Sheikh Saadi

Story 23 – The Manners Of Kings – Gulistaan-e-Sa.Adii

One of the servants of Umrulais had fled but some men, having been sent in pursuit, brought him back. the vezier who bore a grudge towards him desired him to be killed that the other servants may not imitate his example. He placed his head on the ground before Umrulais and said:

‘Whatever befalls my head is lawful with thy approbation.

What plea can the slave advance? the sentence is the master’s.’

‘But, having been nourished by the bounty of this dynasty, I am loth that on the day of resurrection thou shouldst be punished for having shed my blood; but, if thou desirest to kill me, do so according to the provisions of the law.’ He asked: ‘How am I to interpret it?’ the slave continued: ‘Allow me to kill the vezier and then take my life in retaliation so that I may be killed justly.’ the king smiled and asked the vezier what he thought of the matter. He replied: ‘My lord, give freedom to this bastard as an oblation to the tomb of thy father for fear he would bring trouble on me likewise. It is my fault for not having taken account of the maxim of philosophers who have said:

When thou fightest with a thrower of clods

thou ignorantly breakest thy own head.

When thou shootest an arrow at the face of a foe

Be on thy guard for thou art sitting as a target for him.’

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