Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Ch 01 Manner of Kings Story 13


I heard a king, who had changed night into day by pleasures, saying in his drunkenness:

"We have in the world no moment more delightful than this,
Because I care neither for good nor for bad nor for anyone."
A naked dervish, who was sleeping outside in the cold, then said:
'O thou like whom in happiness there is no one in the world,
I take it if thou carest not, we also do not care."

The king, being pleased with these words of unconcern, held out a bag of a thousand dinars from the window and said: "Dervish, spread out thy skirt." He replied: "Whence can I, who have no robe, bring a skirt?" The padshah took pity on his helpless condition, added a robe to his gift and sent it out to him but the dervish squandered the money in a short time and returned.

Property cannot abide in the hands of the free,
Neither patience in the heart of a lover nor water in a sieve.

The case of the dervish having been brought to the notice of the king when he was not in good humour, he became angry and turned his face away. Therefore it has been said that intelligent and experienced men ought to be on their guard against the violence and despotism of kings because their thoughts are generally occupied with important affairs of state so that they cannot bear to be importuned by the crowd of vulgar persons.

He will be excluded from the beneficence of the padshah
Who cannot watch for the proper opportunity.
Before thou seest the occasion for speaking at hand
Destroy not thy power by heedless talk.

The king said: "Drive away this impudent and prodigal mendicant who has in so short a time thrown away so much money. He does not know that the Beit-ulmal is intended to offer a morsel to the needy and not to feed the brothers of devils."

The fool who burns by day a camphor-light
Will soon not have an oil-lamp for the night.

One of councillor-veziers said: "My lord, it would seem proper to grant to such persons a sufficient allowance to be drawn from time to time so that they may not squander it. But anger and repulsion, as manifested by thee, are unworthy of a generous disposition as also to encourage a man by kindness and then again to distress him by disappointing his expectation."

The door ought not to be opened to applicants so
That, when it is ajar, it may not be shut again.
Nobody sees the thirsty pilgrims to Hejaz
Crowding at the bank of briny water.
Wherever a sweet spring happens to be
Men, birds and insects flock around it.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Read poems about / on: money, anger, water, happiness, spring, time, power, world, night, light, change, sleep

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