangs distance.
A dreadful water, in which
even aquatic birds were not safe,
The smallest wave would
whirl off a millstone from its bank.
He beheld a crowd of people,
every person sitting with a coin of money at the crossing-place,
intent on a passage. The youths hands of payment being
tied, he opened the tongue of laudation and although he supplicated
the people greatly, they paid no attention and said:
An unkind boatman laughed
at him and said:
The young mans heart
was irritated by the insult of the boatman and longed to take
vengeance upon him. The boat had, however, started; accordingly
he shouted: If thou wilt be satisfied with the robe I am
wearing, I shall not grudge giving it to thee. The boatman
was greedy and turned the vessel back.
As soon as the young mans
hand could reach the beard and collar of the boatman, he immediately
knocked him down and a comrade of the boatman, who came from
the vessel to rescue him, experienced the same rough treatment
and turned back. The rest of the people then thought proper to
pacify the young man and to condone his passage money.
When thou seest a quarrel
Because gentlemen will shut
the door of strife.
Use kindness when thou seest
A sharp sword cannot cut
By a sweet tongue, grace,
Thou wilt be able to lead
an elephant by a hair.
Then the people fell at
his feet, craving pardon for what had passed. They impressed
some hypocritical kisses upon his head and his eyes, received
him into the boat and started, progressing till they reached
a pillar of Yunani workmanship, standing in the water. The boatman
said: The vessel is in danger. Let one of you, who is the
strongest, go to the pillar and take the cable of the boat that
we may save the vessel. The young man, in the pride of
bravery which he had in his head, did not think of the offended
foe and did not mind the maxim of wise men who have said: If
thou hast given offence to one man and afterwards done him a
hundred kindnesses, do not be confident that he will not avenge
himself for that one offence, because although the head of a
spear may come out, the memory of an offence will remain in the
How well, said
Yaktash to Khiltash,
Hast thou scratched
a foe? Do not think thou art safe.
Be not unconcerned for thou
wilt be afflicted
If by thy hand a heart has
Throw not a stone at the
rampart of a fort
Because possibly a stone
may come from the fort.
As soon as he had taken
the rope of the boat on his arm, he climbed to the top of the
pillar, whereon the boatman snatched it from his grasp and pushed
the boat off. The helpless man was amazed and spent two days
in misery and distress. On the third, sleep took hold of his
collar and threw him into the water. After one night and day
he was cast on the bank, with some life still remaining in him.
He began to eat leaves of trees and to pull out roots of grass
so that when he had gained a little strength, he turned towards
the desert and walked till thirst began to torment him. He at
last reached a well and saw people drinking water for a pashizi
but possessing none he asked for a coin and showed his destitute
condition. The people had, however, no mercy with him, whereon
he began to insult them but likewise ineffectually. Then he knocked
down several men but was at last overpowered, struck and wounded:
A swarm of gnats will overpower
Despite of all his virility
When the little ants combine
They tear the skin of a
As a matter of necessity
he lagged in the rear of the caravan, which reached in the evening
a locality very dangerous on account of thieves. The people of
the caravan trembled in all their limbs but he said: Fear
nothing because I alone am able to cope with fifty men and the
other youths of the caravan will aid me. These boastful
words comforted the heart of the caravan-people, who became glad
of his company and considered it incumbent upon themselves to
supply him with food and water. The fire of the young mans
stomach having blazed into flames and deprived his hands of the
bridle of endurance, hunger made him partake of some morsels
of food and take a few draughts of water, till the dev of his
interior was set at rest and he fell asleep. An experienced old
fellow, who was in the caravan, said: O ye people, I am
more afraid of this guard of yours than of the thieves because
there is a story that a stranger had accumulated some dirhems
but could not sleep in the house for fear of the Luris. Accordingly
he invited one of his friends to dispel the terrors of solitude
by his company. He spent several nights with him, till he became
aware that he had money and took it, going on a journey after
spending it. When the people saw the stranger naked and weeping
the next morning, a man asked: What is the matter? Perhaps
a thief has stolen those dirhems of mine? He replied: No,
by Allah. The guard has stolen them.
I never sat secure from
Till I learnt what his custom
The wound from a foes
tooth is severe
Who appears to be a friend
in the eyes of men.
How do you know whether
this man is not one of the band of thieves and has followed us
as a spy to inform his comrades on the proper occasion? According
to my opinion we ought to depart and let him sleep. The
youths approved of the old mans advice and became suspicious
of the athlete, took up their baggage and departed, leaving him
asleep. He knew this when the sun shone upon his shoulders and
perceived that the caravan had started. He roamed about a great
deal without finding the way and thirsty as well as dismayed
as he was, he sat down on the ground, with his heart ready to
Who will speak to me after
the yellow camels have departed?
A stranger has no companion
except a stranger.
He uses harshness towards
Who has not himself been
The poor man was speaking
thus whilst the son of a king who happened to be in a hunting
party, strayed far from the troops, was standing over his head,
listening. He looked at the figure of the athlete, saw that his
outward appearance was respectable but his condition miserable.
He then asked him whence he had come and how he had fallen into
this place. The athlete briefly informed him of what had taken
place, whereon the royal prince, moved by pity, presented him
with a robe of honour and a large sum of money and sent a confidential
man to accompany him till he again reached his native town. His
father was glad to see him and expressed gratitude at his safety.
In the evening he narrated to his father what had befallen him
with the boat, mentioned the violence of the boatman, the harshness
of the rustics near the well and the treachery of the caravan
people on the road. The father replied: My son, have not
I told thee at thy departure that the brave hands of empty-handed
persons are like the broken paw of a lion?
The son replied: O
father, thou wilt certainly not obtain a treasure except by trouble,
wilt not overcome thy foe unless thou hazardest thy life and
wilt not gather a harvest unless thou scatterest seed. Perceivest
thou not how much comfort I gained at the cost of the small amount
of trouble I underwent and what a quantity of honey I have brought
in return for the sting I have suffered.
Although not more can be
acquired than fate has decreed
Negligence in striving to
acquire is not commendable.
If a diver fears the crocodiles
He will never catch the
pearl of great price.
The nether millstone is
immovable, and therefore must bear a heavy load.
What will a fierce lion
devour at the bottom of his den?
What food does a fallen
If thou desirest to catch
game at home
Thou must have hands and
feet like a spider.
The father said to his son:
On this occasion heaven has been propitious to thee and
good luck helpful so that a royal person has met thee, has been
bountiful to thee and has thereby healed thy broken condition.
Such coincidences occur seldom and rare events cannot be reckoned
Thus it happened that one
of the kings of Pares, who possessed a ring with a costly beazle,
once went out by way of diversion with some intimate courtiers
to the Masalla of Shiraz and ordered his ring to be placed on
the dome of Asad, promising to bestow the seal-ring upon any
person who could make an arrow pass through it. It happened that
every one of the four hundred archers in his service missed the
ring, except a little boy who was shooting arrows in sport at
random and in every direction from the flat roof of a monastery.
The morning breeze caused his arrow to pass through the ring,
whereon he obtained not only the ring but also a robe of honour
and a present of money. It is related that the boy burnt his
bow and arrows and on being asked for the cause replied: That
the first splendour may be permanent.
It sometimes happens that
an enlightened sage
Is not successful in his
Sometimes it happens that
an ignorant child
By mistake hits the target
with his arrow.
I heard that a dervish,
sitting in a cave, had closed the doors upon the face of the
world, so that no regard for kings and rich persons remained
in the eyes of his desire.
Who opens to himself a door
Will till he dies remain
a needy fellow.
Abandon greediness and be
Because a neck without desire
One of the kings of that
region sent him the information that, trusting in the good manners
of the respected dervish, he hoped he would partake of bread
and salt with him. The sheikh agreed because it is according
to the sonna to accept an invitation. The next day the king paid
him a visit, the abid. leapt up, embraced him, caressed
him and praised him. After the monarchs departure the sheikh
was asked by one of his companions why he had, against his custom,
paid so many attentions to the padshah, the like of which he
had never seen before. He replied: Hast thou not heard
that one of the pious said:
In whose company thou
hast been sitting
To do him service thou must
Possibly an ear may during
Not hear the sound of drum,
lute or fife.
The eye may be without the
sight of a garden.
The brain may be without
the rose or nasrin.
If no feather pillow be
Sleep may be had with a
stone under the head
And if there be no sweetheart
to sleep with
The hand may be placed on
ones own bosom,
But this disreputable twisting
Cannot bear to exist without