Some Stories Describing the Conditions of Mute Animals, Parables whereof are put down by Wise and Witty Men, so that, by the Singularities and Strangeness (lit., rarity) thereof, they may be Acceptable to the Human Temperament, and the Doors of Intelligence, Wisdom and Benevolence may be opened upon it.

Have you not marked that an intelligent man, (lit., a critic), makes bitter medicines sweet by sugar, so that by that device he may remove long-standing suffering and pain from the body of the patient?

I. A fox boasted of the company of a wolf and courted his friendship. They passed by a garden, the gate whereof was fastened and the wall was quite thorny. They walked round it till they came to a hole, wide enough for the fox (to creep in), but too narrow for the wolf. The fox passed in easily, but the wolf, with enormous difficulty. (There) they saw grapes and varie­ties of fruits. The fox being shrewd looked out attentively for a passage to get out (in case of trouble), while the silly wolf ate as much as he could. Suddenly, the gardener becoming aware (of this), took up a rod and turned towards them. The slender-waisted fox immediately got out of the hole, but the big-bellied wolf stuck fast there; and the gardener, coming up to him, raised his rod and beat him so much that, when he effected his escape from that narrow passage, he was as much dead as alive, the skin all torn and the hair all plucked out.

O rich man, do not be bold on account of your gold, be­cause, in the end, you will pass away helpless! Your abundant wealth and comfort have fattened you: think as to how you will depart.

II. A scorpion, with harmful poison in his sting like an arrow in a quiver, resolved to go on a journey. Suddenly he reached the bank of a river. Here he remained para­lyzed, having no power to advance, no sense to retreat. A tortoise, having noted this his condition, took pity upon him, mounted him on his own back, plunged himself into the water, and began to swim to the opposite bank. In the mean­time some sound fell on his ears, as if the scorpion was striking something on his back. On inquiring as to what that sound was, he was thus told: This is the sound of my own sting on your back. However much I know that it will produce no effect thereon, I cannot forsake my habit, as is said:

The scorpion stings not out of any rancour: such is the impulse, (lit., requirement), of his nature.

The tortoise said to himself: Nothing is better than this that I should liberate this ill-natured creature from this ugly habit, and preserve good-natured persons from his harm. Then he dived into the water, and the scorpion was carried away by the waves, (and disappeared) as if he had never existed.

For every oppressor, who, in this pavilion of evil and sedi­tion, takes pride in performing a hundred tricks, nothing is bet­ter than this, that he should be drowned into the wave of anni­hilation, (so that) he may be liberated from his (own) evil nature and the people may be rescued from him.

III. A mouse lived for some years in the shop of a rich grocer, and ate his dry sweetmeats and fresh fruits. The grocer used to see this but connived at it; and refrained from retali­ating upon him, till one day, according to what they have said:

When the stomach of a vile low person is satiated, he is emboldened to do a thousand (wanton) acts of mischief and sedi­tion,

his avarice impelled him to gnaw the gentleman's purse, and he carried into his hole whatever there was of red and white (coins) therein. When the gentleman put his hand into the bag at the time of need, he found it empty like the bag of beggars, or like the stomach of hungry persons. He discovered that it was the work of the mouse. He lay in ambush like the cat, and catching him, tied a long string to one of his legs and left him alone, so that he entered his hole, the depth whereof was ascertained in proportion to the string (that went into the hole). He followed the mouse in order to dig up the hole, which he did. When he reached the actual dwelling-place of the mouse, he found it like a banker's shop, gold and silver heaped together and dinàrs and derums all jumbled up. He brought out his own money and took possession of it, while the mouse was brought out and left into the claws of a cat, where he met that reward and received that retribution for ingratitude, which he did meet and obtain.

If the avaricious of the world are excited and seditious, happy is the heart of the contented, which is free from all sort of mischief and sedition. There is good fortune and happiness in glorious contentment: there is no joy in greediness, though there is headache therein.

IV. A fox was standing at the end of a road and casting watchful glances on the right and left. Suddenly he perceived a black mass at a distance, and, when he approached it, he found that a rapacious wolf and a big dog were travelling to­gether, seemingly like sincere friends and agreeable companions. Neither the former suspected any treachery from the latter, nor did the latter apprehend any harm from the former. The fox ran nearer, saluted them, and, having fulfilled the dues of veneration, said: God be praised that long-standing hos­tility has been changed into fresh love, and old enmity has been exchanged for new amity. But I wish to ascertain the reason of this your tranquillity, and should like to know what the cause of this confidence is. The dog replied: Our confidence arises from enmity with the shepherd. The enmity of the wolf with the shepherd needs no description, (lit., is independent of any neces­sity for description), and the reason of my enmity with him is this, that yesterday this wolf, the good fortune of whose friend­ship I have got to-day, attacked our flock and carried away one sheep. As was my habit, I ran after him in order to snatch back that sheep from him, and reached him. When I came back, the shepherd raised forth his stick and punished me with­out reason. I likewise broke the chain of friendship from him-and joined my ancient foe.

Be friendly with your foe in such a way that he may never scratch your skin with the sword of enmity. Do not enter into such hostility with your friend, that he may become friendly with your foe against your will.

V. One asked a fox: Can you, by accepting a hundred derums, carry a message to the dogs of the village? He repli­ed: By God! Although the reward is ample, there is danger to life in this undertaking.

To expect a gift of liberality from a vile fellow is to launch the ship of life into the waves of the deep sea of disappoint­ment. To humiliate oneself before the foe for the sake of dig­nity and riches is to throw oneself into the whirlpool of danger to life. [Note. The river Nile, on account of the fertility that it causes in Egypt, is sometimes used synonymously with libera­lity .]

VI. A camel was browsing in a desert and feeding upon its thorns and thistles. He came to a bramble, entangled like the ringlets of the beloved, and blooming and sweet like the face of the beautiful. As he stretched forth the neck of greediness in order to partake of it, he saw that a viper had coiled therein and had brought its head and tail together. He retreated therefore and abandoned his desire, whereupon the bramble thought that this abstinence from itself had resulted from (the fear of) the wound that might be caused by its sharp point, and the recoiling from itself was on account of its sharp teeth. The camel comprehen­ded this and observed: My apprehension arose from this guest (viper) which is concealed, and not from this known host, and what I dread is the sting of the serpent's mouth and not the wound of this abode of thorn. But for this guest's presence, I should have (by this time) devoured the host in one morsel.

If a noble man dreads a vile fellow, there is nothing strange in it, for what he dreads is not his hair and bone, (i. e., his externals), but his evil nature. He, who lays not his foot in the midst of ashes, is surely afraid of the hidden fire therein.

VII. A hungry dog, (lit., one disappointed of any share in food), reached the gates of a city and was standing there, when he saw that a round loaf of bread came rolling out of the city and turned towards the desert. The dog ran after it and shout­ed: O food for my body and my strength of life! And O you desire of my heart and comforter of my soul! Where do you intend to go, and what place a?? you turning to? The loaf re­plied: I have acquaintance with a company of the chieftains of wolves and tigers, and I intend to visit them, (lit., have put on the garments of pilgrimage), whereupon the dog observed: Do not frighten me; I shall pursue you even if you go into the (very) jaws of the crocodile, or the mouth of a lion or tiger, and I am not going to leave you (under any circumstance).

I am that one, who will never abandon your love during his whole life: even if you go round the whole world, I shall ever be restless in your search and pursuit.

Those, whose soul is not alive by anything except bread, serve vile fellows for the sake of bread. Even if, for example, they receive a hundred slaps at the hands of low persons, still they will go after them for bread like a hungry dog.

VIII. They asked a crab: Why are you so deformed a creature, and why do you walk in so crooked a gait? He re­plied: I have gained experience from the (fate of the) serpent, who, on account of his straightness (of stature) and walking straight, has his head always knocked by the stone of oppres­sion, or has his tail cut with the strokes of tyranny.

Wherever a fairy shows herself in her own form, they hug her close like life: (but) wherever she appears in a straight form like a serpent, hard-hearted people strike her from a dis­tance with sticks and stones. [Note. It is a superstition that beautiful serpents are only fairies in disguise.]

IX. A frog was separated from his spouse, and the afflic­tion of widowerhood dragged him near the shore of the sea. He was looking on all sides, when suddenly,

he saw a fish in the midst of the water, as quick-going as the running stream. Her scissors-like fins, in that silvery mass (of water), cut into two the plain silk of the watery surface. She was inclined to skip from right to left, or appeared like the bright crescent now waning, now waxing.

When the frog saw her, his heart drew him towards her love. He related to her the story of his widower­hood, and asked her to be his associate. Upon this, the fish replied: Congeniality is requisite for association, and an incongenial companion is unfit for company. What congeniality can exist between you and me, and what company (can I enjoy) with one like you? My place is in the depth of the sea, while you reside on the bank sides: my mouth is dumb, while your tongue is full of chatter: you have an ugly face, which shields you from calamity, whoever looks at you does not wish to sit with you, while I have beauty of face, which is a source of fear and danger: whoever illumines his vision by (look­ing at) my beauty, provokes the eye of his ambition for my union: the birds of the sky are desirous of me, and the beasts of the desert are plunged into excessive love for me: fishermen are in my search with a thousand eyes like a net, and sometimes they bend down like a bow under the weight of desire for me. Saying this she took her way into the depth of the ocean, leav­ing the frog alone on the shore.

Associate with such a one, who is congenial to you, (lit., one with you in essence); congeniality, (lit., unity of essence), is the bond which unites companions. If an intelligent person reasons upon the way in which one kind (genus) is associated with ano­ther, he will find that one will be like the union of water and oil, (i. e., a very repugnant combination), while another will be like milk and sugar, (i. e., a very harmonious one).

X. They asked a dove: How is it that you bring forth not more than two young ones, and are not able to produce more like a tame fowl? The dove replied: The young one of the dove is fed from the stomach of its parents, whereas the chicken of a tame fowl feeds from a dunghill (lying) on every road. One stomach of the dove cannot feed more than two young ones, though, from half a dunghill, the door of mainte­nance of a thousand chickens may be opened in a day.

If you wish to live upon a legitimate morsel, produce not a numerous family, since you know that in this narrow house, (i.e., the world), much of the lawful cannot be attained, (i. e., much connot be generally obtained except by unlawful means).

XI. A sparrow vacated her ancestral abode, and took up residence in the cleft of a mill-hopper's nest. They asked her: With what propriety have you, with such a despicable body, be­come the neighbour of such a big bird, and rendered yourself his equal regarding the place of abode and the position of locality? She replied: I too know all this, but I cannot act up to my knowledge. In the neighbourhood of my (old) abode there is a snake, who, whenever I beget young ones every year and bring them up with the blood of my heart, all on a sudden invades my house, and makes my young ones his food. This year I have fled away from him, and sheltered myself under the skirt of the good fortune of this great one. I hope that he may take vengeance on him for wrongs done to me. And just as every year he has made my young ones his food, in a similar manner, may this mill-hopper this year make him and his young ones his own food.

When the fox is in the desert of (i. e., inhabited by) the lion, he is safe from the hurt and claws of the wolf. That person is safe from the inequity of petty persons, who takes up his abode in the neighbourhood of the great.

XII. They asked a dog: How is it that a mendicant cannot pass round any house where you are? He repli­ed: I am without any avarice and greediness and known for my want of avarice and for contentment. I am content with crumbs of bread falling from the table and happy with dry bones of roasted meat. But the mendicant is the very stock of avarice and greediness: he pretends hunger and never acknow­ledges satiety. Though there is (full) one week's bread in his leather-bag, yet his tongue is ever moving in quest of Sun­day's bread: ten day's food hangs on his back and (yet) the mendicant's staff is (ever) held in his fist. Contentment is a stranger to avarice and greediness, and a contented person has disgust towards the greedy and avaricious.

Whatever of greed and avarice there may be, their hands are fettered in every heart, where the nobility of contentment puts its foot. Wherever contentment exhibits its wares, the market of greed and the show-place of covetousness become dull.

XIII. The young one of a fox said to its mother: Teach me a trick as to how to effect my escape, when I grow helpless owing to the close pursuit of the dog. She replied: (For this) there are many stratagems, but the best of them is to confine yourself in your house, so that he may neither see you, nor may you see him.

When a vile fellow becomes your enemy, it is not wise to invent tricks and contrivances in hostilities against him. Though a thousand stratagems may be available, yet the best of all is to avoid peace as well as war with him.

VIX. A red wasp attacked a honey-bee in order to make her his food. She began to weep and said: In the presence of all this pure honey and sweet beverage, what worth have I that you should leave those and be inclined to me. The wasp replied: If that is honey, you are the mine thereof: if that is sweet beverage, you are the fountain thereof.

Happy is that man of reality, who turns away from messa­ges and compliments (mere formalities), and goes direct towards the (very) fountain of union. When the main trunk becomes mani­fest from behind the veil of branches, he leaves the branches and turns towards the main trunk. [Note. Happy is the man, who turns towards the very Essence of Divinity, and not towards the outward manifestations thereof.]

XV. They saw an ant, who had girt up the loins of bravery, and was carrying a locust ten times her own weight. Out of surprise they said: Look at this ant! How she drags such a heavy weight in spite of her debility! When the ant heard these words, she laughed and said: Men have dragged loads by the strength of their spirit and the arms of their self-repose, not by physical strength and enormity of bodily vigour.

That weight, at which the heaven and the earth shy, cannot be carried without much difficulty, if lifted with the aid of the body and soul (only). Strengthen your spirit by means of the help of the travellers of Love, because this weight (of Love) can be carried (only) by the strength of a lofty spirit. [Note. This refers to the theory of amànat.]

XVI. A camel was browsing in a forest, dragging his bridle along with his feet, when a mouse came up to him, and seeing him without a master, he was led by his greed to take hold of that bridle, with which he turned towards his hole. The camel also followed him, (lit., acted in concord), inasmuch as he has been, by nature, designed for obedience, and as there is an inherent absence of (any spirit of) resistance and contumacy in his temperament. When he reached the house of the mouse, he saw a hole extremely narrow, upon which he exclaimed: O you cherisher of impossibilities, what is this that you have done? Your hole is so small and my body so big: and neither can your house be bigger than this, nor can my body be smaller. How can we associate with each other, and how can company with each other be possible?

How will you travel over the narrow path of death in such a condition, as I see you followed by camel-loads of baggages of greediness and avarice? Diminish your luggage, for there is no room for such loads of luggages in the narrow lane of death.

XVII * * * * *

When a mean person, possessed of a thousand shameful defects patent to the world day and night, sees (even) a small blemish in a great person, he breathes nothing but taunts and execrations. The former turns his whole body into a tongue to describe the defects of the latter, while the latter never pollutes his tongue by making a mention of the former.

XVIII. A bullock was the chief of his herd, and celebra­ted among the bullocks for the strength of his horns. When­ever a wolf assaulted them, he used to avert the calamity from them by means of the gores of his horns. Suddenly the hand of accident overpowered him and a misfortune overtook his horns. Ever since that time, whenever he saw a wolf, he crept under the protection of the other bullocks. When he was questioned as to the reason thereof, he replied:

Ever since that day, when I was deprived of my horns, the battle-field of bravery has become dull on me. It is an ancient proverb that, on the day of battle, the stroke is from the dagger, and strength of arm from man.

XIX. A camel and a donkey were travelling together. They reached the banks of a large river, and the camel stepped in first. When he reached the middle of the river, the water came up (only) to his belly, upon which he called the donkey and told him that the water was only as high as his belly. (Upon this) the latter observed: You speak the truth, but there is a difference between one belly and another. The water, which only reaches your belly, will overflow my back!

O brother! Nobody knows you better than your own self: do not regard yourself higher than what you are, even by one hair-breadth. If a foolish person puts you in a higher position than what your real worth deserves, you know your own worth, and do not overstep your limit.

XX. A peacock and a crow reached together the court­yard of a garden, and discovered the merits and demerits of each other. The peacock thus addressed the crow: These red boots, that are on your feet, are fit for my gold-embroidered silk and variegated brocade! Verily, at the time when we (pea-cocks) came into being, from the dark night of non-existence into the bright day-light, we committed a mistake in putting on our boots. (By mistake) we put on your (crows') black boots of untanned lea­ther, and you put on our red boots of perfumed goat's lea­ther. The crow observed: The case is quite the contrary. If there is any mistake, it is in our respective dresses, (and notboots. None of your clothes are in harmony with your boots, and most probably, in that drowsiness (when we (crows) just awoke from the sleep of non-existence), you put forth your head out of our collar and we out of yours. In their vicinity, a tortoise, who had thrust his head into the collar of contemplation and was listening to that conversation and altercation, now raised his head (and said): O intimate friends and discriminate companions! Leave aside this futile altercation, and put an end to this frivolous conversation. God the Highest has not placed into the hands of any one man the rein of all desires. There is no individual not endowed with a peculiarity with which others are not endwed, nor is there an individual not possessed of some intrinsic worth, which others do not possess, and every person ought to be happy with what God has given him, and glad with what he has got.

It is not the character of the wise to bear envy towards the condition of others. Take care! Do not deviate from the mode of the wise. Covetousness by man is, like envy, a source of misery; cut off this greed from your nature, so that you may not be miserable.

XXI. A fox was entrapped into the claws of a hyena, who tightened the teeth of greediness upon him. The fox raised a complaint and said: O you lion of the plain of power, and O you tiger of the topmost exaltation! Pardon me on account of my weakness and infirmity. I am only a handful of hair and bone. Open these very intricate fetters from my world-travelling foot. What will you gain by eating me, and what will come out of harassing me? However many words of this kind he spoke, they had no effect, whereupon he conti­nued: * * * * * When the hyena heard this abusive speech, the fire of jealousy began to burn in him, and opening his mouth he said: What absurd words are these? How and where did this event happen? No sooner did he open his mouth than the fox ran away.

When you do not obtain salvation from the fight with your enemy by means of sweet words, it is better to open the tongue of unpleasant words. When the lock of a house cannot be opened with gentleness, it will be better to be in­clined to (hit it with) a stone in order to break it open.

XXII. A fox caught a cock in his early morning nap He raised a complaint and cried: I am the intimate of the wakeful, and the crier of those who are awake at night, (i. e., of pious persons, who pray at night). Cease from killing me, and do not shed my blood with the sword of inequity.

Why do you quarrel with me without any reason, thus desiring to shed my innocent blood?

The fox said: I am not so (strongly) resolved to slay you, as not to refrain therefrom by any means. I resign my choice in this matter and leave you the election in the circumstance. If you wish, I may slay you with (only) one blow of my claws, and, if you wish, I may devour you morsel by morsel.

If a wicked person overtakes you by his sedition and tumult, do not avert these except by means of a wise stratagem. Do not tread the path of salvation by means of supplication, because, if you thereby escape from evil, worse will come forth.

It so occurred in the (author's) heart and so passed in his mind, that this book should not terminate so briefly, and that the pen should not (so soon) rest from moving in order to evolve its aims, (i.e., accomplishing the object); but as the mirror of the author's genius was obscured by the rust of ennui, and was not furbished with the polish of truth of the hearer's inclination, on this consideration, the work is cut short (here).

Spread out, O Jàmi, the carpet of discourse, because a bet­ter carpet than this there is none! But sit quiet and do not brea­the, if the mind derives no delight therefrom. Even the pleasure of your mind is not sufficient, (i. e., is not a suffici­ent reason to proceed), if there is no (reciprocal) delight created in the hearer.

And whatever of the species of poetry is recorded, and whatever is attributed to the poet, is the offspring of the genius of the writer of this book, and the result of the contemplation of the narrator of this discourse.

Wherever Jàmi adorned any belles lettres, (i. e., made any contribution to polite literature), he did not plagiarise anything from any man's composition. It behoves not the man, who has his shop full of the wares of his own manufacture, (lit., art), to be the factor of the wares of other persons.

It is hoped from the excellence of the readers' morals that when they become aware of any defect, they should cover it with the skirt of pardon and connivance, and not endeavour to expose it with the tongue, that speaks of the faults and defects of others.

If you detect any fault in your friend, it is better if you do not reveal it to strangers; because, according to the princi­ple of the far-seeing, fault-concealing is better than fault­finding.

Qatà on the date of the book and on the cutting of the rope and packing up of the materials (of this discourse):

The trotting and ambling of the pen (used) for this rare production, on which Jàmi has tried his genius, terminated when the Hijri date would be nine hundred, if eight were added thereto, (i.e., 892 A. H.).