Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Ch 01 Manner Of Kings Story 14


One of the ancient kings neglected the government of his realm and kept the army in distress. Accordingly the whole of it ran away when a powerful enemy appeared.

If he refrains from giving treasure to the troops
They refrain from putting their hands to the sword.
What bravery will they display in battle array
When their hands are empty and affairs deplorable?

I was on terms of friendship with one of those who had acted treacherously and reproached him, telling him that it was base, ungrateful, despicable and undutiful to abandon an old master when his affairs have changed a little and to disregard the obligations incurred for benefits received during many years. He replied: "If I inform thee, perhaps thou wilt excuse me for my horse had no barley and my saddle-cloth was pawned. A sultan who grudges money to his troops, they cannot bravely risk their lives for him."

Give gold to the soldier that he may serve thee.
If thou witholdest gold, he will serve elsewhere.
When a warrior is full, he will be brave in fight but if his belly be
empty, he will be brave in flight.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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Read poems about / on: soldier, horse, money, running, change

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