Quoth Jesus (on whom be peace!), ’Had these dealt prudently, they had taken thought for themselves; but they neglected the issues of events; for that whoso acteth prudently is safe and conquereth,[FN#252] and whoso neglecteth precaution perisheth and repenteth.’ Nor,” added the vizier,” is this more extraordinary nor goodlier than the story of the king, whose kingdom was restored to him and his wealth, after he had become poor, possessing not a single dirhem.”
When the king heard this, he said in himself “How like is this to my own story in the matter of the vizier and his slaughter! Had I not used precaution, I had put him to death.” And he bade Er Rehwan depart to his own house.
The Thirteenth Night of the Month.
When the evening evened, the king sent for the vizier to his privy sitting chamber and bade him [tell] the [promised] story. So he said, “Hearkening and obedience. They avouch, O king, that
There was once, in a city of Hind, a just and beneficent king, and he had a vizier, a man of understanding, just in his judgment, praiseworthy in his policy, in whose hand was the governance of all the affairs of the realm; for he was firmly stablished in the king’s favour and high in esteem with the folk of his time, and the king set great store by him and committed himself to him in all his affairs, by reason of his contrivance for his subjects, and he had helpers[FN#253] who were content with him.
Now the king had a brother, who envied him and would fain have been in his place; and when he was weary of looking for his death and the term of his life seemed distant unto him, he took counsel with certain of his partisans and they said, ’The vizier is the king’s counsellor and but for him, there would be left the king no kingdom.’ So the king’s brother cast about for the ruin of the vizier, but could find no means of accomplishing his design; and when the affair grew long upon him, he said to his wife, ’What deemest thou will advantage us in this?’ Quoth she, ‘What is it?’ And he replied, ’I mean in the matter of yonder vizier, who inciteth my brother to devoutness with all his might and biddeth him thereto, and indeed the king is infatuated with his counsel and committeth to him the governance of all things and matters.’ Quoth she, ‘Thou sayst truly; but how shall we do with him?’ And he answered, ’I have a device, so thou wilt help me in that which I shall say to thee.’ Quoth she, ’Thou shall have my help in whatsoever thou desirest.’ And he said, ’I mean to dig him a pit in the vestibule and dissemble it artfully.’