One day, a learned companion, who was well versed in history, and had seen [a great deal of] the world, said to me, “That though there is no reliance on the life of man, yet such excellent qualities are often found in him, that owing to them, the name of some men will be handed down with praise on people’s tongues to the day of judgment.” I begged of him to relate circumstantially a few instances on that score, that I might hear them, and endeavour to act accordingly. Then that person began to relate as follows, some of the adventures of Hatim Ta’i. “That there lived in the time of Hatim, a king of Arabia, named Naufal, who bore great enmity towards Hatim, on account of his renown, and having assembled many troops, he went up to give him battle. Hatim was a God-fearing and good man; he thus conceived, that, “If I likewise prepare for battle, then the creatures of God will be slaughtered, and there will be much bloodshed; the punishment of heaven for which will be recorded against my name.” Reflecting on this, he quite alone, taking merely his life with him, fled and hid himself in a cave in the mountains. When the news of Hatim’s flight reached Naufal, he confiscated all the property and dwellings of Hatim, and proclaimed publicly, that whoever would look out for him and seize him, should receive from the king’s treasury five hundred pieces of gold. On hearing this [proclamation], all became eager, and began to make diligent search for Hatim.
“One day, an old man and his wife, taking two or three of their young children with them, for the purpose of picking up wood, strayed near the cave where Hatim was concealed; and began to gather fuel in that same forest. The old woman remarked, ’If our days had been at all fortunate, we should have seen and found Hatim somewhere or other, and seizing him, we should have carried him to Naufal; then he would give us five hundred pieces of gold, and we should live comfortably, and be released from this toil and care,’ The old woodman said, ’What art thou prating about? it was decreed in our fate, that we should pick up wood every day, place it on our heads, and sell it in the bazar, and [with its produce] procure bread and salt; or one day the tiger of the woods will carry us off: peace, mind thy work; why should Hatim fall into our hands, and the king give us so much money?’ The old woman heaved a cold sigh, and remained silent.
“Hatim had heard the words of the two [old people], and conceived it unmanly and ungenerous to conceal himself to save his life, and not to conduct those helpless ones to the object of their desire. True it is, that a man without pity is not a human being, and he in whose heart there is no feeling is a butcher.
’Man was created to
Otherwise, angels were not wanting for devotion.’