The Father said, ‘They have related that a Frog had taken up its abode beside a Snake, and fixed its dwelling hard by that cruel tyrant. As often as the Frog had young ones the Snake used to devour them, and pang her heart with the burning regret for the loss of her children. Now this Frog had a friendship with a Crab. One day she went to him and said, ‘O kind friend! excogitate for me some suitable device, for I have a powerful enemy and a mighty foe, against whom resistance is not to be thought of, and from whom it is not possible to remove or migrate,* for the spot where I have fixed my residence is an exceedingly pleasant place and heart-delighting abode. It is a meadow, the verdant environs of which are as exhilarating as the garden of heaven, and whose delicious breeze diffuses odour like the ringlets of the fair.

A hundred thousand flowers there are beaming,
The verdure smiling and the hushed waves dreaming.
Each flower is still a brighter hue assuming,
Each a far league the love-sick air perfuming.
The rose her book of hundred leaves* unfolding,
The tulip’s hand a cup of red wine holding.
The northern zephyr ambergris round spreading,
Still through its limits varied scents is shedding.

And no one would of his free choice abandon such a spot, nor withdraw his heart from this exemplar of the Paradise above.

My home is in the Magians’ street, how fair a spot is it!
No man of sense in all the world would such a dwelling quit.’

The Crab said, ‘Do not distress thyself, for one can pinion a strong enemy with the lasso of deceit, and precipitate a powerful foe into the snare of stratagem.

If one the grains of craft around him fling,
Sly birds enow he’ll to his snare soon bring.’

The Frog said, ‘What problem from a book of stratagems hast thou solved with reference to this? And what remedy hast thou secured to repel the assault of this malevolent foe?’ The Crab replied, ‘In such and such a place there is an ichneumon, contentious and mettlesome. Catch some fish and kill them, and drop them from in front of his hole to the abode of the snake, in order that the ichneumon may devour them one by one, and keep going on in quest of another. It is quite certain that when he comes to the Snake’s hole, he will carry him off too, and liberate thee from his wicked injuries.’* The Frog by this plan, which was in comformity with the decree of fate, slew the Snake, and when after this occurrence two or three days had passed, the ichneumon felt and inclination to bestir himself in quest of fish to eat,* and repeat what he had now become accustomed to. He again set out in search of fish by the same road that he had previously measured with the foot of desire, and as he found no fish he devoured the Frog with all its young.

Thou didst me from the wolf’s claws free; but now
I do at last perceive a wolf art thou.

And I have adduced this story to thee that the conclusion of deceit is embarrassment and the end of fraud and treachery is repentance and humiliation.

Do not into the vale of guile and fraud thy footsteps bend,
For thou wilt fall into the snare of sorrow in the end.’

The son said, ‘O father! curtail these speeches and suspend these remote and far-off anxieties, for this matter offers but little trouble and much advantage.’ The desire of gain and fondness for his son led the poor old man from the alighting-place of uprightness and religious principle into the wilderness of injustice and perfidy; and the recondite saying, ‘Verily your wives and your children are a temptation to you,’* was made patent. Having abandoned, then, the path of honorable feeling with neglect, and having entirely folded up the carpet of magnanimity, he thought fit to undertake a proceeding which is prohibited and forbidden both by law and custom, and in that dark night he placed himself in the tree, with a heart gloomy and foul. In the morning—when that judge of clear intelligence, the sun, showed himself in the tribunal of the sky, and the perfidy of black-visaged night became clear as day to mankind—the Ḳáẓí with a number of the notables, presented himself at the foot of the tree, and a crowd of people formed in lines to view the sight. The Ḳáẓí then turned his face towards the tree, and after stating the charge of the plaintiff and the denial of the defendant called upon him to explain the state of the case. Thereupon a voice issued from the tree,saying ‘Light-Heart has taken away the money and acted injuriously to Sharp-Wit, his partner.’ The Ḳáẓí was astonished, and sagaciously discerned that some one was concealed in the tree, and that some adroit contrivance would be required to capture him.

Each secret plan from reason’s eye concealed,
Can but by counsel’s mirror be revealed.

He then gave orders for them to collect a quantity of firewood, and deposit it round the tree, after which they set fire to it, so that they extorted a cry of anguish* from that imprudent and vain schemer. The covetous old man for some time bore with it, but when he saw that his life was in peril, he called for quarter, and the Ḳáẓí, having brought him out and comforted him, inquired how matters stood. The half-burned old man gave a true narration of what had occurred, and the Ḳáẓí, being informed of the circumstances, related to the people the honest disposition and forbearance of Light-Heart, and the perfidy and villainy of Sharp-Wit, and simultaneously with this, the fraudulent old man removed the furniture of life from this transitory world to the mansion of eternity, and in the heat of his burning worldly passions arrived in the flames of the next world’s penal fire. The son, too, after suffering the severest punishment and roughest usage, had to put the corpse of his father on his shoulders, and so betake himself to the city: while Light-Heart, through the blessing of his truth and honesty, and integrity and good parts, received back his gold and proceeded to occupy himself with his own matters.

And the moral to be drawn from the relation of this story is, that people may know that the final result of deceit is distasteful, and the conclusion of treachery is misfortune and contempt.

Who in the narrow pass of fraud dares tread,
Will at the last bring ruin on his head.
Fraud, like a snake bicephalous, uprears
A double danger and alternate fears:
That head may wound the enemy ’tis true,
But this darts mischief on its fosterer, too.’

Damnah said, ‘Thou hast fixed on prudence the name of deceit, and given to counsel the title of fraud and perfidy. I have managed this affair with sound judgment and effected this important matter with just discernment.’ Kalílah replied, ‘Thou art at such a point in imbecility of judgment and weakness of counsel that the tongue fails in describing it, and such is thy position as to baseness of mind and overpowering greediness of place that explanation is helpless in narrating it. To thy master and benefactor, the advantages of thy craft and deceit are such as thou seest, so that in the end, what will be the punishment and torture which will overtake thee! for the infamy of thy double-face and double-tongue, will yield an evil result.’ Damnah rejoined, ‘What harm is there in having a double face? for the delicate rose by being double-faced, forms the ornament of the garden; and what fear from being double-tongued? for the pen of the minister with its two tongues, is the safeguard of property and land. The sword which has but one face—its office is to drink blood; while the comb, which has two faces, rests on the place where the hair is parted—on the forehead of the lovely.

He, like the sword, drinks blood, this world* among,
Who from close nature* has one face—one tongue:
But he, bilingual, two-faced, like the comb,
Will on men’s foreheads, chief-like, find his home.’

Kalílah answered, ‘O Damnah! cease this rhetoric, for thou art not that double rose that the eye should be refreshed by gazing on thy beauty, but rather the heart-afflicting thorn from which nought but injury results to men; nor art thou that two-tongued pen that thou shouldest furnish information of the secrets of state and of the empire: nay, thou art the forked-tongued serpent, the wound of whose fang is nought but fatal poison. Moreover, the serpent, even, is better and more excellent than thou, for from one of his tongues comes poison, and from the other the antidote, while venom rains from both thy tongues, and neither has the vestige or trace of an antidote: and it is proper that from a man’s tongue all that is salutary should be pro­duced for his friends, though if poison be brought forth for his foes, it is right enough; according as a sage has said,

Poison and antidote my tongue supplies,
This for my friends—that for my enemies.’

Damnah said, ‘Leave off rebuking me, for, perhaps, a reconciliation will spring up between the Lion and Shanzabah, and the foundation of friendship and concord may be again laid.’ Kalílah replied, ‘This speech again belongs to the class of sayings which are fraught with impossibility; but thou, perhaps, hast not learned that three things are stable before the occurrence of three things, but, after that, their stability enters into the category of impossi­bilities, and their abiding into the class of things that cannot be. First, the water of a fountain and conduit is sweet so long as it has not reached the sea, but when it has joined the ocean, thenceforward purity and sweetness are not to be expected from it. Secondly, unanimity amongst relations continues so long as malevolent and wicked men have not intruded between them: but after the interference of evil and ill-disposed persons, harmony and concord in the circle of relatives and kinsmen are not to be looked for. Thirdly, the reservoir of companionship and friendship will continue clear so long as they allow tale-bearers and mischief-makers no opportunity of speaking; but when double-faced and double-tongued persons find the means of introducing their calumnies between two affectionate friends, no confidence can after that be placed in their friendship; and hereafter, if the Ox should escape from the claws of the Lion, it is not possible that he should be moved by his courtesies or kind speeches, or should show any eagerness for reconciliation and a renewal of confidence, and, even on the supposition that the gates of amity could remain open, each would be apprehensive of the other.’

The broken cord may yet be joined again,
But in the midst a knot will aye remain.

Damnah said, ‘If I relinquish my attendance on the Lion, and keep assiduously to the border of my cot, and, seizing with the hand of eager pur­pose the skirt of the advantages of thy society, should place the head of seclusion in the collar of retirement, what then?’ Kalílah replied, ‘Heaven forbid that I should associate with thee longer, or incline again to thy society, and I have all along been kept in terror by intimacy with thee, and in my heart have unceasingly repudiated thy alliance. For the learned have said, ‘One should abstain from the society of the ignorant and depraved, and embrace the service of the sensible and good, since union with vicious and profligate persons is like fostering a snake. However great pains the snake-catcher may take in looking after the serpent, in the end it will give him a taste of poison from its gums;* and attendance on men of understanding and virtue resembles the tray of the perfumer, of which, though one may not get any of the contents, the sweet odour of its extract of roses will yet eventually fill his nostrils with fragrance.

Be like the perfume-sellers, for thy dress
Near them will share the odors they possess.
How long wilt thou, like to the blacksmith’s forge,
Thick smoke and sparks on all sides round disgorge?

O Damnah! how can one hope for faithfulness and kindness from thee?—thou who hast thought fit to practice such behaviour towards a king; and ignore the favors of him who has made thee his friend and honored [minister], his confidential adviser, and illustrious to such a degree, that, under the shadow of his fortunes, thou mountest elevated like the sun; and by means of attending on whose heaven-resembling threshold, thou dost place the foot of boasting on the forehead of the twin polar stars.

In thee no gratitude, no shame, is left,
Thou art of manly honour all bereft.

And from such a person, should I choose to remove myself a thousand leagues, a lofty understanding would hold me excused, and if I abandon the society of so worthless a person, reason will affirm that I have been rightly guided.*

From fellowship of seeming friends ’t were better far to part:
Absence is better than, with one thou lovest not, to stay.
A comrade whose society delighteth not thy heart,
’T were best from him a hundred leagues to be removed away.

And just as the companionship of the good and pious possesses immense advantages, so association with base and wicked persons produces infinite mischief, and the society of the bad is rapid in its effects, and its injurious results manifest themselves in a very brief period; wherefore it behoves him that is thoroughly wise to form friendship with men of wisdom and of praiseworthy conduct and veracious and amiable manners, and to avoid false, slanderous, unamiable and profligate companions.

Since on mankind thy door thou canst not close,*
Nor in thy lonely closet sole repose,
Bestow thy friendship on the good, for it
Is not for each dark-hearted miscreant fit.
This saying of a sage recurs to me—
(God’s mercy on his saintly spirit be!)
‘He who of foolish men becomes the friend.
Will find their friendship troublous in the end.’

And whoever chooses an unworthy friend or leans upon the aid of an ignorant person, will meet with what that Gardener met with.’ Damnah inquired, ‘How was that?’