The Bráhman said, ‘They have related that in one of the islands of the Indian Ocean* there were many monkeys, and they had a king whose name was Kárdán.* The foundation of his empire was raised on much awe, and a perfect administration of justice; and the basis of his grandeur was strengthened by a will which brooked no delay, and a justice dealt out to all. His subjects, through the glad influence of his beneficence, placed the side of happy repose on the couch of security and peace, and the inhabitants of that country loosed the tongue of benediction and propitiation in praise of his unlimited liberality.

Wrong he repressed, and aid to justice lent;
God was well-pleased and man with him content.

He lived a very long time in happiness and prosperity, and passed from the spring of youth to the autumn of old age and weakness. Then the symptoms of decrepitude beginning to show themselves in his members, cheerfulness began to pack up its marching equipage to leave his heart, and light to quit his eye; and the plant of vigor, which had produced the fruits of desire, began, under the Samúm of debility and helplessness, to wither, and the lamp of mirth was extinguished by the violent blast of calamity and trouble, and the carpet of pleasure was folded up by the invasion of diseases and sufferings.

Seek not the signs of youth in aged men;
For to their source, streams ne’er return again.
Age must all passion from its thoughts remove,
Since with old age, expires the reign of love.
When age lets fall its snow-dust on the head,
Know that all hope of unmixed joy is fled.

And the custom of perfidious fortune is no other than this, that it changes the freshness of the rose-garden of youth into the dismal thorn-thicket of old age and makes turbid the sweet water* of wealth with the rubbish of the abasement of poverty. The happiness of its day is not separable from the suffering of its gloomy night; and its atmosphere, which shows at first so clear, is not without the dust of damage and injury.

Life’s joys with sorrows infinite the fates together weld;
Then not for pleasant-tasted wine in fortune’s goblet seek.
For who the water-lily in the garden ere beheld
But saw the tulip spotted with the tear-drops from its cheek?

This old husband-slaying beldam, which they call the world, presents herself to mortals in the apparel of a young bride, and with her fleeting jewels and untrustworthy ornaments, brings the heart of foolish simpletons into the snare of her love.

This world’s gear is but a pastime, to beguile poor infants fit;
Foolish are those simple mortals who are led astray by it.

And notwithstanding that she makes all this outward adornment a means of deceiving the victims of the plain of supineness, and employs this false stock of allurements for the demented ones of the bázár of appetite and lust; yet none of those who have bound her with the nuptial knot have succeeded in placing the hand of desire in the bosom of their wish, and not one of all who have brought* themselves into the net of union with her have for a single night reaped enjoyment according to the wish of their heart.

A fair bride is the world; but yet, be wise!
For none may wed this coy and curtained prize.

The puerile ones of the end of the street, ‘This present life is no other than a play, and a vain amusement,’* lie in her calamitous net, and are attached to her bewitching person, and are ignorant of the foulness of her interior, and the falseness of her promises, and the baseness of her nature, and the impurity of her disposition.

This world’s enjoyments, like a serpent’s skin,
Are chequered, soft, and venom-full within.
Rich men and poor, by her delusions bound,
Rejoice like one who dreams of treasure found.

And a wise man, the eyes of whose heart have been enlightened by the jeweled collyrium, ‘The world is a bridge, pass over it,* but do not repair it,’ gives no heed to its fleeting and delusive tales, nor sets his heart on the pursuit of its vain dignities and useless riches, and since he knows the instability of the world, and the uncertainty of its possessions, he turns his face to search for enduring happiness.

Plant thou a root whose produce blest, eternal joy shall be;
For in life’s garden spring fleets by, and autumn now we see.

In short, the rumor of the old age and decrepitude of Kárdán being spread abroad, his royal dignity and kingly awe suffered vast diminution; and a complete infraction and absolute weakening found way to the pillars of his princely majesty, and royal power and renown.

Thou mayst high fortunes—such as Jamshíd’s—share,
Yet hoary locks will bring with them despair.

It happened that one of the kinsmen of the king, a blooming youth, arrived there, on whose countenance were found the tokens of happy fortune, and in whose movements and attitudes the signs of auspicious destiny were con­spicuous. When the nobles beheld in him suitableness for the rank of king, and merit deserving the high office of ruler; and observed his vigor in promoting a rigid administration of justice, and in repressing tyranny, and in perfectly arranging the course of indulgence and protection of the people,

Thou, whose cheek bears the stamp of kingly sway!

they suffered his friendship to take a firm hold of their minds, and having brought their hearts into the bond of obedience and devotion to him, they said to one another,

‘When garden-wards morn’s breath begins to blow,
’Tis fitting that the young trees bow to it.
When the musk-willow blooms, ’tis spring, although
Their withered leaves the old trees’ boughs then quit.

This blooming youth, the plant of whose existence has obtained its growth on the margin of the rivulet of courtesy, possesses all the qualifications* to make the garden of the kingdom, through his means, full of foliage and fruit.

Behold this cypress, proudly stepping, make a garden of the world!’

And he, too, getting round the soldiery with caresses, and the people with conciliatory demeanor, presented each with a dress of honor suitable to his rank, and gratified them with the glad announcement of his munificent intentions, and with promises of land, and the good tidings of office and promotion; so that by a simultaneous movement of high and low they removed the broken-down old king from his office, and without a struggle or difficulty committed the reins of authority over the kingdom to the grasp of the sway of the young man.

On earth the throne with joy at this wide spread,
And o’er the sky the crown upraised its head.

The hapless Kárdán, when he was stripped of the robe of royalty, not being able to endure that indignity, made choice, through hard necessity, of expatriation; and withdrawing himself to the sea-shore took up his abode in an islet which possessed abundance of trees and much fruit, and contenting himself with the fresh and dry fruits which were to be found in that wilderness, consoled himself, saying,

‘With water and dry food content, I’m monarch of the sea and land.’

In this manner in that wild spot, adopting the character of resignation, he traversed with the step of abstemiousness the paths of worship and devotion; and night and day employed himself in making up for the time he had spent in the intoxication of sovereign power; and prepared, by penitence and contrition, provision for the road to a future state, and made ready with daily offerings of words and homage to God, a stock for his final journey; and rubbed off with the aid of the dawning light of old age the dimness which is imparted to the mirror of the breast by the darkness of the night of youth.

Age dawns at last; for one short breath, arise, and off thy slumbers shake!
At morning-time it is not well to slumber on—Awake! awake!

One day having ascended a fig tree, in which he passed most of his time, he was gathering figs. Suddenly one of them slipped from his paw and fell into the water, and the noise it made reaching the ear of the Monkey-king his frame thrilled with pleasure, and delight pervaded him. Every minute, to gratify himself in that way, he kept on throwing another into the water, and amused himself with the sound. It happened that a Tortoise had come on his travels from the other side of the water to that island, and stopping under that tree, was wishing to repose there for a day or two, and afterwards return to his wife and family. In short, at that very time when the Monkey was eating the figs, the Tortoise was in the water under the tree. Every time that a fig dropped into the water he devoured it with the greatest avidity, and fancied that the Monkey was throwing it in for him, and that he thought fit to shew this winning behaviour and kindness for his sake. Where­upon he reflected thus, ‘Here is a person who, without previous acquaintance, shews this beneficence towards me. Now, if the link of friendship and the bond of amity should be established between us, it is evident what a vast amount of favor and kindness would be manifested by him. And putting aside* worldly advantages, the companionship of such a person, in whose nature such virtues and admirable qualities are bound up, and on the pages of whose condition the pen of grace has written the verse of generosity and liberality, is one of the invaluable prizes of fortune. And assuredly, with the furbisher of his society, the dust of ennui may be effaced from the mirror of the heart; and by the light of his presence, the shades of disaster may be removed from the atmosphere of the bosom.

When the heart’s royal mirror* dim I find,
I ask from God a friend of serene mind.

He then resolved on seeking the society of the Monkey; and, raising his voice, offered the customary salutations, as is prescribed. Next he repre­sented the wishes he had formed for his friendship and companionship. The Monkey returned a favorable answer, and evinced the utmost rapture and the strongest inclination for his society, saying, ‘To shew an eagerness for amicable intercourse with comrades, and to seek strenuously to increase the number of our friends, is a praiseworthy quality and an amiable attribute; and whoever has a real friend and a pious brother derives exaltation and success in both worlds.

They who the friendship of the pious share,
Have what in both worlds will them lustre lend.
Not few are this world’s blessings—true! but where
Can one be found, so precious as a friend!’

The Tortoise said, ‘I aim at thy friendship and companionship, but I know not if I possess the requisite fitness for it.’ The Monkey said, ‘The wise have furnished scales for trying friendship, and have pronounced that although it is bad to be friendless altogether, yet it is not every one who is suited to be a friend; and friendship ought to be formed with one of three kinds of persons. The first kind consists of men of learning and devotion, since, by the blessing of their society, happiness may be obtained in this world and the next. Secondly, people of amiable qualities, who will conceal the errors of a friend, and will not withhold their advice from a comrade. Thirdly, such people as are devoid of selfishness and greediness, and who base their friend­ship on sincerity and true attachment. And it is a divine precept to shun the friendship of three classes. The first is the profligate and debauched, whose energies are expended in gratifying their carnal appetites, and whose companionship is neither a cause of happiness in this world, nor a means of obtaining mercy in the next. The second class is the false and traitorous, whose society is an excruciating torment, and whose converse is a huge misfortune. They will be ever speaking untruths of thee to others, and will bring from others to thee alarming and mischievous messages contrary to the truth. The third class is the fatuous and imbecile, in whom no confidence can be placed for securing advantage and in repelling injuries; and it often happens that what they have thought to be essentially good and advantageous, is absolutely bad and injurious.

How from his friendship canst thou aid obtain,
Who knows not good from ill, nor loss from gain?

And the apophthegm which they have uttered on this subject, viz., that ‘A wise enemy is better than an ignorant friend,’ may signify that when a foe is adorned with the ornament of good sense; he, being invested with fore­sight, does not inflict a wound till he sees a fitting opportunity; and hence, by observing in his movements and posture, the symptoms of revenge, it is possible to guard oneself against him. But a friend who is destitute of any share of the riches of wisdom, although he may attempt to make himself useful in deliberating on the measures advisable to be adopted, will render no service. And it is probable that the person he attempts to befriend will be caught in some dangerous strait through his defective judgment and mistaken opinions. Just as, from the Monkey that stood sentinel, it almost happened that the vessel of the life of the king of Kashmír fell into the whirlpool of destruction; and if the Thief, who was a wise enemy, had not cried out, it would have been impossible for that affair to have been remedied.’ The Tortoise inquired, ‘How was that?’