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Burton: The Wild Ass and the Jackal

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A certain Jackal was wont every day to leave his lair and fare forth questing his daily bread. Now one day, as he was in a certain mountain, behold, the day was done and he set out to return when he fell in with another Jackal who saw him on the tramp, and each began to tell his mate of the quarry he had gotten. Quoth one of them, "The other day I came upon a wild Ass and I was an hungered, for it was three days since I had eaten; so I rejoiced in this and thanked Almighty Allah for bringing him into my power. Then I tare out his heart and ate it and was full and returned to my home. That was three days ago, since which time I have found nothing to eat, yet am I still full of meat." When the other Jackal heard his fellow's story, he envied his fulness and said in himself, "There is no help but that I eat the heart of a wild Ass." So he left feeding for some days, till he became emaciated and nigh upon death and bestirred not himself neither did he endeavour to get food, but lay coiled up in his earth. And whilst he was thus, behold, one day there came out two hunters trudging in quest of quarry and started a wild Ass. They followed on his trail tracking him all day, till at last one of them shot at him a forked arrow, which pierced his vitals and reached his heart and killed him in front of the Jackal's hole. Then the hunters came up and finding him dead, pulled out the shaft from his heart, but only the wood came away and the forked head abode in the Ass's belly. So they left him where he lay, expecting that others of the wild beasts would flock to him; but, when it was eventide and nothing fell to them, they returned to their abiding places. The Jackal, hearing the commotion at the mouth of his home, lay quiet till nightfall, when he came forth of his lair, groaning for weakness and hunger, and seeing the dead Ass lying at his door, rejoiced with joy exceeding till he was like to fly for delight and said, "Praised be Allah who hath won me my wish without toil! Verily, I had lost hope of coming at a wild Ass or aught else; and assuredly the Almighty hath sent him to me and crave him fall to my homestead." Then he sprang on the body and tearing open its belly, thrust in his head and with his nose rummaged about its entrails, till he found the heart and tearing a tidbit swallowed it: but, as soon as he had so done, the forked head of the arrow struck deep in his gullet and he could neither get it down into his belly nor bring it forth of his throttle. So he made sure of destruction and said, "Of a truth it beseemeth not the creature to seek for himself aught over and above that which Allah hath allotted to him. Had I been content with what He appointed to me, I had not come to destruction." "Wherefore, O King," added the Wazir, "it becometh man to be content with whatso Allah hath distributed to him and thank Him for His bounties to him and cast not off hope of his Lord. And behold, O King, because of the purity of thy purpose and the fair intent of thy good works, Allah hath blessed thee with a son, after despair, wherefore we pray the Almighty to vouchsafe him length of days and abiding happiness and make him a blessed successor, faithful in the observance of thy covenant, after thy long life." Then arose the fourth Wazir, and said, "Verily, an the King be a man of understanding, a frequenter of the gates of wisdom,"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Fifth Night,

She pursued: It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the fourth Wazir, arose and said, "Verily an the King be a man of understanding, a frequenter of the gates of wisdom, versed in science, government and policy, and eke upright in purpose and just to his subjects, honouring those to whom honour is due, revering those who are digne of reverence, tempering puissance with using clemency whenas it behoveth, and protecting both governors and governed, lightening all burthens for them and bestowing largesse on them, sparing their blood and covering their shame and keeping his troth with them. Such a King, I say, is worthy of felicity both present and future, worldly and other- worldly, and this is of that which protecteth him from ill-will and helpeth him to the stablishing of his Kingdom and the victory over his enemies and the winning of his wish, together with increase of Allah's bounty to him and His favouring him for his praise of Him and the attainment of His protection. But an the King be the contrary of this, he never ceaseth from misfortunes and calamities, he and the people of his realm, for that his oppression embraceth both stranger far and kinsman near and there cometh to pass with him that which befel the unjust King with the pilgrim Prince." King Jali'ad asked, "And how was that?" and the Wazir answered, "Hear, O King, the tale of...

[Go to The Unjust King and the Pilgrim Prince]

Burton, Richard (1821-1890). The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. London. 1885-1888. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. V. Gutenberg Vol. VII. Gutenberg Vol. VIII. Gutenberg Vol. IX. Gutenberg Vol. X. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version.

1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM

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