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Ch 06 On Weakness And Old Age Story 02

Sa di 1210 (Shiraz) – 1291 (Shiraz)

It is related that an old man, having married a girl, was sitting with her privately in an apartment adorned with roses, fixing his eyes and heart upon her. He did not sleep during long nights but spent them in telling her jokes and witty stories, hoping to gain her affection and to conquer her shyness. One night, however, he informed her that luck had been friendly to her and the eye of fortune awake because she had become the companion of an old man who is ripe, educated, experienced in the world, of a quiet disposition, who had felt cold and warm, had tried good and bad, who knows the diities of companionship, is ready to fulfil the conditions of love, is benevolent, kind, good-natured and sweet-tongued.

  As far as I am able I shall hold thy heart
  And if injured I shall not injure in return.
  Though sugar may be thy food as of a parrot
  I shall sacrifice sweet life to thy support.

Thou hast not fallen into the hands of a giddy youth, fun of whims, headstrong, fickle minded, running about every moment in search of another pleasure and entertaining another opinion, sleeping every night in another place and taking every day another friend.

  Young men are joyous and of handsome countenance
  But inconstant in fidelity to anyone.
  Expect not faithfulness from nightingales
  Who sing every moment to another rose.

Contrary to aged men who spend their lives according to wisdom and propriety; not according to the impulses of folly and youth.

  Find one better than thyself and consider it fortunate
  Because with one like thyself thou wilt be disappointed.

The old man said: ‘I continued in this strain, thinking that I had captivated her heart and that it had become my prey.’ She drew, however, a deep sigh from her grief-filled heart and said: ‘All the words thou hast uttered, weighed in the scales of my understanding, are not equivalent to the maxim I once heard enounced in my tribe: An arrow in the side of a young woman is better than an old man.’

  When she perceived in the hands of her husband
  Something pendant like the nether lip of a fasting man,
  She said: ‘This fellow has a corpse with him
  But incantations are for sleepers not for corpses.’
  A woman who arises without satisfaction from a man
  Will raise many a quarrel and contention.
  An old man who is unable to rise from his place,
  Except by the aid of a stick, how can his own stick rise?

In short, there being no possibility of harmony, a separation at last took place. When the time of the lady’s uddat had terminated, she was given in marriage to a young man who was violent, ill-humoured and empty-handed. She suffered much from his bad temper and tyrannical behaviour, and experienced the miseries of penury. She nevertheless said: ‘Praise be to Allah for having been delivered from that wretched torment, and attained this permanent blessing.’

  Despite of all this violence and hasty nature
  I shall try to please thee because thou art beauteous.
  To be with thee in hell burning is for me
  Better than to be with the other in paradise.
  The smell of an onion from the mouth of a pretty face
  Is indeed better than a rose from an ugly hand.
  A nice face and a gown of gold brocade,
  Essence of roses, fragrant aloes, paint, perfume and lust:
  All these are ornaments of women.
  Take a man; and his testicles are a sufficient ornament.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:59 min read

Sa di

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

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