One day Sultan Mahmud offered his crown to his favourite slave, Ayaz. All the courtiers were con­sumed with jealousy. Poor Ayaz began to weep. When he was asked the reason for such grief in the midst of such good fortune, he said, “I have nothing to do with anything but the King. I want him alone, whereas by giving me the crown, he wants to keep me engaged in the affairs of the State and withdraws himself from me. This makes my heart bleed with the thought of separation.”

“If you want to know how to adore the Lord”, observed the Hoopoe, “learn it from Ayaz.”*

“What shall we proffer at the feet of the Simurg?” was the question of another bird.

“Take that which is not there,” was the reply. “There is enough of wisdom there, and enough of mysteries and Divine Knowledge. There is also no lack of devotion shown by the angels to the Lord. There is, however, no trace in that place of the yearning of the heart and the burning of the soul. Therefore, take these two things there.*

“Oh wise guide of ours,” cried a bird, “in this wilderness our eyes have grown dim owing to the hardships of the journey. Pray tell us, how many miles still remain to be traversed?”

“We have to cross seven valleys covered with forests,” replied the Hoopoe. “After the seventh valley will be discovered the seat of the Simurg. No one can say how many miles it is from this place, because no one who has gone there has ever returned. All those who have entered this road have gone astray for ever. How can you, then, expect any one to give you any information of the path?”

These are the seven valleys:

The first is the valley of the Quest.

The second of Love.

The third of Knowledge.

The fourth of Independence and Detachment.

The fifth of Unity.

The sixth of Bewilderment and Stupefaction.

The seventh of Poverty and Annihilation.