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Double-click on ANY english word to find out the meaning or to translate. Haga doble click en cualquier palabra en Inglés para saber su significado o para traducir.

CHAPTER I of The GulistaN

Of the Customs of Kings


I have heard of a king who made the sign to put a captive to death. The
poor wretch, in that state of desperation, began to abuse the king in
the dialect which he spoke, and to revile him with asperity, as has been
said; whoever shall wash his hands of life will utter whatever he may
harbor in his heart:--"_When a man is desperate he will give a latitude
to his tongue, like as a cat at bay will fly at a dog_"--"at the moment
of compulsion when it is impossible to fly, the hand will grasp the
sharp edge of a sword." The king asked, saying, "What does he say?" One
of the Vizirs (or nobles in attendance), and a well-disposed man, made
answer, "O my lord! he is expressing himself and saying, _(paradise is
for such) as are restraining their anger and forgiving their
fellow-creatures; and God will befriend the benevolent_." The king felt
compassion for him, and desisted from shedding his blood. Another
nobleman, and the rival of that former, said, "It is indecorous for such
peers, as we are, to use any language but that of truth in the presence
of kings; this man abused his majesty, and spoke what was unworthy of
him." The king turned away indignant at this remark, and replied, "I was
better pleased with his falsehood than with this truth that you have
told; for that bore the face of good policy, and this was founded in
malignity; and the intelligent have said, 'A peace-mingling falsehood is
preferable to a mischief-stirring truth':--Whatever prince may do that
which he (his counsellor) will recommend, it must be a subject of regret
if he shall advise aught but good."

They had written over the portico of King Feridún's palace:--"This
world, O brother! abides with none. Set thy heart upon its maker, and
let him suffice thee. Rest not thy pillow and support on a worldly
domain which has fostered and slain many such as thou art. Since the
precious soul must resolve on going, what matters it whether it departs
from a throne or the ground."


One of the kings of Khorasan saw, in a dream, Sultan Mahmud, the son of
Saboktagin, an hundred years after his death, when his body was decayed
and fallen into dust, all but his eyes, which as heretofore were moving
in their sockets and looking about them. All the learned were at a stand
for its interpretation, excepting one dervish, who made his obeisance,
and said:--"He is still looking about him, because his kingdom and
wealth are possessed by others!--Many are the heroes whom they have
buried under ground, of whose existence above it not one vestige is
left; and of that old carcase which they committed to the earth, the
earth has so consumed it that not one bone is left. Though many ages are
gone since Nushirowan was in being, yet in the remembrance of his
munificence is his fair renown left. Be generous, O my friend! and avail
thyself of life, before they proclaim it as an event that such a person
is not left."


I have heard of a king's son who was short and mean, and his other
brothers were lofty in stature and handsome. On one occasion the king,
his father, looked at him with disparagement and scorn. The son, in his
sagacity, understood him and said, "O father! a short wise man is
preferable to a tall blockhead; it is not everything that is mightier in
stature that is superior in value:--_a sheep's flesh is wholesome, that
of an elephant carrion_.--_Of the mountains of this earth Sinai is one
of the least, yet is it most mighty before God in state and
dignity_.--Heardst thou not what an intelligent lean man said one day to
a sleek fat dolt? An Arab horse, notwithstanding his slim make, is more
prized thus than a herd of asses."

The father smiled; the pillars of the state, or courtiers, nodded their
assent, and the other brothers were mortified to the quick. Till a man
has declared his mind, his virtue and vice may have lain hidden; do not
conclude that the thicket is unoccupied, peradventure the tiger is gone

I have heard that about that time a formidable antagonist appeared
against the king. Now that an army was levied in each side, the first
person that mounted his horse and sallied upon the plain was that son,
and he exclaimed: "I cannot be that man whose back thou mayest see on
the day of battle, but am him thou mayest descry amidst the thick of it,
with my head covered with dust and blood; for he that engages in the
contest sports with his own blood, but he who flees from it sports with
the blood of an army on the day of fight." He so spoke, assaulting the
enemy's cavalry, and overthrew some renowned warriors. When he came
before the king he kissed the earth of obeisance, and said, "O thou, who
didst view my body with scorn, whilst not aware of valor's rough
exterior, it is the lean steed that will prove of service, and not the
fatted ox, on the day of battle."

They have reported that the enemy's cavalry was immense, and those of
the king few in number; a body of them was inclined to fly, when the
youth called aloud, and said, "Be resolute, my brave men, that you may
not have to wear the apparel of women!" The troops were more courageous
on this speech, and attacked altogether. I have heard that on that day
they obtained a complete victory over the enemy. The king kissed his
face and eyes, and folded him in his arms, and became daily more
attached to him, till he declared him heir-apparent to the throne. The
brothers bore him a grudge, and put poison into his food. His sister saw
this from a window, and closed the shutter; and the boy understood the
sign, and withdrew his hand from the dish, and said, "It is hard that
the virtuous should perish and that the vicious should occupy their
places." Were the homayi, or phoenix, to be extinct in the world, none
would take refuge under the shadow of an owl. They informed the father
of this event; he sent for the brothers and rebuked them, as they
deserved. Then he made a division of his domains, and gave a suitable
portion to each, that discontent might cease; but the ferment was
increased, as they have said: Ten dervishes can sleep on one rug, but
two kings cannot be accommodated in a whole kingdom. When a man after
God's heart can eat the moiety of his loaf, the other moiety he will
give in alms to the poor. A king may acquire the sovereignty of one
climate or empire; and he will in like manner covet the possession of

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