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.

XXXIX

When he reduced the kingdom of Misr, or Egypt, to obedience, Harun-al-Rashid said, “In contempt of that impious rebel (Pharaoh), who, in his pride of the sovereignty of Egypt, boasted a divinity, I will bestow its government only on the vilest of my slaves.”  He had a negro bondsman, called Khosayib, preciously stupid, and him he appointed to rule over Egypt.  They tell us that his judgment and understanding were such, that when a body of farmers complained to him, saying, “We had planted some cotton shrubs on the banks of the Nile, and the rains came unseasonably, and swept them all away;”—­he replied, “You ought to sow wool, that it might not be swept away!” A good and holy man heard this, and said:  “Were our fortune to be increased in proportion to our knowledge, none could be scantier than the share of the fool; but fortune will bestow such wealth upon the ignorant as shall astonish a hundred of the learned.  Power and fortune depend not on knowledge, they are obtained only through the aid of heaven; for it has often happened in this world that the illiterate are honored, and the wise held in scorn.  The fool in his idleness found a treasure under a ruin; the chemist, or projector, fell the victim of disappointment and chagrin.”

CHAPTER II

Of the Morals of Dervishes

I

A person of distinction asked a parsa, or devout and holy man, saying, “What do you offer in justification of a certain abid, another species of Mohammedan monk, whose character others have been so ready to question?” He replied:  “In his outward behavior I see nothing to blame, and with the secrets of his heart I claim no acquaintance.—­Whomsoever thou seest in a parsa’s habit, consider him a parsa, or holy, and esteem him as a good man; and if thou knowest not what is passing in his mind, what business has the mohtasib, or censor, with the inside of the house?”

II

I saw a dervish who, having laid his head at the fane of the Cabah of Mecca, was complaining and saying, “O gracious, O merciful God! thou knowest what can proceed from the sinful and ignorant that may be worthy of thy acceptance!—­I brought my excuse of imperfect performance, for I have no claim on the score of obedience.  The wicked repent them of their sins; such as know God confess a deficiency of worship.”

Abids, or the pious, seek a reward of their devotion, merchants a profit on their traffic.  I, a devoted servant, have brought hope, not obedience, and have come as a beggar, and not for lucre!—­Do unto me what is worthy of thyself; but deal not with me as I myself have deserved.—­Whether thou wilt slay me or pardon my offence, my head and face are prostrate at thy threshold.  Thy servant has no will of his own; whatever thou commandest, that he will perform.  At the door of the Cabah I saw a petitioner, who was praying and weeping bitterly.  I ask not, saying, “Approve of my obedience, but draw the pen of forgiveness across my sins.”

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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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