Story 34 – The Manners Of Kings – Gulistaan-e-Sa.Adii

One of the sons of Harun-ur-Rashid went to his father and angrily informed him that the son of an official had used insulting expressions towards him whereon Harun asked his courtiers what requital he deserved. One of them proposed capital punishment, another the amputation of the tongue whilst a third recommended fine and imprisonment. then Harun said: ‘Oh my son, it would be generous to pardon him but, if thou art unable to do so, use likewise insulting expressions concerning his mother; not however to such a degree as to exceed the bounds of vengeance because in that case the wrong will be on thy side.’

He is not reputed a man by the wise

Who contends with a furious elephant

But he is a man in reality

Who when angry speaks not idle words.

An ill-humoured fellow insulted a man

Who patiently bore it saying: ‘O hopeful youth,

I am worse than thou speakest of me

For I am more conscious of my faults than thou.’

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