Sheikh Saadi

Story 39 – The Manners Of Kings – Gulistaan-e-Sa.Adii

Harun-ur-Rashid said when the country of Egypt was surrendered to him: ‘In contrast to the rebel who had in his arrogance of being sovereign of Egypt pretended to be God, I shall bestow this country upon the meanest of my slaves.’ He had a stupid negro, Khosaib by name, whom he made governor of Egypt but his intellect and discrimination were so limited that when the tribe of Egyptian agriculturists complained and stated that they had sown cotton along the banks of the Nile and that an untimely rain had destroyed it he replied: ‘You ought to have sown wool.’ A pious man heard this, and said:

‘If livelihood were increased by knowledge

None would be more needy than the ignorant.

Nevertheless the ignorant receive a livelihood

At which the learned stand aghast.

the luck of wealth consists not in skill

But only in the aid of heaven.

It happens in the world that many

Silly men are honoured and sages despised.

If an alchemist has died in grief and misery,

A fool discovered a treasure amidst ruins.’

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