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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.
“What is your advice in this case?” The vizir said, “O sovereign of the world!  I beg, for the sake of God, that you will manumit this audacious fellow as a propitiation at the tomb of your forefathers, lest he also involve me in calamity.  The fault was on my side, in not doing justice to the saying of the wise, who have warned us:—­’When thou didst enter the lists with a practised slinger, in thy want of skill thou exposest thine own head to be broken.  When thou didst discharge thine arrow at thy antagonist’s face thou shouldst have been upon thy guard, for thou hadst become his butt.’”

XXIV

King Zuzan had a minister of a generous spirit and kindly disposition, who was polite to all persons while present, and spoke well of them when absent.  One of his acts happened to displease the king, who put him under stoppages, and in rigorous confinement.  The officers of the crown were sensible of his former benefits, and pledged to show their gratitude of them.  Accordingly, whilst under their charge, they treated him with courtesy and benevolence, and would not use any coercion or violence:—­“If thou desirest to remain at peace with a rival, whenever he slanders thee behind thy back speak well of him to his face.  The perverse man cavils for the last word; unless thou preferest his bitter remarks, make his mouth sweet.”

Of the charge against him at the king’s exchequer, part had been adjusted according to its settlement, and he remained in durance for the balance.  A bordering prince sent him underhand a letter, stating, “The sovereign of that quarter has not appreciated such worth, nay, has dishonored it, and with us it bore a heavy price.  If the precious mind of a certain personage, may God facilitate his deliverance, will incline favorably towards us, every possible exertion shall be made to conciliate his good-will, and the cabinet ministers of this kingdom are exulting in the prospect of seeing him, and anxious for the answer of this letter.”  The minister made himself master of the contents.  He pondered on the danger, wrote such a brief answer as seemed discreet upon the back of the letter, and returned it.  One of the hangers-on at court had notice of this circumstance.  He apprised the king, saying, “A certain person whom you have put in confinement is corresponding with a neighboring prince.”  The king was wroth, and ordered an investigation of this intelligence.  The messenger was seized, and letter read.  On the back of it he had written, stating, “The good opinion of his Majesty exceeds the merits of this slave; but the honored approbation he has bestowed upon a servant cannot possibly have his consent, for he is the fostered gift of this house, and he cannot, on a trifling change of affection, betray his ancient benefactor and patron.—­Though once in his life he may grate thee with harshness, excuse him who on every occasion else has soothed thee with kindness.”  The king commended

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