OH love, thou art the curse of the world and the enemy of wisdom! Where thou art wisdom is no more; to him in whose brain thou dwellest evil is as good and good as evil.

One day Valeh was nigh his beloved's house; he mourned like a nightingale outside the garden, like a ringdove he called, “Where? where?”* ; his thirsty heart, afire with love, longed for the cool waters of meeting; and he recked not that the waters he longed for were but oil to the flame, that the flame burnt hotter the nearer he came to it.

In a fair room there stood a candle* , and the light flame flickered and danced. And many moths flew round it; and for fear of the light they kept far off. And only one, in drunkenness of heart, in fearless love, came near; and the light was his bane, and like an over-ripe fruit from the branch he fell at the candle's foot, all singed and scorched. And the others mocked at him, and said, “What have you gained by your foolishness? The candle recks not for your burning, she is not touched by your pain. Hence, and leave us; we love not the company of fools.” And the moth made answer: “Heed me not, and go your ways. Though the bright fire when it was near me scorched and branded, yet would I rather be burnt by the light of nearness than by the fire of separation. If fate wills that I be burnt, then let me be burnt by the light of my love. What do you know of burning, you chilly souls who have never known the fire, you whose hearts are as cold stones, and as a lamp that is gone out? Of the candle all you know is the light; you have not felt the fire; you are congealed like ice. I am aflame; the fire that burnt me utterly has not touched the hem of your garment; but as for me, the fire of the candle is as the wine of my soul; you have not tasted it; I blame you not who mock me.”*

Alas! I have strayed far from my story; love is a truant guide, and the thought of love filled my soul. Now let me tell you of Valeh and his foolishness. For as he wandered round Hadijeh's dwelling his eyes fell suddenly on her dog. If ever dog were worthy of the joys of Paradise, surely it was Hadijeh's dog! From head to foot his shape was perfection, in every hair there were a thousand graces; small was he, but his heart was great, and his teeth were the bane of wolves. His tail was raised aloft like the banner of the host of Faithfulness; in the army of Truth he was standard­bearer. And when Valeh saw him, he fell upon him, and raised him in his arms and carried him under his robe and thought that he had stolen a treasure. He bore it away like a thief, and none saw him take it. He carried the dog to his home, and made of him a medicine for his wounded heart. And he said, “How small is the glory of kings beside the majesty of Hadijeh's dog! The dog is dear to me as my heart, may my life be its ransom!” And he made for him a coat of satin and a collar of gold. Days and nights he kept aloof from men and in company with the dog. He pressed him to his heart, he kissed his nose and his paws, and he talked with him as to a friend. “Oh you,” he said, “who dwell with my love, your hair is scented with the scent of her locks. Oh messenger from my love, oh peace of my longing soul, oh balm of a heart sick with sorrow, your form is but the veil; be your name Friend of the Friendless* , oh confidant of my heart's love, oh treasure of my treasure; your hue is black, and in it dwells delight as the light that gleams under dark eyebrows; you have a white star on your brow, as the morning glitters on the forehead of night; your eyes are like the lanterns in the house of love; you are a king and your tail the standard, even as the banner of the hosts of Solomon; you are more terrible than an eagle or a lion, for you have snatched my heart away and made prey of my soul.”

Even so he spoke to the dog and eased his heart in speaking. And ever he attended on the dog—he was as the dog's dog. They dwelt in one room together; they ate together; if the dog had been hungry he would have torn his own heart out of his breast and thrown it to the dog. And sometimes he would say: “He that is a true lover, be he the slave of his beloved's house-dog, it is better to prostrate oneself before a dog than to raise the head high in pride. They who are Satan's slaves are viler than dogs, even as a jackal is viler; they reproach honest men, they curse him that worships a dog, but they forget that they themselves in their ignorance and drunkenness are worshipping a beast, they see the faults of others from afar, and they are blind to their own. But he that has his heart full of love, he has naught to fear from their tongues, he whose thoughts are love has no thought to spare for idle chatter.”*