The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2.

A prince inherited immense riches by succeeding to his father.  He opened the hand of liberality, displayed his munificence, and bestowed innumerable gifts upon his troops and people.  “The brain will not be perfumed by a censer of green aloes-wood; place it over the fire that it may diffuse fragrance like ambergris.  If ambitious of a great name, make a practice of munificence, for the crop will not shoot till thou shalt sow the seed.”

A narrow-minded courtier began to admonish him, saying, “Verily, former sovereigns have collected this wealth with scrupulosity and stored it advisedly.  Check your hand in this waste, for accidents wait ahead, and foes lurk behind.  God forbid that you should want it on a day of need.—­Wert thou to distribute the contents of a granary among the people, every master of a family might receive a grain of rice; why not exact a grain of silver from each, that thou mightest daily hoard a chamber full of treasure?”

The prince turned his face aside from this speech, so contrary to his own lofty sentiments, and harshly reprimanded him, saying, “A great and glorious God made me sovereign of this property, that I might enjoy and spend it; and posted me not a sentinel, to hoard and watch over it.—­Carown perished, who possessed forty magazines of treasure; Nushirowan died not, who left behind him a fair reputation.”

XIX

They have related that at a hunting seat they were roasting some game for Nushirowan, and as there was no salt they were despatching a servant to the village to fetch some.  Nushirowan called to him, saying, “Take it at its fair price, and not by force, lest a bad precedent be established and the village desolated.”  They asked, “What damage can ensue from this trifle?” He answered, “Originally, the basis of oppression in this world was small, and every newcomer added to it, till it reached to its present extent:—­Let the monarch eat but one apple from a peasant’s orchard, and his guards, or slaves, will pull up the tree by its root.  From the plunder of five eggs, that the king shall sanction, his troops will stick a thousand fowls on their spits.”

XX

I have heard of a revenue-collector who would distrain the huts of the peasantry, that he might enrich the treasury of the sovereign, regardless of that maxim of the wise, who have said, “Whoever can offend the Most High, that he may gain the heart of a fellow-creature, God on high will instigate that creature against him, till he dig out the foundation of his fortune:—­That crackling in the flame is not caused by burning rue, but it is the sigh of the afflicted that occasions it.”

They say, of all animals the lion is the chief; and of beasts the ass is the meanest; yet, with the concurrence of the wise, the burden-bearing ass is preferable to the man-devouring lion.  “The poor ass, though devoid of understanding, will be held precious when carrying a burden; oxen and asses that carry loads are preferable to men that injure their fellow-creatures.”

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The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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