The jackal said, ‘They have related that in former times there was an oppressor who used to buy the wood of poor people, by violence and injustice, and having made a great difference in the price, used to give for it less than it was worth, and forcing it in winter on rich men, would take from them double its value. Thus both the poor were driven to despair at his cruelty, and the rich, too, were bewailing his tyranny.

The bosom of the poor by him was burned,
The hovel of the wretched overturned.

One day he took by force the fire-wood of a poor man, and gave half the price to that destitute wretch. The darvesh raised to heaven the hand of supplication, and turned the face of prayer towards the point of adoration of the humble and submissive.

Think not safe thyself, O tyrant! from the curses of the poor;
For the prayer of midnight weepers is a fount whose drops are gore.

At this time a devout person came by, and having heard how matters stood, loosed the tongue of reproach against that tyrant, and said,

‘Fear the poor man’s arrowy shower in the ambuscade of night,
For his shaft’s point wounds the sharper the more wretched is his plight.

Act not thus towards the helpless, who have no protection save the court of the divine king; and indulge not in cruelty towards the afflicted, who rain down tears all night, like a taper from burning of the heart. Do not lay waste with the wrongs of injustice, the mansion of the breast of the poor, and pour not into the goblet of vengeance, in the place of ruby wine, the heart’s-blood of the bereaved.

Quaff not this cup, lest pain come with the morn.’

That proud oppressor was offended at the words of the pious man, and frowning insolently and with fatuous displeasure, said,

‘Go thy way, old man; henceforward cease this irksome vain tirade,
Ten score stacks e’en* of this nonsense with one grain were dearly paid.’

The darvesh turned his face away from him and hastened to the retirement of his own privacy. It happened that that very night the tyrant’s stack of wood caught fire, and extending thence to his house and residence, burnt clean up* all the property he possessed, and deposited that tyrannical person from his soft bed in warm ashes. It came to pass, in the morning, the same pious man who had rebuked him the day before, came to that quarter; there he beheld the tyrant, who was saying to his friends, ‘I know not whence this fire caught my house?’ The devout personage replied, ‘From the smoke of the hearts of the poor, and the burning of the bosoms of the afflicted.

‘Beware of the sigh of the wounded heart,
For the secret sore you’ll too late discern.’*

The tyrant hung down his head, and said to himself, ‘One ought not to transgress justice. The seed of oppression that I have sown will yield no better fruit than this.

Our seed has ever been the seed of wrong;
Behold the fruits that to such seed belong!’

And I have cited this story, in order that thou mayest know what has befallen thy sons, is in requital of what thou hast done to the children of others; and they have all used the same complaint and lamentation that thou hast used; and, again, all have been compelled to be patient. Wherefore, as others have patiently endured the pain thou hast inflicted, do thou also be patient under the wrongs that others have wreaked on thee.’ The Lion replied, ‘Impress these words on my mind, by cor­roborating them with arguments and proofs.’ The jackal answered, ‘How old art thou?’ The Lion replied, ‘Forty years.’ The jackal rejoined, ‘During this long interval, of what has thy food been?’ The Lion replied, ‘Of the flesh of animals and men of which I made prey.’ ‘Then,’ said the jackal, ‘had the animals on whose flesh thou hast fed thus long neither father nor mother? and did not their kinsfolk express in wailings and lamentations their regret for separation from these thy victims, and their distress at losing them? If on that day thou hadst seen the con­clusion of this affair, and hadst shunned to spill blood, this event would not now have occurred, and such an adventure would never have taken place.

Thou! who didst ne’er to others pardon grant,
When wilt thou solace for thine own self find?
And, say! while all in terror of thee pant,
Who will spread ointment on thy wounded mind?

And shouldest thou persevere in this line of conduct, and adhere to the same sanguinary and cruel course, be prepared! for thou wilt experience many such things; and so long as people are afraid of thee thou wilt not inhale the perfume of security and peace. Deck thy character with kindness and clemency, and make no approaches to the harming other animals, and the molestation of this one or that. For he that molests others, never sees the face of happiness, and the injurious person never arrives at his object and wish.

None, from this bow, e’er struck the butt with their desire’s shaft.’

When the Lion heard these words, and the real state of the case was revealed to him, he perceived, that the result of an action based on harm to others, can be nought but disappointment and disaster. He then reflected, ‘Life’s spring, for such is the season of youth, has been exchanged for the autumn of old age and debility; and every moment I must expect to tread the path of annihilation, and undertake a long and far journey. There is nothing better for me to do than to prepare the provisions for the road to that place, whither all must return; and than that, forsaking injuriousness and oppression, I content myself with scant food, and feeling no solicitude as to more or less, abandon all care of the having or not having.*

Be glad! nor grieve thy bosom here with thoughts of ‘is,’ ‘or,’ ‘is not,’
For ‘is not,’ is the source of all that is to us accruing.
Since from this two-doored inn to move man finds it must be his lot,
What need we care, if life’s support* should stand or fall in ruin?’

He then desisted from eating blood and flesh, and satisfying himself with fruits, took the path of contentment. When the jackal saw that the Lion had commenced eating fruits, and that if he persevered therein, an amount of food, which would suffice a jackal for a year, would be con­sumed in ten days, he was vexed, and came to the Lion again and said How is the king employed?’ The Lion replied, ‘I have abandoned the world, and have girt up my lions to spiritual conflicts and abstinence.

Since from this world’s azure ocean pleasant water none can drink,
Sated with its false* emotions from its margin back I shrink.’

The jackal replied, ‘The case is not as the king is pleased to say; nay, the injury which he inflicts on others, is even greater now than before.’ The Lion responded, ‘From what cause is any one now injured by me? I neither stain my mouth with blood, nor do I spread out my claws to harm any one.

Did they me piece-meal with wrong’s dagger tear,
None should from me the marks of vengeance bear.’

The jackal replied, ‘Thou hast withdrawn thy hand from thy own natural food, and eatest of the allotted portion of other animals, to which thou hast no right; and the fruits of this jungle will not suffice for thy maintenance for ten days. Thus, those whose subsistence is dependent on these fruits will quickly perish, and the curse of this will hang round thy neck, and it is possible that the punishment of it will reach thee even in this world, and I fear lest thy condition should be like that of the Hog that violently seized the monkey’s fruits.’ The Lion said, ‘Explain, how was that?’