Sheikh Saadi

Story 19 – The Manners Of Kings – Gulistaan-e-Sa.Adii

It is related that, whilst some game was being roasted for Nushirvan the just during a hunting party, no salt could be found. Accordingly a boy was sent to an adjoining village to bring some. Nushirvan said: ‘Pay for the salt lest it should become a custom and the village be ruined.’ Having been asked what harm could arise from such a trifling demand, Nushirvan replied: ‘the foundation of oppression was small in the world but whoever came augmented it so that it reached its present magnitude.’

If the king eats one apple from the garden of a subject

His slaves will pull him up the tree from the roots.

For five eggs which the sultan allows to be taken by force

the people belonging to his army will put a thousand

fowls on the spit.

A tyrant does not remain in the world

But the curse on him abides for ever.

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