A fortnight after I passed by the gate of that mosque and saw the first schoolmaster, with whom they had been obliged to make friends, and to restore him to his place. I was in truth offended, and calling on God to witness, asked, saying: “Why have they again made a devil the preceptor of angels?” A facetious old gentleman, who had seen much of life, listened to me and replied: “Have you not heard what they have said:—A king sent his son to school, and hung a tablet of silver round his neck. On the face of that tablet he had written in golden letters: ’The severity of the master is more useful than the indulgence of the father.’”
* * * * *
A king gave his son into the charge of a preceptor, and said: “This is your child, educate him as you would one of your own.” For some years he labored in teaching him, but to no good purpose; whilst the sons of the preceptor excelled in eloquence and knowledge. The king blamed the learned man, and remonstrated with him, saying: “You have violated your trust, and infringed the terms of your engagement.” He replied: “O king, the education is the same, but their capacities are different!” Though silver and gold are extracted from stones, yet it is not in every stone that gold and silver are found. The Sohail, or star Canopus, is shedding his rays all over the globe. In one place he produces common leather, in another, or in Yamin, that called Adim, or perfumed.
I heard a certain learned senior observing to a disciple:—“If the sons of Adam were as solicitous after Providence, or God, as they are after their means of sustenance, their places in Paradise would surpass those of the angels.” God did not overlook thee in that state when thou wert a senseless embryo in thy mother’s womb. He bestowed upon thee a soul, reason, temper, intellect, symmetry, speech, judgment, understanding, and reflection. He accommodated thy hands with ten fingers, and suspended two arms from thy shoulders. Canst thou now suppose, O good-for-nothing wretch, that he will forget to provide thy daily bread?