The hawk said, ‘In ancient times there was a poor mechanic at his wit’s end to maintain his family, and who, from extreme distress, had never read a single letter from the page of pleasure, and the gains of whose craft sufficed not for more than the expenses of his family, and the emoluments of whose profession went not beyond providing bread and raiment. The favour of God, (May his glory be magnified!) bestowed on him a dear son, on whose front the tokens of greatness were manifest; and on whose countenance the signs of high fortune were apparent.

Of happy fortune and high augury,
The fairest plant in joy’s parterre was he.

By the blessing of his footsteps, the state of his father became one of cheerfulness,* and, by his happy auspices, the income from his craft began to exceed his expenses. The father, regarding his footsteps as auspicious, caused him, to the extent of his power at the time, to be educated; and the boy, in his childhood, was wont to speak of nothing but archery, and continually played with shield and sabre. When they conveyed him to school, he would suddenly make off and appear in the midst of the plain; and whenever they instructed him in writing, his thoughts darted away to the straight spear.* He was always reading the inscription of conquest from the lines of the sabre, and ever perusing, from the ornaments of the shield,* the sketch of ennoblement.

When his instructor writes down ‘Há’ and ‘Mím,’
These to his fancy shield and helmet seem.
Will he of ‘Alif,’ ‘Be’—his notions shew,
‘Alif’ the shaft resembles, ‘Be’ the bow.*

When from the stage of childhood he arrived at the boundaries of puberty, his father said, ‘O son, my mind is entirely bent on thy state, and the period of manhood has no relation to the season of boyhood. The marks of audacity and hardihood are very manifest on the pages of thy condition. I wish that before evil dispositions cast thee into the perils of lust, I may make the strong fortress, ‘Whoever marries, verily he perfects half his religion,’* thy mansion; and now I have arranged the hand of promise, fitting thy condition, in order that I may draw into the bands of marriage with thee, a lady from a tribe which may be equal to ours. What dost thou think adviseable herein?’ The son said, ‘O father! I have already given the hand of promise to the high person on whom my heart is set, and have deposited in cash for her, the marriage portion due in case of divorce. I will not trouble you in this affair, nor do I expect aid or assistance therein.’ The father said, ‘O son! I have perfect cognizance of all thy affairs. Thou hast not sufficient means of assistance that thou couldest rightly perform thy betrothal. What thou sayest thou hast prepared, whence is it? and what sort of bride is it that thou wooest?’ The son went into the house, and brought out a sword a hundred times more sanguinary than the glance of the beautiful, and a thousand degrees more lustrous than the teeth of the carne­lian-lipped fair. Then he said, ‘O father! know that I will plight my troth to the bride of empire, and will unite myself, in the nuptial knot, with the chaste virgin of sovereignty; and for her there is no better plighted troth than a sharp sword, and no fairer portion than a blood-shedding poniard.’

On him whom fortune favours none make war,
Empire’s best dowry is the scymitar.

And since the spirit of that young man was restricted to [the acquisition of] empire, in a short space of time he took possession of an extensive kingdom, and by the stroke of the world-subduing blade, he conquered various countries of the world: and hence they have said,

Only to him will empire plight her word,
Who pays her bridal portion with the sword.

‘And I have introduced this story in order that thou mayest know, that, whatever can be mentioned as belonging to fortune, I already possess, and the Divine providence has opened the gates of happiness before the face of my condition, and I, too, am in hopes that I shall shortly arrive at my desire, and reach the hand of my desire to the neck of its object. And now by no charming of any one, will I give up this condition or abandon this idea.

Reproaches shall not drive us from this door.’

The kite perceived that that high-spirited bird would not be brought into the net by the string of wiliness, nor be caught by the grain of deceit and artifice. It was, therefore, compelled to suffer it to travel, and applied to its own wounded breast, the cautery of separation. The hawk, having taken leave of the kite and its young ones, flew from the nest and soared on high; and after it was tired, descended on the top of a mountain, and opened the eye of observation in every direction. All at once, it saw a mountain-partridge, which had begun to walk proudly along in perfect beauty, while the sound of its jocund cry reverberated through all parts of the mountain. The hawk found in its nature an eager desire to hunt the partridge, and in one pounce, filled its crop with the flesh of its breast, which was agreeable to its appetite. It found the flesh of such a sort that the deliciousness of its flavour, equalled the water of life, and the delicacy of its taste boasted an equality with the relish of the most surpassing dainties, [according to the saying] ‘And the flesh of birds of the kind which they shall desire,’* and as during the whole period of his life it had never tasted flesh of such delicacy, it exclaimed,

‘From head to foot thy nature pleases mine,
Sure for me only they did thee design!’

It then reflected, ‘This, of itself, among the advantages of travel, suffices me, that thus early I have escaped from coarse food, and have obtained the flavour of viands which are agreeable to my mind, and have been elevated from a dark and narrow nest and low and mean-spirited companions, to exalted places and lofty situations.

Of dazzling great adventures—this, the first.

[Let us wait to see] what happy fortune will next advance from the corner of the unknown future to the area of visibility.’

What fate itself brings from the curtain forth.

Then the hawk, swift of flight, passed some days in flying about at pleasure, and merrily chased the partridge and quail, till one day it was perched on the top of a mountain, at the skirt of which it beheld a number of horse­men who had formed line in hunting, while their falcons swooped in pursuit of the quarries.

Then at the signal of the hunting-drum*
Forth on the wing the swooping falcons come,
The rapid gos-hawks* here their pinions ply
And in the quarry’s blood their talons dye,*
There the white falcon—from his hapless prey,
The quail and pheasant—tears life’s coin away.

Now this was the king of the country who had come out with his atten­dants for his accustomed sport of hawking, and the place where the game fed happened to be the skirt of that mountain. Meanwhile the hawk which was on the King’s wrist flew and made a stoop at a quarry, and this high-couraged hawk also stooping at the same prey, presently carried it off before the other. When the King’s glance fell on its swiftness of flight, and rapid seizure, his heart was set upon it, and the high mandate went forth, so that dexterous fowlers, by ingenious stratagems, cast a snare round its neck, and by the guidance of fortune, it attained the honor of serving the monarch. The gracious regard of the King became confirmed with reference to its natural aptitude and innate merit, and after a short time its post was fixed by the favouring aid of fortune, on the wrist of the Prince, and by means of its lofty spirit it rose from the abyss of degradation and abasement, to the pinnacle of honor and prosperity, and if it had been content with the society of crows and kites, in the same spot where it first abode, and for the sake of travel, had not measured the regions of the desert and the tract of the wilder­ness, its attaining this rank, and its promotion to this dignity, would have been of the number of impossibilities, and I have cited this apologue that it may be understood, that in travel the most complete exaltation is attained, and that it conducts a man from the most utter meanness of baseness and obscurity, to the loftiest place of approval and splendour.’

Travel’s the spring-time of the soul, for then
Their wishes, flower-like, bloom attained by men,
Travel! that thou may’st aye successful be:
Walk through earth’s regions* is God’s own decree.

And when the discourse of Dábishlím was ended, the other vazír advanced and performed the customary ceremonies of prayerful salutation, and said, ‘That which his imperial Majesty, the shadow of God, has been pleased to say in explanation of travel and its advantages, does not belong to such a class of things that the suspicion of doubt can approach it, nevertheless it occurs to the mind of your slave, that for the angelically-gifted* person of the King, on whose safety the happiness of the world is dependent, to volun­tarily undertake the toil of travel, and to migrate from the exhilarating garden of pleasure into the heart-afflicting desert of sorrow and labour, appears distant from the ways of wisdom.’ Dábishlím said, ‘The undertaking toil is the part of men of courage, and the business of the lions of the forest of war; and indubitably until the skirt of the pleasant life of kings is impinged on the thorn of trouble, the flower of tranquillity does not blossom for their weak subjects in the garden of freedom from care, and so long as the foot of high-spirit of monarchs has not traversed the wilderness of calamity, the head of the indigent poor does not touch the pillow of repose.’

None in thy realm will peace or comfort find,
While thoughts of selfish ease engross thy mind.

And know that there are two classes of mankind, one, kings, to whom has been given the dignity of ruling over states, and imperial sway: and the other, subjects, on whom is bestowed the favour of security and repose. These two kinds do not admit of combination, but it is necessary either to choose ease and abandon the reigns of dominion, or to be contented with the honor of kingly power, and draw back the hand from delight and leisure.

He who on comfort tramples, and delight;
Fortune will give him rule and kingly might.
Thus by the rose the garden’s crown is worn,
Because, though soft, it couches on a thorn.

And the wise have said, ‘Labour is the way to wealth,’ and exertion elevates the seeker on the post of success, and to traverse the wastes of struggling with the step of constancy, brings the beauty of the desired object under the gaze of inspection. The acquirement of things wished for depends on attempting things perilous.

Let him not try the hell of royal state,
Who thinks in ease to live effeminate.

Every one who raises the banner of exertion in the plain of courage, and puts away the qualities of indulgence and listlessness in undertaking toils, has taken the shortest path to his object, and has looked on the countenance of his wish with the eye of hope, like that Tiger who entertained a desire to rule over the joy-expanding wilderness, and by the blessing of toil and exertion which he employed, and by the auspicious influence of patient endurance of severe sufferings and disagreeables which he displayed, in a short time the veil of hindrance fell off from the face of his wish, and he advanced the hand of hope to the skirt of his object.’ The vazír inquired ‘In what manner was this affair?’