[Go back to The Blind Man and the Cripple]
With this the discourse between them came to an end and Shimas and all the learned men, who were present, rose and prostrating themselves before the prince, magnified and extolled him, whilst his father pressed him to his bosom and seating him on the throne of kingship, said, 'Praised be God who hath blessed me with a son to be the solace of mine eyes in my lifetime!' Then said the prince to Shimas, 'O sage that art versed in metaphysical questions, albeit God hath vouchsafed me but little knowledge, yet do I apprehend thine intent in accepting from me what I proffered in answer concerning that whereof thou hast asked me, whether I hit or missed the mark therein, and belike thou forgavest my errors; but now I wish to question thee of a thing, whereof my judgment fails and whereto my capacity is unequal and which my tongue availeth not to set forth, for that it is obscure to me, with the obscurity of limpid water in a black vessel; wherefore I would have thee expound it to me, so no whit thereof may remain doubtful to the like of me, to whom its obscurity may present itself in the future, even as it hath presented itself to me in the past; since God, even as He hath made life to be in water and sustenance in food and the healing of the sick in the physician's skill, so hath He appointed the cure of the ignorant to be in the learning of the wise. Give ear, therefore, to my speech.' 'O luminous of wit and master of apt questions,' replied the vizier, 'thou whose superiority all the learned men attest, by reason of the goodliness of thy discrimination of things and thy departition thereof and the justness of thine answers to the questions I have put to thee, thou knowest that thou canst ask me of nought but thou art better able [than I] to form a just judgment thereon and expound it truly; for that God hath vouchsafed unto thee such wisdom as He hath bestowed on none other: but tell me of what thou wouldst question me.' Quoth the prince, 'Tell me from what did the Creator (magnified be His power!) create the world, albeit there was before it nought and there is nought seen in this world but it is created from something; and the Divine Creator (blessed and exalted be He!) is able to create things from nothing, yet hath His will decreed, for all the perfection of [His] power and grandeur, that He shall create nought but from something.' 'As for those,' answered the vizier, 'who fashion vessels of potters' clay, and other handicraftsmen, who cannot produce one thing except from another, they are themselves but created things: but, as for the Creator, who hath wrought the world after this wondrous fashion, if thou wouldst know His power (blessed and exalted be He!) of calling things into existence, consider the various kinds of created things, and thou wilt find signs and tokens, denoting the perfection of His omnipotence and that He is able to create things out of nothing: nay, He called them into being, after absolute nonentity, for the elements that are the matter of created things were sheer nothingness. I will expound this to thee, so thou mayst be in no doubt thereof, and this the phenomenon of the alternation of night and day shall make clear to thee. When the day departs and the night comes, the day is hidden from us and we know not where it abideth; and when the night passes away with its darkness and its terror, the day comes and we know not the abiding-place of the night. In like manner, when the sun rises upon us, we know not where it has laid up its light, and when it sets, we know not the abiding-place of its setting: and the examples of this among the works of the Creator (magnified be His name and exalted be His power!) abound in what confounds the thought of the keenest-witted of human beings.' 'O sage,' rejoined the prince, 'thou hast set before me of the power of the Creator what may not be denied; but tell me how He called His creatures into existence.' '[He created them] by [the sole power of] His Word,' answered Shimas, 'which existed before time, and with it He created all things.' 'Then,' said the prince, 'God (be His name magnified and His power exalted!) only willed the existence of created things, before they came into being?' 'And of His will,' replied Shimas, 'He created them with His Word and but for His speech and Manifest Word, the creation had not come into existence. And, O my son, there is no man can tell thee other than this that I have said, except he pervert the words handed down to us of the law of God and turn the truths thereof from their evident meaning. And such a perversion is their saying that the Word hath power [of itself] and I take refuge with God from such a conclusion. Nay, the meaning of our saying that God (to whom belong might and majesty) created the world with His Word is that He (exalted be His name!) is One in His essence and His attributes and not that His Word hath power [of itself]. On the contrary, power is one of God's attributes, even as speech and other attributes of perfection are attributes of God (exalted be His dignity and magnified be His dominion!); wherefore He may not be conceived without His Word, nor may His Word be conceived without Him; for, with His Word, God (extolled be His praise!) created all His creatures, and without His Word, he created nought. Indeed, He created all things but by His Word of Truth, and by Truth are we created.' Quoth the prince, 'I apprehend that which thou hast said on the subject of the Creator and accept this from thee with understanding; but I hear thee say that He created the world by His Word of Truth. Now Truth is the opposite of Falsehood; whence then arose Falsehood and its opposition unto Truth, and bow comes it to be possible that it should be confounded therewith and be obscure to human beings, so that they need to distinguish between them? And doth the Creator (to whom belong might and majesty!) love Falsehood or hate it? If thou say He loves the Truth and by it created all things and hates Falsehood, how came the latter, which the Creator hates, to invade the Truth, which He loves?' Quoth Shimas, 'Verily God the Most High created man after His own image and likened him to Himself, all of him truth, without falsehood; then He gave him dominion over himself and ordered him and forbade him, and it was man who transgressed His commandment and erred in his disobedience and brought falsehood upon himself of his own will. When God created man with Truth, he had no need of repentance, till Falsehood invaded the Truth by which he was created, by means of the ableness that God had placed in him, being the will and the inclination called acquisitiveness. When Falsehood invaded Truth on this wise, it became confounded therewith, by reason of the will of man and his ableness and acquisitiveness, which is the voluntary party together with the weakness of human nature: wherefore God created repentance for man, to turn away from him falsehood and stablish him in truth; and He created for him also punishment, if he should abide in the obscurity of falsehood.' Quoth the prince, 'Tell me how came falsehood to invade truth, so as to be confounded therewith and how became man liable to punishment and so stood in need of repentance.' 'When God created man with truth,' replied Shimas, 'He made him loving to Himself and there was for him neither repentance nor punishment; but he abode thus till God put in him the soul, which is of the perfection of humanity, with the inclination to lusts which is inherent therein. From this sprang the growth of falsehood and its confusion with the truth, wherewith man was created and with the love whereof he had been informed; and when man came to this pass, he swerved from the truth with disobedience, and whoso swerves from the truth falls into falsehood.' 'Then,' said the prince, 'falsehood invaded truth only by reason of disobedience and transgression?' 'Yes,' answered Shimas; 'and it is thus because God loves man, and of the abundance of His love to him, He created him having need of Himself, that is to say, of the very Truth: but oftentimes man falls away from this by reason of the inclination of the soul to lusts and turns unto frowardness, wherefore he falls into falsehood by the very act of disobeying his Lord and thus renders himself liable to punishment; and by the putting away from himself of falsehood with repentance and the returning to the love of the truth, he merits reward.' Quoth the prince, 'Tell me the origin of frowardness. We see that all mankind trace their being to Adam, and how comes it that he, being created of God with truth, drew disobedience on himself; then was his disobedience coupled with repentance, after the soul had been set in him, that his issue might be reward or punishment? Indeed, we see some men constant in frowardness, inclining to that which God loves not and transgressing in this the original exigence of their creation, which is the love of the Truth and drawing on themselves the wrath of their Lord, whilst others are constant in seeking to please their Creator and obeying Him and meriting mercy and recompense. Whence comes this difference between them?' 'The origin of disobedience in mankind,' replied Shimas, 'is attributable to Iblis, who was the noblest of all that God (magnified be His name!) created of angels and men and Jinn, and the love [of the Truth] was inherent in him, for he knew nought but this; but, for that he saw himself unique in this, there entered into him conceit and vainglory and arrogance and he revolted from loyalty and obedience to the commandment of his Creator; wherefore God made him inferior to all creatures and cast him out from love, making his abiding-place to be in disobedience. So, when he knew that God (glorified be His name!) loved not disobedience and saw Adam and the case wherein he was of truth and love and obedience to his Creator, envy entered into him and he cast about to pervert Adam from the truth, that he might be a partaker with himself in falsehood; and by this, Adam incurred chastisement, through his inclining to disobedience, which his enemy made fair to him, and his subjection to his lusts, whenas he transgressed the injunction of his Lord, by reason of the appearance of falsehood. When the Creator (magnified be His praises and hallowed be His names!) saw the weakness of man and the swiftness of his inclining to his enemy and leaving the truth, He appointed to him, of His mercy, repentance, that therewith he might arise from the morass of inclination to disobedience and taking the arms of repentance, overcome therewith his enemy Iblis and his hosts and return to the truth, wherein he was created. When Iblis saw that God had appointed him a protracted term, he hastened to wage war upon man and to beset him with wiles, to the intent that he might oust him from his Lord's favour and make him a partaker with himself in the curse which he and his hosts had incurred; wherefore God (extolled be His praises!) appointed unto man the power of repentance and commanded him to apply himself to the truth and persevere therein. Moreover, he forbade him from disobedience and frowardness and revealed to him that he had an enemy on the earth warring against him and relaxing not from him night nor day. Thus hath man a right to reward, if he adhere to the truth, in the love of which his essence was created; but he becomes liable to punishment, if his soul master him and drag him into lusts.' 'But tell me,' rejoined the prince, 'by what power is the creature able to transgress against his Creator, seeing that His power is without bounds, even as thou hast set forth, and that nothing can overcome Him nor depart from His will? Deemst thou not that He is able to turn His creatures from disobedience and compel them to adhere eternally to the truth?' 'Verily,' answered Shimas, 'God the Most High (honoured be His name!) is just and equitable and tenderly solicitous over the people of His love. He created His creatures with justice and equity and of the inspiration of His justice and the abundance of His mercy, He gave them dominion over themselves, that they should do whatever they would. He shows them the way of righteousness and bestows on them the power and ability of doing what they will of good: and if they do the opposite thereof, they fall into destruction and disobedience.' (Q.) 'If the Creator, as thou sayest, hath granted men power and ability and they by reason thereof avail to do what they will, why then doth He not come between them and that which they desire of error and turn them to the truth?' (A.) 'This is of the greatness of His mercy and the excellence of His wisdom; for, even as aforetime He showed wrath to Iblis and had no mercy on him, so He showed Adam mercy, by means of repentance, and accepted of him, after He had been wroth with him.' (Q.) 'He is indeed the very Truth, for He it is who requiteth every one according to his works, and there is no Creator but God, to whom belongeth power over all things. But tell me, hath He created that which He loveth and that which He loveth not or only that which He loveth?' (A.) 'He created all things, but favours only that which He loveth.' (Q.) 'What hast thou to say of two things, one whereof is pleasing to God and earns reward for him who practices it?' (A.) 'Expound to me these two things and make me to apprehend them, that I may speak concerning them.' (Q.) 'They are good and evil, the two things innate in the body and the soul.' (A.) 'O wise youth, I see that thou knowest good and evil to be of the works that the soul and the body do [in conjunction]. Good is named good, because in it is the favour of God, and evil evil, for that in it is His wrath. Indeed, it behoveth thee to know God and to please Him by the practice of good, for that He hath commanded us to this and forbidden us to do evil.' (Q.) 'I see these two things, that is, good and evil, to be wrought only by the five senses known in the body of man, to wit, the seat of taste, whence proceed speech, hearing, sight, smell and touch. Tell me whether these five senses were created for good altogether or for evil.' (A.) 'Hear, O man, the exposition of that whereof thou askest and lay it up in thy memory and notify thy heart thereof, for it is a manifest proof. Know that the Creator (blessed and exalted be He!) created man with truth and informed him with the love thereof and there proceedeth from it no created thing save by the Most High decree, whose impress is on every phenomenon. It is not apt but to the ordering of justice and equity and beneficence and created man for the love of itself and informed him with a soul, wherein the inclination to lusts was innate and assigned him ableness and appointed the five senses aforesaid to be to him a means of winning Paradise or Hell.' (Q.) 'How so?' (A.) 'In that He created the tongue for speech and the hands for doing and the feet for walking and the eyes for seeing and the ears for hearing and gave them power and incited them to exercise and motion, bidding each of them do that only which pleaseth Him. Now what pleaseth Him in speech is truthfulness and abstaining from its opposite, which is falsehood, and what pleases Him in sight is turning it unto that which He liveth and leaving the contrary, which is turning it unto that which He abhorreth, such as looking unto lusts: and what pleaseth Him in hearing is hearkening to nought but that which is truth, such as admonition and that which is in the scriptures of God, and leaving the contrary, which is hearkening to that which incurreth the wrath of God; and what pleaseth Him in the hands is not hoarding up that which He entrusteth to them, but spending it on such wise as shall please Him and leaving the contrary, which is avarice or spending that which He hath committed to them in disobedience; and what pleaseth Him in the feet is that they be instant in the pursuit of good, such as the quest of instruction, and leave its contrary, which is the walking in other than the way of God. As for the other lusts that man practices, they proceed from the body by commandment of the soul. The lusts that proceed from the body are of two kinds, that of reproduction and that of the belly. As for the first, that which pleaseth God thereof is that it be not except in the way of law, and if it be in the way of sin, He is displeased with it. As for the lust of the belly, eating and drinking, what pleaseth God thereof is that each take nought but that which God hath appointed him thereof, be it little or much, and praise God and thank Him: and what angereth Him thereof is that a man take that which is not his by right. All precepts other than these are false, and thou knowest that God created all things and delighteth only in good and commandeth each member of the body to do that which He hath made incumbent thereon, for that He is the all-wise, the all-knowing.' (Q.) 'Was it foreknown unto God (exalted be His power!) that Adam would eat of the tree from which He forbade him and so leave obedience for disobedience?' (A.) 'Yes, O sage. This was foreknown unto God the Most High, before He created Adam; and the proof and manifestation thereof is the warning He gave him against eating of the tree and His giving him to know that, if he ate thereof, he would be disobedient. And this was in the way of justice and equity, lest Adam should have an argument wherewith he might excuse himself against his Lord. When, therefore, he fell into error and calamity and reproach and disgrace were sore upon him, this passed to his posterity after him; wherefore God sent prophets and apostles and gave them scriptures and they taught us the divine ordinances and expounded to us what was therein of admonitions and precepts and made clear to us the way of righteousness and what it behoved us to do and what to leave undone. Now we are endowed with ableness and he who acts within these limits attains [felicity] and prospers, whilst he who transgresses them and does other than that which these precepts enjoin, sins and is mined in both worlds. This then is the road of good and evil. Thou knowest that God can all things and created not lusts for us but of His pleasure and will, and He commanded us to use them in the way of lawfulness, so they might be a good to us; but, when we use them in the way of sin, they are an evil to us. So what of good we compass is from God the Most High and what of evil from ourselves His creatures, not from the Creator, exalted be He for this with great exaltation!' (Q.) 'I understand that which thou hast expounded to me concerning God and His creatures; but tell me of one thing, concerning which my mind is perplexed with extreme wonderment, and that is that I marvel at the sons of Adam, how careless they are of the life to come and at their lack of taking thought thereto and their love of this world, albeit they know that they must needs leave it and depart from it, whilst they are yet young in years.' (A.) 'Yes, verily; and that which thou seest of its changefulness and perfidious dealing with its children is a sign that fortune will not endure to the fortunate, neither affliction to the afflicted; for none of its people is secure from its changefulness and even if one have power over it and be content therewith, yet needs must his estate change and removal hasten unto him. Wherefore man can put no trust therein nor profit by that which he enjoyeth of its painted gauds; and knowing this, we know that the sorriest of men in case are those who are deluded by this world and are unmindful of the world to come; for that this present ease they enjoy will not compensate the fear and misery and horrors that will befall them after their removal therefrom. Thus are we certified that, if the creature knew that which will betide him with the coming of death and his severance from that which he presently enjoyeth of delight and clearance, he would cast away the world and that which is therein; for we are assured that the next life is better for us and more profitable.' 'O sage,' said the prince, 'thou hast with thy shining lamp dispelled the darkness that was upon my heart and hast directed me into the road I must travel in the ensuing of the truth and hast given me a lantern whereby I may see.'
Then rose one of the learned men who were present and said, 'When the season of Spring cometh, needs must the hare seek the pasture as well as the elephant; and indeed I have heard from you both such questions and solutions as I never before heard; but now let me ask you of somewhat. What is the best of the goods of the world?' 'Health of body,' replied the prince, 'lawful provision and a virtuous son.' (Q.) 'What is the greater and what the less?' (A.) 'The greater is that to which a lesser than itself submitteth and the less that which submitteth to a greater than itself.' (Q.) 'What are the four things in which all creatures concur?' (A.) 'Meat and drink, the delight of sleep, the lust of women and the agonies of death.' (Q.) 'What are the three things whose foulness none can do away?' (A.) 'Folly, meanness of nature and lying.' (Q.) 'What is the best kind of lie, though all kinds are foul?' (A.) 'That which averteth harm from its utterer and bringeth profit.' (Q.) 'What kind of truthfulness is foul, though all kinds are fair?' (A.) 'That of a man glorying in that which he hath and boasting himself thereof.' (Q.) 'What is the foulest of foulnesses?' (A.) 'When a man boasteth himself of that which he hath not.' (Q.) 'Who is the most foolish of men?' (A.) 'He who hath no thought but of what he shall put in his belly.'
Then said Shimas, 'O king, verily thou art our king, but we desire that thou assign the kingdom to thy son after thee, and we will be thy servants and subjects.' So the king exhorted the learned men and others who were present to remember that which they had heard and do according thereto and enjoined them to obey his son's commandment, for that he made him his heir-apparent, so he should be the successor of the king his father; and he took an oath of all the people of his empire, doctors and braves and old men and boys, that they would not oppose him [in the succession] nor transgress against his commandment.
When the prince was seventeen years old, the king sickened of a sore sickness and came nigh unto death, so, being certified that his last hour was at hand, he said to the people of his household, 'This is a mortal sickness that is upon me; wherefore do ye summon the grandees and notables of my empire, so not one of them may remain except he be present.' Accordingly, they made proclamation to those who were near and made known the summons to those who were afar off, and they all assembled and went in to the king. Then said they to him, 'How is it with thee, O king, and how deemest thou for thyself of this thy sickness?' Quoth Jelyaad, 'Verily, this my sickness is mortal and the arrow [of death] hath executed that which God the Most High decreed against me: this is the last of my days in this world and the first of my days in the world to come.' Then said he to his son, 'Draw near unto me.' So he drew near, weeping sore, that he came nigh to wet the bed, whilst the king's eyes brimmed over with tears and all who were present wept. Quoth Jelyaad, 'Weep not, O my son; I am not the first whom this inevitable thing betideth; nay, it is common to all that God hath created. But fear thou God and do good, that shall forego thee to the place whither all creatures tend. Obey not thy lusts, but occupy thyself with the praises of God in thy standing up and thy sitting down and in thy sleep and thy wake. Make the truth the aim of thine eyes; this is the last of my speech with thee and peace be on thee.'
Then he bequeathed him the kingdom and the prince said, 'O my father, thou knowest that I have never ceased from obedience unto thee and mindfulness of thine injunctions, still carrying out thy commandment and seeking thine approve; for thou hast been to me the best of fathers. How, then, after thy death, shall I depart from that whereof thou approvest? After having fairly ordered my bringing up, thou art now about to depart from me and I have no power to bring thee back to me; but, if I be mindful of thine injunctions, I shall be blessed therein and great good hap will betide me.' Quoth the king, and indeed he was in the last agony, 'Dear my son, cleave fast unto ten precepts which if thou observe, God shall profit thee herewith in this world and the next, and they are as follows. When thou art angered, curb thy wrath; when thou art afflicted, be patient; when thou speakest, be truthful; when thou promisest, perform; when thou judgest, do justice; when thou hast power, be merciful; deal generously by thy governors and lieutenants; forgive those that transgress against thee; be lavish of good offices to thine enemy and withhold thy mischief from him. Observe also other seven preceptor wherewith God shall profit thee among the people of thy realm, to wit, when thou dividest, be just; when thou punishest, oppress not; when thou makest an engagement, fulfil thine engagement; hearken to those that give thee loyal counsel; abstain from contention; enjoin thy subjects to the observance of the divine laws and of praiseworthy usages; do equal justice between the folk, so they may love thee, great and small, and the froward and corrupt of them may fear thee.'
Thn he addressed himself to the amirs and doctors, who were present when he appointed his son to be his successor, saying, 'Beware of transgressing the commandment of your king and neglecting to hearken to your chief, for in this lies ruin for your country and sundering for your union and hurt for your bodies and perdition for your goods, and your enemies would exult over you. Ye know the covenant ye made with me, and even thus shall be your covenant with this youth, and the pact that is between you and me shall be also between you and him; wherefore it behoveth you to give ear unto his commandment and obey him, for that in this is the well-being of your estates. So be ye constant with him unto that wherein ye were with me and your affair shall prosper and your case be good; for, behold, he hath the kingship over you and is the lord of your fortune, and so peace be on you!' Then the death-agony seized him and his tongue was bridled: so he pressed his son to his bosom and kissed him and gave thanks unto God; after which his hour came and his soul departed [his body].
All his subjects and the people of his court mourned over him and they shrouded him and buried him with pomp and honour and reverence; after which they returned with the prince and seating him on the throne of kingship, clad him in the royal robes and crowned him with his father's crown and put the seal-ring on his finger. He ordered himself towards them, a little while, after his father's fashion of mildness and justice and benevolence, till the world waylaid him and tempted him with its lusts, whereupon he seized on its pleasures and turned to its vain delights, forsaking the engagements which his father had commended to him and casting of his obedience to him, neglecting the affairs of his kingdom and walking in a road wherein was his own destruction. In particular, the love of women was stark in him and came to such a pass that, whenever he heard tell of a fair woman, he would send and make her to wife. After this wise, he collected women more in number than ever had Solomon, son of David, King of the children of Israel, and would shut himself up with a company of them for a month at a time, during which he went not forth neither enquired of his kingdom or its governance nor looked into the grievances of such of his subjects as complained to him; and if they wrote to him, he returned them no answer.
When they saw his neglect of their affairs and interests and those of the state, they were assured that ere long some calamity would betide them and this was grievous to them. So they foregathered privily and took counsel together, and one of them said to the rest, 'Let us go to Shimas, chief of the viziers, and set forth to him our case and acquaint him with the strait wherein we are by reason of this king, so he may admonish him; else, in a little, calamity will betide us, for the world hath intoxicated the king with its delights and beguiled him with its snares.' Accordingly, they repaired to Shimas and said to him, 'O wise and prudent man, the world hath dazed the king with its delights and taken him in its snares, so that he turneth unto vanity and worketh for the disordering of the state. Now with the disordering of the state the commons will be corrupted and our affairs will come to ruin. Months and days we see him not nor cometh there forth from him any commandment to us or to the vizier or whom else. We cannot refer aught to him and he looketh not to the administration of justice nor taketh thought to the case of any of his subjects, in his heedlessness of them. And behold we are come to acquaint thee with the truth of the affair, for that thou art the chiefest and most accomplished of us and it behoveth not that calamity befall a land wherein thou dwellest, seeing that thou art most able of any to amend this thing. Wherefore go thou and speak with him: belike he will hearken to thy word and return unto God.'
So Shimas arose forthright and repairing to the palace, foregathered with the first of the king's officers to whom he might win and said to him, 'Good my son, I beseech thee ask leave for me to go in to the king, for I have an affair, concerning which I would fain see his face and acquaint him therewith and hear what be shall answer me thereof.' 'O my lord,' answered the officer, 'by Allah, this month past hath he given none leave to come in to him, nor all this time have I looked upon his face; but I will direct thee to one who shall crave admission for thee. Do thou lay hold of such a black, who standeth at his head and bringeth him food from the kitchen. When he cometh forth, to go to the kitchen, ask him what seemeth good to thee; for he will do for thee that which thou desirest.' So the vizier repaired to the door of the kitchen and sat there a little while, till up came the black and would have entered the kitchen; but Shimas [caught hold of him] and said to him, 'O my son, I would fain see the king and speak with him of somewhat that nearly concerneth him; so prithee, of thy kindness, when he hath made an end of his morning-meal and his soul is refreshed, speak thou for me to him and get leave for me to come in to him, so I may bespeak him of that which shall please him.' 'I hear and obey,' answered the black and taking the food, carried it to the king, who ate thereof and his soul was refreshed.
Then said the black to him, 'Shimas standeth at the door and craveth admission, so he may acquaint thee with matters that particularly concern thee.' At this the king was alarmed and disquieted and commanded to admit the vizier. So the black went forth to Shimas and bade him enter; whereupon he went in and prostrating himself before God, kissed the king's hands and called down blessings upon him. Then said the king, 'O Shimas, what hath betided thee that thou seekest admission unto me?' And he answered, saying, 'This long while have I not looked upon the face of my lord the king and indeed I longed sore for thee. So, behold, I have seen thy countenance and come to thee with a word which I would fain say to thee, O king stablished in all prosperity.' Quoth the king, 'Say what seemeth good to thee;' and Shimas said, 'O king, verily God the Most High hath endowed thee, for all the tenderness of thy years, with knowledge and wisdom such as He never vouchsafed unto any of the kings before thee, and hath fulfilled the measure of His bounties to thee with the kingship; and He liveth not that thou depart from that wherewith He hath endowed thee unto other than it, by means of thy disobedience to Him; wherefore it behoveth thee not to wage war upon Him with thy treasures, but to be mindful of His injunctions and obedient unto His commandments. This I say because I have seen thee, this while past, forget thy father and his injunctions and forswear his covenant and neglect his admonition and renounce his justice and wise governance, remembering not God's bounty to thee neither requiting it with gratitude to Him.'
'How so?' asked the king. 'And what is the manner of this?' 'The manner of it,' replied Shimas, 'is that thou neglectest to attend to the affairs of the state and that which God hath committed unto thee of the interests of thy subjects and surrenderest thyself to thine own inclinations, in that which they make fair to thee of the paltry lusts of the world. Verily it is said that the welfare of the state and the faith and the people is of the things over which it behoveth the king to keep watch; wherefore it is my counsel, O king, that thou look well to the issue of thine affair, for thus wilt thou find the manifest road wherein is salvation, and give not thyself up to a trifling evanescent delight that leadeth to the abyss of destruction, lest there befall thee that which befell the fisherman.' 'What was that?' asked the king, and Shimas said, 'I have heard tell that...
[Go to The Foolish Fisherman]
Payne, John (1842-1916). The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. London. 1901. Gutenberg Vol. I. Gutenberg Vol. II. Gutenberg Vol. III. Gutenberg Vol. IV. Please consult the Gutenberg edition for footnotes; the footnotes have not been included in this web version. Wollamshram Vol. V. Wollamshram Vol. VI. Wollamshram Vol. VII. Wollamshram Vol. VIII. Wollamshram Vol. IX. Please consult the Wollamshram 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