Kalílah said, ‘I have heard that in former times there was a King, who had opened the hand of despotic power and oppression, and had set the foot of obstinate wickedness beyond the beaten path of justice and beneficence.

World-burning, merciless, and prone to blood,
Earth was embittered by his bitter mood.

The people night and day had lifted up their hands in prayer against his injustice, and had loosed the tongue of detestation. One day this King went to the chase, and when he returned, he ordered a proclamation, saying, ‘O people! the eye of my heart has to this day been covered with a veil from beholding the aspect of rectitude, and the hand of my transgression has drawn the scymitar of tyranny against the countenances of the despairing oppressed, and the unhappy objects of persecution. Now I have become sincerely disposed to cherish my subjects, and steadfast in the office of admin­istration of justice. My hope is that after to-day the hand of an oppressor will not strike the ring of vexation on the door of any peasant, nor the foot of a persecutor reach the court of the dwelling of any poor man.’

Expect not ease that realm or clime among,
Where the folks’ heart is by the monarch wrung.

The people felt new life at these tidings, and to the poor, the rose of desire blossomed in the garden of hope.

When this glad news its sudden influence shed,
Transport the heart, and joy the soul, o’erspread.

In short the felicitous influence of his justice reached such a point, that the lambs drank milk from the dugs of the savage lioness, and the pheasant sported in communion with the hawk, and on this account they bestowed on him the title of ‘The Justice-dispensing King.’

So firm the basis, he to justice set,
Sulphur and flame as guard and guarded met.

One of the confidential ministers of the cabinet of state, took an opportunity to ask the state of the case, and inquired into the change of the bitterness of oppression and tyranny for the sweetness of mercy and good faith. The King said, ‘That day that I went to hunt, I was galloping on every side, when suddenly I observed a dog pursue a fox, and bite through the bone of his leg with his teeth:—the hapless fox escaped into a hole with a maimed leg, and the dog came back. Presently a footman threw a stone and broke the leg of that dog, and had not yet gone on a few steps, when a horse kicked the footman, and his leg was fractured, and the horse too had advanced no distance, when his foot went down in a hole and snapped.’ I came to myself and said, ‘Sawest thou what they did, and what they experienced? Whoever does what he ought not, suffers what he would not.’

Seek to do good, shun evil, and take heed:
For as thou actest, so too shalt thou speed.
Ever in good dost thou incline to tread?
Thou shalt then aye behold upraised thy head.
But if in vice thou walkest, thou shalt see,
Thyself down trampled by adversity.

And I have hit off this example with this view, that thou mayest dread retri­bution, and abandon a malevolent disposition, lest disastrous results should reach thee, and the meaning [of the saying] ‘Whoever dug a pit for his brother assuredly fell into it himself,’ be manifested in thy case; and a sage has said, ‘Do not evil, that thou mayest keep back evil;* dig not a pit, lest thou fall therein thyself.’ Damnah said, ‘In this matter I am the oppressed—not the oppressor, and I am he that suffers cruelty—not he that inflicts it; and if the oppressed should be occupied with the design of revenging himself upon his oppressor, what retribution can there be for that? and if injury should result from him to the injurer, what harm can therein ensue to him?’ Kalílah said, ‘Granted that by this proceeding no obstruction occurs to thy fortunes, but in what manner wilt thou exert thyself for the destruction of the Ox? since his power surpasses thine, and his friends and allies are more numerous than those who befriend and support thee.’ Damnah said, ‘One must not base one’s proceedings on the greatness of one’s strength, and the infinite number of one’s allies; but prudence and counsel must be esteemed as superior to these, since it is probable that what can be effected by skill and stratagem, is unattainable by violence and force; and has it never reached thee how a Raven destroyed a Serpent by stratagem?’ Kalílah said, ‘How was that?’