When it was the seventh day, the seventh vizier, whose name was Bihkemal, came in to the king and prostrating himself to him, said, “O king, what doth thy long-suffering with this youth advantage thee? Indeed the folk talk of thee and of him. Why, then, dost thou postpone the putting him to death?” The vizier’s words aroused the king’s anger and he bade bring the youth. So they brought him before him, shackled, and Azadbekht said to him, “Out on thee! By Allah, after this day there abideth no deliverance for thee from my hand, for that thou hast outraged mine honour, and there can be no forgiveness for thee.”
“O king,” answered the youth, “there is no great forgiveness save in case of a great crime, for according as the offence is great, in so much is forgiveness magnified and it is no dishonour to the like of thee if he spare the like of me. Verily, Allah knoweth that there is no fault in me, and indeed He commandeth unto clemency, and no clemency is greater than that which spareth from slaughter, for that thy forgiveness of him whom thou purposest to put to death is as the quickening of a dead man; and whoso doth evil shall find it before him, even as it was with King Bihkerd.” “And what is the story of King Bihkerd?” asked the king. “O king,” answered the youth,
STORY OF KING BIHKERD.
“There was once a king named Bihkerd aed he had wealth galore and many troops; but his deeds were evil and he would punish for a slight offence and never forgave. He went forth one day to hunt and one of his servants shot an arrow, which lit on the king’s ear and cut it off. Quoth Bihkerd, ‘Who shot that arrow?’ So the guards brought him in haste the offender, whose name was Yetrou, and he of his fear fell down on the ground in a swoon. Then said the king, ‘Put him to death;’ but Yetrou said, ’O King, this that hath befallen was not of my choice nor of my knowledge; so do thou pardon me, in the hour of thy power over me, for that clemency is of the goodliest of things and belike it shall be [in this world] a provision and a good work [for which thou shall be requited] one of these days, and a treasure [laid up to thine account] with God in the world to come. Pardon me, therefore, and fend off evil from me, so shall God fend off from thee evil the like thereof.’ When the king heard this, it pleased him and he pardoned the servant, albeit he had never before pardoned any.
Now this servant was of the sons of the kings and had fled from his father, on account of an offence he had committed. Then he went and took service with King Bihkerd and there happened to him what happened. After awhile, it chanced that a man recognized him and went and told his father, who sent him a letter, comforting his heart and mind and [beseeching him] to return to him. So he returned to his father, who came forth to meet him and rejoiced in him, and the prince’s affairs were set right with him.