Story 20 – The Manners Of Kings – Gulistaan-e-Sa.Adii

I heard that an oppressor ruined the habitations of the subjects to fill the treasury of the sultan, unmindful of the maxim of philosophers, who have said: ‘Who offends God the most high to gain the heart of a created being, God will use that very being to bring on his destruction in the world.’

Fire burning with wild rue will not

Cause a smoke like that of afflicted hearts.

The prince of all animals is the lion and the meanest of beasts the ass. Nevertheless sages agree that an ass who carries loads is better than a lion who destroys men.

The poor donkey though void of discernment

Is nevertheless esteemed when he carries a burden.

Oxen and asses who carry loads

Are superior to men oppressing mankind.

When the king had obtained information of some of the oppressor’s misdeeds and bad conduct, he had him put on the rack and slain by various tortures.

Thou wilt not obtain the approbation of the sultan

Unless thou seekest the goodwill of his subjects.

If thou desirest God to condone thy transgressions,

Do good to the people whom God has created.

One of the oppressed who passed near him said:

‘Not everyone who possesses strength of arm and office

In the sultanate may with impunity plunder the people.

A hard bone may be made to pass down the throat

But it will tear the belly when it sticks in the navel.’

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