Shanzabah said, ‘A Goose saw the brightness of the moon in the water, and, thinking that it was the moon, tried to lay hold of it, but got nothing. Several times it made a similar effort, and when it saw that all it got by the chace was what the man athirst gets by gazing on the mirage, or what the deluded destitute obtains by searching through ruined habitations [for treasures], it altogether abandoned the pursuit of fish, and all at once discontinued its occupation. The next night, whenever it saw a fish, it fancied it was the glitter of the moon, and made no effort after it, and gave no heed whatever to it, and exclaimed,

Who tries the tried—on him will fall regret.*

So the fruit of his experience was this, that he continued hungry and passed his time fasting and foodless.

And if they have made the Lion listen to anything about me, and, in accordance with the saying, ‘he who listens is alienated,’ a feeling of aversion has arisen in his heart, and he has given credit to what has been said, the cause of all this has been that same experience which he has had of others; and yet in point of reality, there is as much difference between me and the rest, as between bright day and dark night, and the vault of heaven and earth’s centre.

Think not the virtuous and thyself the same;
Shír has two meanings with a single name.*
In the same meadow feed two wasp-like things,
Yet one gives honey, and the other stings.
Together graze two deer, from one proceeds
Pure fragrant musk, the other simply bleeds.’

Damnah said, ‘Perhaps the aversion of the lion may not spring from this cause, but on account of its being a custom with kings to promote a person to high rank, undeserved on his part, while without any apparent reason they make another, who is a man of worth, the object of ruinous spoliation.’

Hurmúz,* thy king unsung on me unseen rich gifts* bestowed!
While Yazd’s* proud chief though seen and sung gave not the guerdon owed.
Such is the wont of kings! but thou, O Ḥáfiz!* murmur not,
All-giving God! thy favouring grace and aid be still their* lot.

Shanzabah said, ‘If this aversion on the part of the Lion, which thou hast reported to me, is without cause, then no submission will enable me to step securely into the path* of safety: and it is impossible for the eye of hope to behold the face of the desired object, for if there be a reason for wrath it may be dispelled by attempts to please and by apologies; but if, which God avert!* there be no reason for it, or if they have affected a change in his mind by deceit and calumny, the hand of remedy will be too short for it, and the thought of compassing its cure will be hopeless; since there is no visible measure to falsehood and slander, and no fixed limit to deceit and artifice. Now in what has passed between me and the Lion, I do not perceive any fault on my part, save that occasionally, and that too for his own good, I have opposed his opinion and plans, and that now and then, as exigency required, I have spoken with reference to the arrangements and furtherance of important matters, not in accordance with what he wished. This, perhaps, he may have imputed to boldness and disrespect, and have reckoned it akin to audacity and imprudence; yet not one of those things which I have originated has been immaterial with reference to the public weal; and with all this I have preserved the respect due to his exalted rank and majesty, without, through the whole course of my career, shewing presumption; but have to the utmost degree possible displayed the reverence and veneration due to him; so how can it possibly be supposed that loyal advice could be viewed as a cause for distrust, and faithful service as a ground for enmity?

Canst thou hope that where the medicine brings a fresh access of pain,
There the illness will grow lighter, and the sick revive again?

And if this too be not the case, it is possible that the pride of royalty and the haughtiness of empire, may cause him to be offended with me, for it is a necessary condition of dominion, and a requisite of greatness, to be naturally ungrateful to those who give advice, and to bestow confidence and distinguished notice on sycophants and flatterers; and hence it is that the wise have said that it is more safe to dive to the bottom of a river with a crocodile, and to suck the poisonous drops from the lip of a serpent, whose tail has been struck off, than to attend upon kings, and that it is better and more conducive to security and freedom from anxiety, than to be in close proximity to princes: and I was aware that the perils of serving princes, were numerous, and the harm of superintending their affairs immense. Some philosophers also have compared kings to fire, since, although, the beams of their favor illuminate the dark cell of the hopeful, nevertheless the flame* of their severity too consumes the harvest of the former claims of their servants; and sound reason avers that whoever is nearest the fire suffers most; but parties, who, admiring the brightness of the fire at a distance, are ignorant of its power to burn, hold an idea of some intense gratification in having access to princes, and suppose it to be beneficial; while in point of fact, it is not so, for if they were to get a taste of the rigor of kings, and of the terror and awe a monarch inspires, it would be clear to them that a thousand years of favor are not equivalent to one hour of torture, and the story of the dispute of the Hawk with the Domestic Fowl verifies this. Damnah inquired, ‘How was that?’