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.

XVIII

An Arab, suffering under all the extremity of thirst in the desert, was saying:—­“Would to God that yet, before I perish, I could but for one day gratify my wish:  that a stream of water might dash against my knees, and I could fill my leathern flask or stomach with it.”

In like manner a traveller had got bewildered in the great desert, and had neither provisions nor strength left, yet a few dirams remained with him in his scrip.  He kept wandering about, but could not find the path, and sunk under his fatigue.  A party of travellers arrived where his body lay; they saw the dirams spread before him, and these verses written in the sand:—­“Were he possessed of all the gold of Jafier (a famous gold refiner), a man without food could not satisfy his appetite.  To a wretched mendicant, parched in the desert, a boiled turnip would relish better than an ingot of virgin silver.”

XIX

I had never complained of the vicissitudes of fortune, nor murmured at the ordinances of heaven, excepting on one occasion, that my feet were bare, and I had not wherewithal to shoe them.  In this desponding state I entered the metropolitan mosque at Cufah, and there I beheld a man that had no feet.  I offered up praise and thanksgiving for God’s goodness to myself, and submitted with patience to my want of shoes.—­In the eye of one satiated with meat a roast fowl is less esteemed at his table than a salad; but to him who is stinted of food a boiled turnip will relish like a roast fowl.

XX

A king, attended by a select retinue, had, on a sporting excursion during the winter, got at a distance from any of his hunting seats, and the evening was closing fast, when they espied from afar a peasant’s cottage.  The king said:  “Let us repair thither for the night, that we may shelter ourselves from the inclemency of the weather.”  One of the courtiers replied:  “It would not become the dignity of the sovereign to take refuge in the cottage of a low peasant; we can pitch a tent here and kindle a fire.”  The peasant saw what was passing; he came forward with what refreshments he had at hand, and, laying them before the king, kissed the earth of subserviency, and said:  “The lofty dignity of the king would not be lowered by this condescension; but these gentlemen did not choose that the condition of a peasant should be exalted.”  The king was pleased with this speech; and they passed the night at his cottage.  In the morning he bestowed an honorary dress and handsome largess upon him.  I have heard that the peasant was resting his hand for some paces upon the king’s stirrup, and saying:  “The state and pomp of the sovereign suffered no degradation by his condescension in becoming a guest at the cottage of a peasant; but the corner of the peasant’s cap rose to a level with the sun when the shadow of such a monarch as thou art fell upon his head.”

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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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