Then the king acquainted the people [of his court] with the matter and said to them,’ O folk, how deem ye of my looking to the issues of affairs?’ And they all marvelled at his wisdom and foresight. Then he turned to his father and said to him, ’Hadst thou looked to the issue of thine affair and dealt deliberately in that which thou didst, there had not betided thee this repentance and grief all this time.’ Then he let bring his mother and they rejoiced in each other and lived all their days in joy and gladness. What then,” continued the young treasurer, “is more grievous than the lack of looking to the issues of affairs? Wherefore hasten thou not in the slaying of me, lest repentance betide thee and sore concern.”
When the king heard this, he said, “Restore him to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his affair; for that deliberation in affairs is advisable and the slaughter of this [youth] shall not escape [us].”
The Third Day.
Of the advantages of patience.
When it was the third day, the third vizier came in to the king and said to him, “O king, delay not the affair of this youth, for that his deed hath caused us fall into the mouths of the folk, and it behoveth that thou slay him presently, so the talk may be estopped from us and it be not said, ’The king saw on his bed a man with his wife and spared him.’"* The king was chagrined by this speech and bade bring the youth. So they brought him in shackles, and indeed the king’s anger was roused against him by the speech of the vizier and he was troubled; so he said to him, “O base of origin, thou hast dishonoured us and marred our repute, and needs must I do away thy life from the world.” Quoth the youth, “O king, make use of patience in all thine affairs, so wilt thou attain thy desire, for that God the Most High hath appointed the issue of patience [to be] in abounding good, and indeed by patience Abou Sabir ascended from the pit and sat down upon the throne.” “Who was Abou Sabir,” asked the king, “and what is his story?” And the youth answered, saying, “O king,
STORY OF ABOU SABIR.
There was once a man, a headman [of a village], by name Abou Sabir, and he had much cattle and a fair wife, who had borne him two sons. They abode in a certain village and there used to come thither a lion and devour Abou Sabir’s cattle, so that the most part thereof was wasted and his wife said to him one day, ’This lion hath wasted the most part of our cattle. Arise, mount thy horse and take thy men and do thine endeavour to kill him, so we may be at rest from him.’ But Abou Sabir said, ’Have patience, O woman, for the issue of patience is praised. This lion it is that transgresseth against us, and the transgressor, needs must Allah destroy him. Indeed, it is our patience that shall slay him, and he that doth evil, needs must it revert upon him.’ A little after,