The lynx represented, ‘They have related that in the capital of China there was a king, who, in observing the canons of justice, had, like Jamshíd, made the world-displaying goblet of reason the mirror of his life; and, like Alexander, sought for the living waters of equity in his attention to the rules of government.

From his impartial sway, injustice fled
A hundred leagues, to regions of the dead.

He had a son of fair countenance and sweet disposition, who captured the hearts of mankind with the lasso of suavity, and, with the grain of beneficence and courtesy, brought into the snare of his attachment the birds of the souls of high and low.

Never did Mother World one of such stainless temper bear,
Nor ever did Time’s eye with him one so unmatched compare.

This son formed a desire of seeing the Holy Sanctuary, which is another term for that in the well-known passage, ‘Verily the first house appointed unto men to worship in [was that which is in Becca];’* and from the corner of his heart was manifested a strong inclination to circumambulate that most excellent place, round which religious processions move, by which is meant the abode of peace, according to the saying, ‘Whoever entereth therein shall be safe.* Having accepted with the words ‘Here I am!’ the invitation of the summoner,* [who says] ‘And proclaim unto the people,’* he formed a fixed determination of entering on a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the K’abah.

The hope to circumambulate the temple of thy street,
Consigns a train of pilgrims to the wilderness of care.
Exclaiming, ‘Here am I!’ we climb, and mount with willing feet
Upon thy sacred quarters, ’Arafát;* and clustering there
A hundred caravans of souls await
The summons, ‘Enter ye the holy gate!’

After he had obtained leave to depart from his father, he set off by way of the sea, and embarked with a number of retainers in ships such that the expanse of heaven appeared insignificant in comparison with each vessel, and the page of the sky shewed like a diminutive scrap in juxta-position with a single sail of each barque. They put in motion the footless, water-traversing coursers, and taking up their abode in that wooden house in which the roof was below and the pillar above,* they committed the reins of disposal to the rapid wind.

Moon-like, they in the waters* hold their dwelling,
Towards the shore their swift-sailed barques impelling.

Having traversed a distance, in a short time they arrived at the revered Makkah, and having performed the proper ceremonies and rites of the pilgrimage, they bent their steps to kiss the threshold of the sacred Mausoleum of His Highness the Sulṭán of the throne of prophecy, and the Kháḳán of the court of honor and majesty.

That hot-reined, soaring cavalier, he for whose use were given
As leather for his stirrups twain, the expanses nine of heaven.

(May God pour His blessings on Muḥammad the chosen, and on his family the pure ones, and on his companions the excellent!); and were made felicitous by kissing the sublime court of the Prophet.

To kiss thy portals’ sacred dust, the wish of every saint is this,—
And harder than all hardest things, to lose* this long-hoped, much-sought bliss.

And thence they came with a caravan of Khurásán towards Baghdád. The king of that place, hearing an account of the prince, came out to meet him, and observed towards him the respectful and honorific ceremonies which were fitting and requisite, and having prepared for him proper entertainment and allowances, and a suitable place to alight in, he besought him to tarry there certain days. When they had recovered themselves from the fatigue of the journey, and had resolved on returning to their own country, the prince made many apologies to the Sulṭán for the trouble he had given; and having replied to his attentions with the gifts of thankfulness and gratitude, sent to his seraglio, by way of present and good-will offering, a Chinese damsel; and he himself having packed up his traveling effects set out for Khurásán. The Sulṭán, after the ceremony of accompanying his guest some way on the march, and the discharge of the customs of valediction; returned to his seraglio, and sent for the damsel. He beheld a form of such beauty that the Limner of Creative Power had never drawn the like on the tablet of existence, nor had the eye of the painter of imagination ever beheld in the volume of fancy so graceful a shape. Her enchanting locks enchained a world with the lasso of mischief, and the world-illuminating moon, from its high station, had painted a diadem on the ground before her face. With one arch movement of her eyebrow, she placed the claims of other pretenders to beauty on the shelf of oblivion, and with a single coquettish glance of her half-intoxicated eye, she gave to the wind of inebriation the piety of anchorets.

A lamp to lovers, where to couch her cheek;
Her lip, the zest and wine that topers seek.
Her form, the lofty fortune of the just:
Her curls, the shrine that vigil-keepers trust.
Sweeter than sugar, baleful* envy owns
Her words. Her lips shame rubies into stones.’*

At the graceful movements of that free cypress, the foot of the heart of the king of Baghdád sank in the clay; and by tasting her wine-colored lip, he became intoxicated and bereft of sense without the intervention of wine.

‘Chained to her slender-waisted* form,’ her captive said, ‘I languish,
Ah! to my sorrow-wasted* heart what suffering this, and anguish!’

However much the Sulṭán, who had lost his heart, exerted himself [to escape this thraldom] it was all in vain; and though commanding reason poured the water of admonition on the fire of love, its flame did but blaze forth the more.

Words will not stanch these flowing tears, nor stay the torrent of these eyes,
And chiding but augments the more the torture of love’s agonies.

Giving himself up to the society of the damsel, the Sulṭán, all at once abandoned the thought of his people’s sufferings, and attention to the affairs of the State. And whenever a king engages in dissipation, and ceases to inquire into the condition of the oppressed; and, fixing his ears on the soft sounds of the lute and lyre, listens not to the wailing of each afflicted heart, troubles in a short time arise, and sedition and disorder, growing rampant, the issue of affairs is disastrous to mankind.

When monarchs time in revelry employ,
Then sets the star of their ambitionings.
Libra* the constellation is of joy,*
And there the planets wane and sink for kings.

Some days passed in this manner, and the Pillars of the State and ministers of the king, distressed at their monarch’s indifference, beheld the condition of the city and of the country involved in disorder. A number of them, unfolding the hand of prayer, turned their faces to [ask help of] hermits and saintly men; and soliciting benedictory intercessions from pure-minded darveshes, made offerings for the restoration of the Sulṭán’s state. The prayers of these disinterested personages reached the target of acceptance. At night the Sulṭán saw, in a dream, one advancing towards him, say,

‘King! if they ask, what will thy answer be,
There, where thou fearest, and where none fear thee?

What thing is this that thou hast taken in hand? and hast withdrawn thy hand from attending to the oppressed. It has almost come to pass that affairs are irremediable and thy empire overthrown. Rise! and betake thyself to thy concerns,

Else coming mischiefs will spring from thyself.’

The king, in terror at this circumstance, awoke. He then performed his ablutions, and loosed his tongue in excusing himself, and praying to be forgiven, and employing himself in remedying the past, issued a command that that damsel should not again intrude on his privacy. And although he could not rest without her, and his heart was never tranquil except in meditating on her beauty, still, through fear of God and dread of the decline of his kingdom, he gave this order. The damsel waited two or three days, and then one night, feeling a longing desire for the king’s society, she entered his chamber with a face like a fresh rose-bud* which the morning-breeze has caused to blow; and with ringlets like the twisting hyacinths buried in an envelope of purest musk.

With hyacinth and jessamine her perfumed hair was bound,
A posy sweet of violets her clustering ringlets seemed;
Her eyes, with love intoxicate, in witching sleep half drowned,
Her locks to Indian spikenard like, with love’s enchantments* beamed.

Again at sight of her beauty the king was despoiled of his senses, and tumultuous love robbed him of his reason and understanding.

Now love returned, and madness came again,
And her arch looks again inflict sweet pain.

For several days more he remained captivated by her beauty, and infatuated with her locks and mole,* passed his time in delights; and again the messengers of the invisible world summoned him with infallible warnings to the path of rectitude. The king came to himself and said, ‘There is no remedy for my sufferings but to get rid of this mischief, and no hope of a cure for my affairs save in the annihilation of this calamity.’ Hereupon he commanded a chamberlain saying, ‘Take this disobedient damsel, who without permission entered my chamber, and cast her into the Tigris.’ The chamber­lain led the damsel away, and reflected thus with himself: ‘This is the beloved mistress of the king, and perhaps to-morrow he may repent and require her of me again. Then if I have put her to death, the hand of thought will not reach the skirt of remedy.’ He therefore concealed her in his house. The king, who was sad at what he had done, when he returned from his seat in the public hall into his private apartments, was overcome with the desire of seeing his mistress, and tortured with regret. Again reproaching himself, he allayed the ferment of his mind with the arguments of reason. One night, to dispel his grief, he quaffed a goblet of pure wine, and forgetting the admonitions of reason and the warnings of prudence, became impatient at the recollection of his enchanting fair one. Summoning his high chamberlain, he inquired into the fate of his beloved, and said with the most terrible threats, ‘If thou bringest her not here this night I will bring thee to punishment.’ However much the chamberlain began to excuse himself, it was all in vain, and beholding the dreadful wrath of the king he saw himself on the verge of destruction. Through necessity therefore he conveyed the moon-like beauty to the king’s chamber. Again the foundation of delight was laid, and the materials of mirth set ready.

We’re here, ’tis night—our mistress is before us,
The cup is near, the wine of rosy hue.
The flowers bloom and autumn has passed o’er us,
Hail, joyous spring! and winter sad, Adieu!

In short, three times the king commanded her to be slain, and the chamberlain acting cautiously, delayed the execution. At last the affairs of the state came to a complete stand. The Sulṭán perceived that there was no remedy for this calamity but from his own hand, and that he could not hope to get rid of this misfortune by the aid of another.

‘No other’s hand can manage this affair.’

For he saw that whomsoever he might command to slay the damsel would assuredly, out of caution, delay the execution. Therefore the king prepared himself to put her out of the way, yet he was unwilling to destroy any one openly, without some palpable treason on their part. At last, one day, standing on the terrace of his palace, he was gazing on the Tigris, and the damsel, in attendance on him, was contemplating from a distance the beauty of the king. The Sulṭán, dreading the future, reflected on the fatal consequences of his supineness. He saw that the time was come, and said to himself, ‘Though I bring on my head innocent blood, yet a hundred thousand hearts will be solaced which now by my neglect of them, are immersed in blood. And though this girl is dear to me as my life, yet it is of still greater importance to have regard to the condition of my distressed people.’ He then bade her approach nearer to look at a vessel. When the damsel had come close, the king gave her a push, and threw her into the Tigris; and evincing much grief, gave out as though she had of herself fallen into the water. He then commanded them to draw her out of the river, and burying her, and beginning to mourn for her, he fulfilled the most rigorous conditions of that rite. Thus, for the public weal, he with his own hand, took away the life of her whom he adored.

For one good end kings will a hundred slay.’

And I have adduced this story in order that the king may know that it is better to take care of the welfare of the state than to shew indulgence to one traitor, and more advisable to remove one person whose existence is a general injury, than to exclude a thousand others.’ By these wily insinua­tions the fire of the lion’s wrath was kindled, and he sent a message to Farísah, ‘If thou hast any excuse to offer for this offence, make it known.’ As Farísah was innocent, and [as it is true what] they have said, ‘When a man’s hand is short, his tongue is long;

The innocent are ever fearless found,’

he sent back a rough message, and his reproachful words did but help the mischievous flatteries of his opponents. The fire of Kámjúí’s wrath rose higher, and putting aside all covenants and promises, he gave a positive order to put Farísah to death. They conveyed tidings of this to the mother of the Lion, who saw that he was acting precipitately, and had disregarded clemency and forbearance, and exchanged patience and calmness for levity and precipitation. She thought to herself, ‘I must go with all speed and release my son from the temptations of the accursed devil. For whenever anger gets the mastery over kings, Satan bears sway over them, and leads them to do whatever he wishes; and the same meaning may be understood from the import of the true tradition, ‘When the sulṭán is furious, the devil exercises dominion over him.’

Wrath is a flame from Satan that proceeds,
And in the end it to repentance leads.’

First of all she despatched some one to the executioner, saying, ‘Pause ere thou slayest the Jackal, until I speak to the Lion.’ She then came to Kámjúí, and said ‘O son, I have heard that thou hast given orders to put Farísah to death. What was his crime? and what fault has he committed?’ The Lion recounted the circumstances. His mother said, ‘O son! cause not thyself to wander in the wilderness of perplexity, nor exclude thyself from the quality of justice and beneficence. And the wise have said, ‘Eight things depend on eight things. The honor of a wife on her husband; and the reputation of a son on his father; and the knowledge of a pupil on his teacher; and the strength of an army on its general; and the spiritual gifts of religious men on their faith; and the security of subjects on their king; and the government of a king on justice; and the excellence of justice on reason and vigilance. Now the principal things in this matter are two. One is to know one’s followers and attendants, and to place each in the position proper for him, and to promote him in proportion to his ability and skill. The second point is, to suspect them in what concerns one another, for there is a constant strife between those who are most in favour at the courts of kings, which cannot be extinguished except by their utter annihilation. Wherefore if the King listens to the accusations of one against the other, and attends to the calumnies of that one with reference to this, there will be no more confidence between the Sulṭán and the Pillars of the State. Hence whenever they wish they will be able to bring a loyal servant under suspicion, and trick out a traitor in the garb of loyalty. Consequently the innocent are overtaken in the whirlpool of calamity, and the guilty pass their time on the shore of escape in safety and security.

Broken-hearted in their prison languish all the innocent;
While the guilty stand afar off ever smiling and content.

And without doubt, the result of this procedure will be that those present will decline office, and the absent will hang back;* and the execution of the supreme commands will be delayed, and a thousand embarrassments will accrue to the Pillars of the State; and the ill consequences which proceed from this are beyond the limits of computation, and exceed the power of reckoning.

Let not the ear to selfish men be lent,
For they will injure both the faith and State.
As sycophants through thee grow eminent,
So will thy greatness and thy power abate.
If to the envious thou dost yield consent,
Of thy free-will thou ceasest to be great.’

The Lion said, ‘I have not been induced by any one’s words to issue this command with reference to Farísah. Nay, my disposition towards him was unchanged, until his treason was palpable.’ The lioness replied, ‘It is not right for kings to alter their minds, especially with reference to the confidential advisers of the court, without perfect certainty. And as to what thou saidst that his treason was fully proved, this matter is still veiled in doubt; and the truth will then be evident when the curtain falls from the face of this affair. And it was but fitting that thou shouldest have found room in the amplitude of thy clemency for so slight a fault which they impute to Farísah on suspicion; and that thou shouldest have kept in full view of thy mind his previous services; and the virtuous efforts and illustrious acts which he performed at the door of this palace ought not to have been effaced from the tablet of thy memory; nor ought the words of those devoid of merit, unattested, to have met with a favorable hearing as to the meritorious of approved capacity.

The mean man grudges others their success,
And so the miser would the fly expel
From the same cup. Endless the tricks, finesse,
That knaves who neither act nor prosper well
Will try, lest fortune should true merit bless.

O son! we ought to recognise, in all circumstances that occur, and in all events that take place, far-sighted reason and world-adorning judgment as a just oracle and perfect discriminator: for the excellence of man’s nature is ennobled by the clearness of his intellect.

Of human greatness reason is the base,
’Tis this exalts the rank of Adam’s race.

And Farísah had reached in thy court a high station and exalted rank, and had attained great eminence and lofty position. In public assemblies thou wast accustomed to speak in his praise, and in private thou honoredst him by taking counsel with him. Now, it behoves thee to break thy resolve of violating thy covenant, and not to exert thyself for the destruction of the base of that edifice which thou hast erected with the hand of thy own encouragement; and to guard thyself from the exultation of enemies and the rejoicing of the envious, so that, as is required by thy grave and dignified position, having judged it necessary to make due investigation, and, having practised caution and employed inquiry to the fullest extent, thou mayest be excused in the eye of reason, and be clear in the opinion of the wise from the stain of false accusation. And this crime which they impute to him is too paltry for a wise man like him to soil with its dust the mirror of uprightness, and to defile the skirt of honesty with the impurities of trifles such as these. And I know that greed and appetite could not overcome his abstinence and con­tentment; and that covetousness and lust could not gallop the steed of hope in the plain of his vision and knowledge. Moreover, during this long period that Farísah has been an attendant of this court he has never eaten flesh; and, previous to that, too, he was famed and celebrated for this quality. His abstaining from eating animal food was in every mouth, and had reached all ears.

Not so prolonged would vain words be.

And the probability is that enemies put the flesh in Farísah’s abode. And it is not to be supposed that this is too much for the deceit of the fraudulent, or the envy of the invidious to effect. For among the envious there has been one who, in expectation that it might be injurious to another, was a consenting party to his own death, as that wretched merchant ordered the slave to kill him.’ The Lion requested to know, ‘How was that?’