King Dábishlím said, “I have heard tell that once on a time two hawks, swift of wing, consorted together, and their nest was on the crest of a mountain, such that the celestial eagle could not, by the power of its wing, approach it, and the constellation Aquila, in spite of soaring so high, could not reach its vicinity.

No mountain that—which on earth’s surface lies—
A heaven you’d call it, placed above the skies.

And they passed their time happily in that nest, and lived delighted and content in beholding each other.

O nightingale! that with the rose dost sit,
Thy state is blissful, therefore value it.

After a time, God Most High vouchsafed them a young one. By reason of the innate affection* which they felt at the sight of their son, both of them went in search of food, and brought viands of every description for their hearts’ treasure, and in a short time his strength began to increase. One day, having left him alone—each had gone somewhither, and a delay took place in their return,—the young hawk felt the cravings of hunger. He began to search [for food], and turning himself on every side, came to the edge of the nest. Suddenly he fell thence, prone towards the bottom of the mountain. It chanced that in that spot a kite had issued from its nest in quest of food, which it sought for its young, and as it sate, expectant, on the side of the mountain, its sight fell on that young hawk, which was descending from the top of the mountain to the bottom; it entered its imagination that it was a mouse which had escaped from the talons of a kite.

Still,* in the jar—one thought—I view thy face.

Without reflection, it made haste, and before it could touch the ground, seized it in mid-air, and carried it to its own nest, and on carefully examining it, by the character of its claws and beak, perceived that it belonged to the kind of hunting-birds, and through homogeneousness, pity sprang up in its heart, and it thought to itself: ‘The mercy of God is visible in this matter, and has made me the instrument of its preservation; and had I not been present in that spot, and this young bird had fallen from the top of the mountain on the ground, undoubtedly all its limbs and members had been parted from one another, and its bones would have been pulverised by dashing against the stone of misfortune, and would have been scattered like dust on the wind of annihilation; and since the divine decree has so required that I should be the means of its preservation, it is most right that it should participate in education with my sons, nay, that I should bring it up as a son, and that it should be ranged in the series of my other children.’ Then the kite, through pity, undertook the rearing of the young hawk, and treated it in the very same way as that in which it behaved towards its own young, until it grew up; and the original instincts which were innate in it, according to the saying ‘Mankind are mines like mines of gold and silver,’ began to develope and reveal themselves. Although it imagined that it was one of the sons of that kite, yet it saw that its aspect and courage, and the terror it inspired, was different from theirs. Often it wondered, saying, ‘If I do not belong to them, why am I in this nest? and if I am of this family, why am I opposed to them in form and qualities?

I think not I to this same band belong
Nor count myself excluded from the throng,
Included and excluded thus ’tis best,
To live contented and neglect the rest.’

One day the kite said to the hawk, ‘O son, dear to my heart! I see that thou art very sad, and the cause of thy dejection is hid from me. If thou hast any wish in thy heart, disclose it to me that I may occupy myself in obtaining it; and if any desire passes through thy mind, make it known unhesitatingly, that to the extent of my power I may exert myself in accomplishing it.’ The hawk replied, ‘I, too, find in myself a feeling of dejection, and I do not know the cause of it, and if I know it I cannot tell it.

Behold this wondrous flower, which has blossomed here for me.
Its hue cannot be tokened, nor its odour hidden be.

I now see it to be advisable that thou shouldest favour me with the honor of leave, that I may journey in various parts of the world for two or three days. Perchance, by the fortunate influence of movement, the dust of grief may be effaced from the page of my heart, and when my mind is occupied with the wonders and marvels of great cities and districts, it is possible that the form of cheerfulness may be manifested in the mirror of my mind.’ When the kite heard the mention of parting, anguish arose in his heart,* and he said,

‘Thou speak’st of bitter parting—sad thy tone,
Do what thou wilt—leave that at least undone.’

Then complaining, he added, ‘O son! what plan is this thou hast formed? and what thought is this thou hast entertained? speak not of travel, for it is a man-devouring sea, and a dragon which carries off human beings.

Travel’s the present hell of human kind,
Hence travel—travail* like in form we find.

The cause, in general, why men make choice of traveling, is to procure the means of subsistence, or because they find it difficult to remain in their own country; and neither of these two things has happened to thee. Thanks be to God that our abode is a corner free from care, and that there is food procurable, sufficient for us to live upon, and thou hast exaltation above my other sons, and all those older* than thee bow before thee. Notwithstanding all this, to choose to travel and abandon the pleasure of a settled abode, appears to be far from the path of good sense; and long ago they have said,

’Tis ever wisdom to let well alone.’*

The hawk said, ‘What thou hast been pleased to say, is kindly and tenderly spoken; but whenever I meditate with myself, this corner and this food appear unworthy of my condition, and things pass through my mind which I am unable to express.’ The kite perceiving that the saying ‘Everything turns back to its original nature,’ was here made evident, stepped beyond the limits of this argument, and said, ‘That which I say is on the ground of contentment, and what thou sayest proceeds from greediness, and the greedy person is always disappointed; and as long as one is not contented, he finds no repose, and as thou art not thankful for the blessings of contentment, and knowest not the value of freedom from ease, I fear that that will befall thee which befell that greedy cat.’ The hawk asked ‘How was that?’