Shanzabah said, ‘They have related that a villager possessed a sweet and pleasant orchard, and a garden more fresh than the bower of Iram. The air of it gave mildness to the gales of spring, and the scent of its herbs, refreshing the spirits, conveyed perfume to the very soul.

That garden glittered with youth’s radiant hue,
Life’s waters seemed to steep its flowers in dew.
The sweet-voiced nightingale there gladsome sung,
And rapture in its perfumed breezes hung.

And in one corner of his garden there was a rose-bush, fresher than the shrub of successful desire,and more lofty than the branch of the tree of delight. Every morning on the top of the rose-bush the roses blossomed, colored like the cheek of heart-alluring damsels with gentle minds, and the face of silver-bosomed maids, scented like jessamine. The gardener began to shew an exceeding fondness for these excellent roses, and said,

What the rose murmurs, know I not, again,
To wake the hapless Bulbul’s tender strain.

One day the gardener, according to his established custom, came to view the roses; he saw a plaintive Nightingale who was rubbing his face on the leaves and tearing asunder, with his sharp bill, the gold-besprinkled binding of that volume.

The nightingale that views the rose, grows blind,
And straight lets go the reins that rule the mind.

The gardener, beholding the scattered condition of the rose-leaves, tore, with the hand of confusion, the collar of patience, and pierced the mantle of his heart with the soul-transfixing thorn of uneasiness. The next day he found the same action repeated, and the flames of wrath, occasioned by the loss of his roses,

Wounded afresh the scar he had before.

The third day by the passes of the Nightingale’s bill,

The rose was ruined, thorns alone were left.

Then the resentment caused by the Nightingale broke out in the breast of the gardener; he set a deceitful springe in his way, and having caught him with the bait of treachery, confined him in the prison of a cage. The disheartened Nightingale opened his mouth, like a parrot, and said, ‘O Sir! for what cause hast thou imprisoned me? and for what reason hast thou resolved to distress me? If thou hast thus acted through desire of hearing my songs, my own nest is in thy garden, where in the morning thy bower shall be the house of my music; but if thou hast another idea, inform me, O venerable sir!* of what thou hast in mind’ The gardener said,

How long O God! wilt thou me pang? O rival, mayest thou not abide,
O God! how long conceal her cheek! cease, envious veil, her form to hide!*

Dost thou not know how thou hast spoiled my fortune, and how often thou hast distressed me with the loss of my favourite rose? it is right that thy action should be requited, and that thou, being separated from thy friends and country, and secluded from all joy and diversions, should’st mourn in the corner of a prison; whilst I, afflicted with the anguish of separation from my darling flowers, weep in the cottage of care.

Would’st be my friend, O Nightingale! then mourn along with me,
For we are two sad lovers and our business grief should be.’*

The Nightingale said, ‘Quit this resolve, and consider that if I am imprisoned for such an offence as tearing a rose, what will be thy punish­ment if thou tearest a heart asunder?’

He who by wisdom guides the spheres aright,
Will good and evil actions too requite.
He who does good will, justly, good ensue,
And evil-doers will receive their due.’

This discourse, taking effect upon the heart of the gardener, he set the Nightingale at liberty. The bird tuned his voice in his free state, and said, ‘Since thou hast done me this service, assuredly, according to the sentence, ‘Shall the reward of good works be any other than good?’* it is necessary to reward thee first. Know that under the tree where thou standest there is a vessel* full of gold; take it, and spend it to supply thy wants.’ The villager searched the spot and found the words of the Nightingale to be true. He said ‘O nightingale! what a wonder it is that thou couldst see the vessel [of gold] beneath the earth, and not discover the springe above ground!’ The Nightingale replied, ‘Dost thou not know that, ‘when fate descends caution is vain.’’

No one can war with the decrees of fate.

When the mandate of the Divine will has been issued, no light remains to the eye of understanding, and neither prudence nor wisdom bring any advantage.

Strive not to grapple with the grasp of fate;
Canst thou with feebleness success combine?
All vain, ’gainst destiny, thy watchful state;
Go, then, and to its force thyself resign.*

And I have invented this story in order that thou mayest perceive that I am not an opponent of the hand of destiny and omnipotent power, and have no alternative but to bow my head reverently on the writing of the Divine decree.’

By my Lord’s threshold—His—my friend’s—
My aims are bounded still.
For all that passes o’er me comprehends
But the expression of His will.

Damnah rejoined ‘O Shanzabah! what I am positively sure of, and know of a certainty,* is this, that what the lion meditates with respect to thee is neither owing to the slanders of thy enemies, nor the success of thy merit, nor the peevishness of kings; but it is rather consummate ingratitude and treachery which impels him to it: for he is a successful tyrant, a morose and perfidious person, and a deceiver. The beginnings of intercourse with him impart* the sweetness of life, but the issue of his services has the bitterness of death. We must regard him as a poisonous painted serpent: his outside adorned with various colors, but filled within with deadly venom, against which no antidote avails.

All guile and cunning, fraud and wiles, are there;
Nought truthful, patient, generous or fair.’

Shanzabah replied, ‘I have tasted the food of the honey of favor, it is now the time for the wound of the sting of oppression; and I have passed a long interval in mirth and ease, now is the season for the assault of adversity and war.

Yes! for a while thou hast, my heart! felt union’s fleeting gladness;
Now thou must taste of absence too, to part with all its sadness.

It was, in truth, death which grasped my collar and brought me into this wilderness, otherwise how was I fitted to associate with a lion? One who feeds upon me, and to whom I am food, he ought not to have been able to drag me to him even with a thousand cords, nor to plunge me by a hundred thousand stratagems or sleights into the snare of his friendship.

To join my fate with him, could I then hope for this?
On him from far to gaze were, sure, enough of bliss.

But the Divine decree, and thy too flattering words, O Damnah! plunged me into this vortex of destruction; and now the hand of counsel falls short of the skirt of remedy, and the course of events, by reason of my having neglected caution and forethought, is not in accordance with my wishes; and I, through my vain longings and unreasonable desires, have kindled such a fire as this for myself, so that, even ere the smoke has reached me, I am consumed by the heat of my grief and the flame of my disappointment.

What can I do? the act was mine—for self-done acts what cure?

And the sages have said, ‘Whoever is not content with a sufficiency of worldly gear, but pursues a superfluity, is like a person who arrives at a hill of diamonds, and every moment his sight falls on a larger piece, and, engaged with the thought of its greater value, he proceeds onward until he reaches the spot where he obtains the desired object, but his return becomes impracticable, because the fragments of the diamonds have cut and wounded his feet; but that heedless person, absorbed in his covetous fancies, is insensible to his situation, and, consequently, perishing most lamentably on that hill, is lodged in the craw of birds.’

Thy state grows worse by aiming far too high,
Then for a moderate but real profit try.

Damnah said, ‘Admirable are these words which thou hast uttered, for the source of every calamity which befalls a man will prove to be avarice and desire.

Quit that pernicious lust of gain, for them
Whom it afflicts, all, everywhere contemn.

The neck that is bound by the chain of covetousness is at last severed by the sword of regret, and the head in which the madness of desire has fixed itself will in the end be rubbed in the dust of disgrace. Many a one, from excess of covetousness and greed, has been led, by the hope of wealth, into the vortex of calamity; and has been involved, by the scent of gain, in ruinous disaster: just as that Hunter greedily desired to catch the fox, and the claws of the leopard tore the breath out of his body.’ Shanzabah said, ‘How was that?’