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Ch 01 Manner of Kings Story 17

Sa di 1210 (Shiraz) – 1291 (Shiraz)

Several men were in my company whose external appearance displayed the adornment of piety. A great man who had conceived a very good opinion of these persons had assigned them a fixed allowance but, after one of them had done something unbecoming the profession of dervishes, his opinion changed and they fell into disgrace. I desired in some way to save the allowance of my friends and intended to wait upon the great man but the doorkeeper would not allow me to enter and was rude. I pardoned him, because it has been said:

  The door of an amir, vezier or sultan
  Is not to be approached without an introduction.
  When a dog or a doorkeeper sees a stranger
  The former takes hold of his skirt, the latter of his collar.

When those who could at any time approach the presence of the said great man became aware of my case, they took me in with compliments and desired to assign me a high seat but I humbly took a lower one and said:

  "Allow me who am the smallest slave
  To sit in the line of slaves."

He said: "Allah, Allah, what need is there for such words?"

  If thou sittest on my head and eyes
  I shall be polite, for thou art polite.

In short, I took a seat and we conversed on a variety of topics till the affair of the error of my companions turned up and I said:

  "What crime has my lord seen, who was bountiful,
  To make the slave despicable in his sight?
  To God that magnanimity and bounty is surrendered
  Which beholds the crime but nevertheless bestows the bread."

The governor, being pleased with these words, ordered the support of my friends to be attended to as before and the arrears to be made good. I expressed my gratitude, kissed the ground of obedience, apologized for my boldness, and said:

  "Since the Ka’bah has become the Qiblah of wants from distant lands
  The people go to visit it from many farsangs.
  Thou must suffer the importunity of such as we are
  Because no one throws stones on a tree without fruit."

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Sa di

Saadi Shirazi was a major Persian poet and prose write of the medieval period. more…

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