In short, the vizir took the boy home, and educated him with kindness and liberality. And he appointed him masters and tutors, who taught him the graces of logic and rhetoric, and all manner of courtier accomplishments, so that he met general approbation. On one occasion the vizir was detailing some instances of his proficiency and talents in the royal presence, and saying: “The instruction of the wise has made an impression upon him, and his former savageness is obliterated from his mind.” The king smiled at this speech, and replied:—“The whelp of a wolf must prove a wolf at last, notwithstanding he may be brought up by a man.”
Two years after this a gang of city vagabonds got about him, and joined in league, till on an opportunity he murdered the vizir and his two sons; and, carrying off an immense booty, he took up the station of his father in the den of thieves, and became a hardened villain. The king was apprised of this event; and, seizing the hand of amazement with the teeth of regret, said:—“How can any person manufacture a tempered sabre from base iron; nor can a base-born man, O wiseacre, be made a gentleman by any education! Rain, in the purity of whose nature there is no anomaly, cherishes the tulip in the garden and common weed in the salt-marsh. Waste not thy labor in scattered seed upon a briny soil, for it can never be made to yield spikenard; to confer a favor on the wicked is of a like import, as if thou didst an injury to the good.”
At the gate of Oghlamish Patan, King of Delhi, I (namely Sa’di) saw an officer’s son, who, in his wit and learning, wisdom and understanding, surpassed all manner of encomium. In the prime of youth, he at the same time bore on his forehead the traces of ripe age, and exhibited on his cheek the features of good fortune:—“Above his head, from his prudent conduct, the star of superiority shone conspicuous.”
In short, it was noticed with approbation by the king that he possessed bodily accomplishments and mental endowments. And sages have remarked that worth rests not on riches, but on talents; and the discretion of age, not in years, but on good sense. His comrades envied his good fortune, charged him with disaffection, and vainly attempted to have him put to death:—“but what can the rival effect so long as the charmer is our friend?”
The king asked, saying, “Why do they show such a disinclination to do you justice?” He replied: “Under the shadow of his majesty’s good fortune I have pleased everybody, excepting the envious man, who is not to be satisfied but with a decline of my success; and let the prosperity and dominion of my lord the king be perpetual!” I can so manage as to give umbrage to no man’s heart; but what can I do with the envious man, who harbors within himself the cause of his own chagrin? Die, O ye envious, that ye may get a deliverance; for this is such an evil that you can get rid of it only by death. Men soured by misfortune anxiously desire that the state and fortune of the prosperous may decline; if the eye of the bat is not suited for seeing by day, how can the fountain of the sun be to blame? Dost thou require the truth? It were better a thousand such eyes should suffer, rather than that the light of the sun were obscured.