Damnah said, ‘They have related that a Fox was prowling over a moor, and was roaming in every direction in hopes of scenting food. Presently he came to the foot of a tree, at the side of which they had suspended a drum, and when­ever a gust of wind came, a branch of the tree was put in motion, and struck the surface of the drum, and a terrible noise arose from it. The Fox, seeing a domestic fowl under the tree who was pecking the ground with her beak, and searching for food, planted himself in ambush, and wished to make her his prey, when all of a sudden the sound of the drum reached his ear. He looked and saw a very fat form, and a prodigious sound from it reached his hearing. The appetite of the Fox was excited, and he thought to himself ‘Assuredly its flesh and skin will be proportioned to its voice.’ He issued from his-lurking place, and turned towards the tree. The fowl, being put on its guard by that circumstance, fled, and the fox, by a hundred exertions ascended the tree. Much did he labour till he had torn the drum, and then he found nought save a skin and a piece of wood. The fire of regret descended into his heart, and the water of contrition began to run from his eyes, and he said, ‘Alas! that by reason of this huge bulk which is all wind, that lawful prey has escaped from my hand, and from this empty form no advantage has resulted to me.’

Loudly ever sounds the tabor,
But in vain—within is nought:
Art thou wise, for substance labor,
Semblance will avail thee nought.*

And I have adduced this example in order that the King may not relinquish the pleasures of the chase, and his personal exercise, for a frightful noise and a huge form. If he will carefully observe, nothing will result from that voice and figure, and if the King will issue his command, I will approach him, and will acquaint the King with the state of the case, and the real truth of the matter. The Lion was pleased with the words of Damnah, and the latter, in accordance with the orders of the Lion, set off in the direction of that sound. As soon however as he got out of sight of the Lion, the latter began to reflect, and regretted that he had despatched Damnah, and said to himself, ‘I have committed a great fault, and an ill-weighed action has pro­ceeded from me: and the ancients, have said, that it behoves a King in the disclosure of his secrets, to have no reliance on ten classes of persons, and not to reveal to them the secret nature of any of his private affairs which he is extremely anxious to conceal. The first is, whoever has experienced oppression and vexation at his court, and for a long time endured trouble and distress without fault or crime on his part. The second is, he whose property and honor have gone to the winds in attendance on the King, and whose means have been straitened. The third is, he who has been degraded from his office, and has no hope of recovering it again. The fourth is a wicked, mischievous person, who is on the look out for mischief, and is dis­inclined to peace and repose. The fifth is the criminal, whose comrades have tasted the sweets of pardon, while he has experienced the bitterness of punishment. The sixth is the offender, whose fellows have been reproved, while a greater and extreme degree of severity has been shewn towards him. The seventh, is he who, while doing acceptable services, remains disappointed; while others, without the antecedents of service, receive greater encouragement than he. The eighth, is he whose station an enemy has sought, and has got the lead of him, and has reached that rank, and the prince has taken part with him. The ninth, he who conceives his own advantage to be associated with the injury of the king. The tenth is he who has met with no favor at the King’s court, and who can make himself acceptable to the king’s enemy. Kings ought not to entrust their secrets to these ten classes, and the first principle is this, that until they have repeatedly made trial of the religious principles, and good faith, and kindness, and worth of a man, they should not put him in possession of their secrets.

Not to each one thy secrets tell—for earth’s wide space upon,
Much we have wandered, yet have found in whom to trust not one.

Therefore in accordance with these promises, before making trial of Damnah, it was improper to be precipitate, and to send him to an enemy was far from a prudent and far-sighted line of conduct, and this Damnah appears to be a shrewd person, and he remained for a long time at my court distressed and disappointed. If, which God forbid!* the thorn of vexation is rankling in his heart, he may, on this occasion, contrive perfidy, and stir up mischief; or it may be that he may find the enemy superior to me in strength and majesty; and, becoming eager to enter his service may acquaint him with what he knows of my secrets; and undoubtedly the remedy of that would exceed the measure of my counsels. Why did I not apply the purport of the saying, ‘Caution is suspicion,’ to my conduct? and why have the directions of the wise couplet

‘Intend not ill, but evil still suspect,
And from deceit and harm thyself protect’

been transgressed by me? If calamity arise from this embassy, I am deserving of a hundred times as much.’ In this anxious meditation, the Lion, through excessive agitation, continued getting up and anon reseating himself, and kept the eyes of expectation fixed on the road, when all at once, Damnah appeared. The Lion was somewhat tranquillized, and remained quiet in the same spot, while Damnah, after performing the customary obeisance, said,

‘Long as the spheres revolving circle, may our king continue still!
And may the sun of his high fortune gild the subjects of his will!

O world-possessing prince! he whose voice reached the august ear is an Ox, engaged in grazing in the environs of this forest, and, save feeding and sleeping, other business he has none, and his ambition does not travel beyond his throat and his belly.’ The Lion asked, ‘What is the extent of his might?’ Damnah replied, ‘I observed no pomp or grandeur about him, that I could thence infer his power; and I did not discover, in my own mind, any awe in him, whence I should suppose any extraordinary respect due to him.’ The Lion said, ‘Weakness is not therefore to be imputed to him, nor is one to be thereby deceived, for the strong wind, though it does not overthrow the weak herbage, nevertheless, tears up the strong trees by the root; and so long as the great and mighty do not encounter a foeman worthy of them, no display of their might and prowess is manifested.

When in pursuit of puny finches will the noble goshawk go?
‘Gainst the gnat the royal falcons ne’er their claws of terror show.’

Damnah said, ‘The king ought not to think so gravely of him, nor make so much account of the proceedings, for I have acuteness enough to discern the extent of his power,* and I have informed myself of the exact state of his circumstances; and if the lofty judgment [of your majesty] require it, and the august command honors me by being issued, I will bring him, so that, having placed the hand of willingness on the line of obedience, he may cast the saddle-cloth of servitude on the shoulder of attachment.’ The Lion was pleased with these words, and signed to bring him. Damnah went to Shanzabah, and, with a stout heart, without hesitation or backwardness, entered into discourse with him.

And first he addressed him with, ‘Whence art thou?

And how didst thou come here? and what may be the cause of thy coming to this place? and of thy commencing to abide here?’ Shanzabah began to recount with truth the state of the matter, and Damnah, having learned his story, said, ‘A Lion who is the king of the wild beasts and the ruler of these regions, gave me orders and sent me to bring thee to him, and instructed me that, shouldest thou use despatch, he will forgive the crime which has taken place in his service up to this point, but if thou shouldest delay, I am to return with haste and report the circumstances.’ Shanzabah when he heard the name of the Lion and wild beasts, feared, and said, ‘If thou wilt make me stout-hearted and secure me from his chastisement, I will come with thee, and by means of thy companionship obtain the honor of his service.’ Damnah swore an oath to him, and gave him a promise and compact so as to tranquillize his mind, and both set off together to the Lion. Damnah went before and acquainted the Lion with his coming; and a short time after, the Ox arrived and performed the homage due. The Lion made warm inquiries [after his welfare], and said, ‘When didst thou arrive in this neighbourhood? and what may be the cause of thy coming?’ The Ox made a full recital of his story. The Lion then said, ‘Abide here still that thou mayest reap a full portion of kindness and honor and compassion and bounty from us; for we have opened the gates of favor on the faces of the votaries* of our districts, and have spread the overflowing table of encouragement for the attendants of our court.

Wide through this realm thy wandering steps may stray,
Yet none thou wilt complaining see.
In all that we attempt, we first display
Care for our folks’ prosperity.

The Ox, having paid the dues of blessing and praise, bound the girdle of obedience on his loins with willingness and zeal: and the Lion, too, having brought him nearer to his person, and shewed excessive and lavish honors and respect to him,* and, under cover thereof, employed himself in examining his character and investigating his conduct, and learned the measure of his judgment and understanding and the extent of his discernment and experience. He found him to be a person distinguished by perfect sagacity and endowed with intellect and penetration: the more he tested his qualities, the more his reliance on the abundance of his wisdom increased.

Kindly he found him, and of jndgment clear,
Weighing his words—one who could estimate
The worth of men—whom travel far and near
In wisdom had instructed—made sedate
By much experience—who, with practised ease,
In social converse knew the art to please.*

The Lion, after reflection and deliberation and anxious thought and prayer for guidance, made the Ox the confidante of his secrets; and every hour his place in the royal favor and his good fortune rose higher; and his elevation in the exercise of authority and in command became more exalted, until he outstripped all the pillars of the state and the ministers of the king. When Damnah perceived that the Lion carried his respect for the Ox to the last verge of excess, and that, having pushed his profuseness in rewarding and honoring him beyond the limits of moderation, he neither carried into effect his (Damnah’s) advice, nor applied to him for counsel in any matter—the hand of envy drew the collyrium of aversion over the eyes of his heart, aud the fire of anger cast the torch of jealousy into the cell of his brain.

Wherever envy doth its torch illume,
The envious there themselves’t will first consume.

Sleep and rest departed from him, and peace and repose removed their gear from the area of his breast. He went with his complaint to Kalílah, and said, ‘O brother! behold the weakness of my judgment and the slackness of my prudence, that I have expended all my energies in freeing the Lion from anxiety,* and have introduced the Ox into his service, so that having obtained close access [to the king] and high place with him, he has got precedence over all the courtiers, while I have fallen from my station and position.’ Kalílah replied,

‘Thou didst it thine ownself, my life! for self-done acts, what cure is there?

This axe thou hast thyself struck on thine own foot, and this dust of mischief thou hast thyself stirred up in thine own path, and the same thing has befallen thee which befell the Devotee. Damnah inquired, ‘How was that?’