The Crow said, ‘I had my nest on a tree in the skirt of a mountain, and in my neighborhood there was a Partridge. In consequence of our proximity, the feelings of friendship between us were strengthened to the utmost, and from constantly seeing him I had become familiar with him, and at our leisure-seasons a conversation would spring up between us. All of a sudden he disappeared, and the time of his absence was protracted, so that I began to suspect he had perished, and after a long interval a Quail came and took up his residence in the Partridge’s abode. Since, however, I was uncertain as to the fate of the Partridge, I did not quarrel with the Quail for what he did; and I said,

‘One goes and straight another fills his place.’

Some time elapsed after this circumstance, and the circling heavens made several revolutions, when the Partridge returned, and seeing another in his abode, began to quarrel, saying, ‘Give up my place and vacate my lodging.’ The Quail replied, ‘The house is now in my occupancy and I am the possessor; if thou hast the right to it, thou must exert thyself to prove it.’ The Partridge replied, ‘Thy possession is by violence and usurpation, and I hold proofs and documents as to this matter.’ In short, a downright quarrel arose between them, and the fire of mischief blazed higher every instant, and the flag of obstinacy and strife was each moment held more aloft; and however much I tried, by artifice, to reconcile them, it was all in vain, and it was decided that reference should be made to the judge, that he might hear what both parties had to say, and having issued his commands as justice should require, might terminate their dispute. The Partridge said, ‘Hard by there is a cat, pious and abstemious, devout and uninjurious. Always during the day he fasts, and passes the night-hours in devotion; and from the time when they beat the kettle-drum of the golden-throned Jamshíd of the sun, in the vestibule of the palace, ‘The heaven we have built,* till the time when they spread the carpet of the sable-vested sovereign of the night in the expanse, ‘And we have stretched forth the earth,’* he melts his precious soul into the crucible of abstemiousness with the fire of hunger. And from the hour when the calvacade of the stars and the host of the fixed stars come rushing into the plain of the sky; and the period when the chamberlains of omnipotence, with the candle of the world-beautifying dawn which gleams from the ascending-place of the horizon, display to the inhabitants of the regions of the earth the tokens of the outposts of the sun, (which warns the world that this ascetical cat stands taper-like on the foot of devotion and melting with the heat of religious fervor and the blaze of heavenly love, showers down tears,

His tears wash out all creature-sympathies,
And in want’s cell he seeks a heavenly prize;
On both worlds turns his heel, does all disown,
Strange to himself and bound to God alone.)

the breaking of his fast is limited to water and herbs, and the injuring any living thing and spilling its blood is far removed from his habits. No ḳáẓí can be more just than he, nor can we secure any better arbiter to give a rightful decision between us. Let us go to him, that he may settle our case.’ Both parties consented, and proceeded to the house of the judge. I, too, following their footsteps, set out—being desirous of seeing this fast-keeping cat, (which, thought I, is surely one of the wonders of the world), and of observing his justice in deciding between the litigants. No sooner did that perpetual faster set eyes on them, than he stood upon his right foot and turned his face towards the sanctuary, and assuming the air of a pilgrim engaged in the performance of the ceremonies of devotion, entered upon a prayer of prodigious length, and with the most intense deliberation persevered in making genuflexions with the most scrupulous exactness.

The key of hell’s gate is that prayer, I trow,
Which thou protractest in the gaze of men:
Since none is worse, more vile within, than thou,
Why honor’s gilding for thy outside then?

The Quail was astonished at his demeanor, and the Partridge seriously contemplated his proceedings. They waited till he had finished his prayer, and having humbly offered their respectful salutation, requested that he would be judge between them, and settle their lawsuit about the house, according to the decrees of justice. The cat, after they had importuned him and pressed him excessively, bade them state their case. The Partridge and Quail then represented the circumstances. ‘Young people,’ quoth the Cat, ‘old age has made a great change in me, and my external senses have suffered a complete decline. The revolution of the mill-stone of the circling heavens has sprinkled the dust of decrepitude upon my head, and the wintry hand of the cruel autumn of life has taken away the moisture of freshness and vigor from the plant of the garden of existence; and the night* of youth, which is the cause of all strength and energy, has been exchanged for the morning of hoary age, which is an accumulation of all defects.

Alas! youth’s season has gone by; and set,
For aye, life’s joyous sun. Thou knowest how
Hopes, lessening, fade; and still augments regret;
And all my buoyancy has left me now.

Come nearer and speak louder, and tell me your pretensions again, in order that I may become acquainted with the claim of the plaintiff and the reply of the defendant, and may be able to pass sentence, and before I proceed to do so, I may favor you with some friendly advice, and may deliver some admonition comprising your welfare in the things of faith and of this world.

If my advice to-day in vain is spent,
God grant to-morrow thou may’st not repent!

If you will listen to my words with the ear of the heart, and bring them into the place of acceptance, you will reap the fruits thereof, both in this world and in that which is to come; and if you are refractory and violate its tenor, at least, I am absolved as regards my own conscience and honor.

I will perform the adviser’s duty: what
Remains is thy concern, to do or not.

The best thing is, that both of you should seek the path of right and not choose to swerve from the way of uprightness, nor be deluded by the wealth and effects of the world, which incline towards the place of annihilation and decay. Nor, owing to the acquisition of some trifle from the rubbish of this transitory world by wrong appropriation, deprive yourselves of the final reward and enduring bliss.’ The Partridge said, ‘O righteous judge! if men restricted their endeavors to the pursuit of what is right, and if every one made the quality of conscientiousness and uprightness his habit, there would be no need of tribunals nor of troubling judges, and the custom of plea and rejoinder, and of swearing and giving evidence, would be erased from the surface of the book of Time. But when the eyes of each of the two—plaintiff and defendant—is afflicted with the ophthalmia of selfish motives, truth is not visible to them, and, consequently they stand in need of some one whose eyes are brightened with the jeweled collyrium of truth, and around the mirror of whose vision the dust of self-interest has not settled; in order that he may display to them the loveliness of what is right, and bring it beautifully forth to the eye of their heart; and this very subject has been elucidated in a metrical story by one of the eminent persons in the faith.’ The cat asked, ‘How was that?’