The father said, ‘They relate that a darvesh was passing through a waste, and was meditating on the tokens of [God’s] mercy, and on the instances of divine power, when suddenly he beheld a swift royal falcon, which, holding a piece of flesh in its claw, was hovering round a tree, and in the most extreme agitation circled near a nest. The man was astonished at this circumstance, and stood for a time gazing at it. He saw a Raven without feathers and unfledged lying in the nest, and the Hawk divided the flesh piece by piece, and in pro­portion to what the callow raven could swallow, placed the pieces in its mouth. The man exclaimed, ‘Glory to God! behold His kingly favor and infinite compassion, that in the corner of this nest a raven unfledged and that has neither power to fly, nor vigor to attack, is not left by Him without support.

Earth’s surface is His general table spread,
There friend or foe is nought distinguishèd.
And thence each day His bounties are so wide,
In Ḳaf the Símurgh finds its wants supplied.

Wherefore it must assuredly be from weakness of faith and dulness of belief, that I, ever occupied in quest of daily subsistence, remain afoot and unseated, and having plunged into the wilderness of greediness, by every sort of artifice procure my daily bread.

The All-Provider will ensure me food,
Why, like the base, then, stir in fretful mood?
I with contented cheerful heart respire,
I have my lot, ’tis all that I desire.

The best course is for me henceforth to place the head of freedom from care on the knee of retirement, and draw the line of abrogation on the page of employ­ment and business.

Food is from God Most Blessed and Most High.

He then washed his hands of worldly concerns and sate down in a corner, and fixed his heart sincerely on the gratuitous* beneficence of the Causer of Causes.

Ponder not causes and the Causer slight.

For three days and nights he remained quiet in the corner of retirement, but no gratuitous supply reached him from any channel, and every moment he became more attenuated and weak. At last his infirmities* came strongly* upon him and the recluse became mighty feeble, and was unable to perform the usual duties of worship and devotion. Then God Most High sent to him the prophet of that age, and gave him a message, severely rebuking him, saying, ‘O creature of mine! I have placed the pivot of the world on causes and means, and, though my omnipotent power can perform a thing without a cause, nevertheless my wisdom has made this requisite, that things in general should be effected and brought about by causes, and hence the rule of an interchange of benefits is established. Wherefore if thou canst be the means of imparting advantage to another, it is better than to be obliged to be suc­coured by others.

Be like the hawk—the quarry chase, and food to others give;
Not like the raven’s callow brood, a remnant-eater, live.’

And I have introduced this story in order that thou mayest know that it is not practicable for every one to put aside the veil of secondary causes, and that commendable reliance on God is that which, with a due regard to means, maintains a firm faith, so as to participate in that gracious promise, ‘The industrious man is the friend of God,’* and a great authority has said, ‘Work lest thou become sick; and own that thy food is from God, lest thou be an infidel.’

Do not—to slothfulness—on God depend,
The saying hear, ‘Who labours is God friend.’*
With labour be combined thy confidence,
And, whilst thou toilest, trust Omnipotence.

The next son then began to say, ‘O Father! we have not power to rely implicitly on God, wherefore there is no alternative but to practice a profession; and when we engage in a profession, and God Most High, from the treasure of his bounties, provides us with wealth and property,* what must we do with it?’ The father said, ‘To amass wealth is easy, but to keep it and derive advantage from it, is difficult, and when any one acquires wealth, he must know two necessary things: the one, to take care of it in such a manner that it may be safe from inroads and consumption, and that the hand of the thief and the robber and the cut-purse, may be kept back from it, since gold has many friends and the possessor of it many a foe.

Heaven does not strike the poor and needy crowd,
It strikes the pompous gathering of the proud.

The second thing is, that he should reap the benefit of the profits, but not squander the principal, for if men spend everything from their capital, and are not contented with the interest, in a short time the dust of annihilation will rise up from it.

A sea to which no waters flow,
Dry to the footstep soon would grow.
Dig from a hill and nought return,
Thou soon that hill wouldst overturn.

Whoever is without income, and continually expends money, or whose expenses are greater than his income, will eventually fall into the vortex of want, and it is probable that his affairs will terminate in destruction, like that wasteful Rat which destroyed itself from grief.’ The son asked ‘How was that?’