A certain learned man was superintending the education of a king’s son; and he was chastising him without mercy, and reproving him with asperity. The boy, out of all patience, complained to the king his father, and laid bare before him his much-bruised body. The king was much offended, and sending for the master, said: “You do not treat the children of my meanest subject with the harshness and cruelty you do my boy; what do you mean by this?” He replied: “To think before they speak, and to deliberate before they act, are duties incumbent upon all mankind, and more immediately upon kings; because whatever may drop from their hands and tongue, the special deed or word will somehow become the subject of public animadversion; whereas any act or remark of the commonalty attracts not such notice:—Let a dervish, or poor man, commit a hundred indiscretions, and his companions will not notice one out of the hundred; and let a king but utter one foolish word, and it will be echoed from kingdom to kingdom:—therefore in forming the morals of young princes, more pains are to be taken than with the sons of the vulgar. Whoever was not taught good manners in his boyhood, fortune will forsake him when he becomes a man. Thou may’st bend the green bough as thou likest; but let it once get dry, and it will require heat to straighten it:—’Verily thou may’st bend the tender branch, but it were labor lost to attempt making straight a crooked billet.’”
The king greatly approved of this ingenious detail, and the wholesome course of discipline of the learned doctor; and, bestowing upon him a dress and largess, raised him one step in his rank as a nobleman!
In the west of Africa I saw a schoolmaster of a sour aspect and bitter speech, crabbed, misanthropic, beggarly, and intemperate, insomuch that the sight of him would derange the ecstasies of the orthodox; and his manner of reading the Koran cast a gloom over the minds of the pious. A number of handsome boys and lovely virgins were subject to his despotic sway, who had neither the permission of a smile nor the option of