Hormuzd, being asked what fault the veziers of his father had committed that he imprisoned them, replied: ‘I discovered no fault. I saw that boundless awe of me had taken root in their hearts but that they had no full confidence in my promises, wherefore I apprehended that they, fearing calamities would befall them, might attempt my life and I acted according to the maxim of sages who have said:
‘Dread him who dreads thee, O sage,
Although thou couldst cope with a hundred like him.
Seest thou not when the cat becomes desperate
How he plucks out with his claws the eyes of a tiger?
the viper stings the shepherd’s foot
Because it fears he will strike his head with a stone.’