The King said, ‘They have related that a holy man of virtuous manners—whose august time, after the performance of his daily portions and prescribed prayers, used never to be spent save in exhorting the servants of God—as he passed through a desert place, beheld a Wolf which had opened the mouth of greediness and appetite, and had fixed the eye of covetousness on the road of search. It had devoted its whole spirit to injuring the innocent, and to depriving some animal of life, in order that it might take a part of it to gratify its own rebellious lusts.

See that unjust contentious caitiff, who
For one self-gain a hundred wrongs would do.

The holy man, who observed him in that state, and who perused from the page of his forehead the writing of violence and oppression, in accordance with his natural tenderness and innate clemency, began to admonish him and said, ‘Take care not to approach the sheep-flocks of men, nor to assail the oppressed and the helpless. For the end of injustice is divine punishment, and the conclusion of oppression results in disgrace and torture in the world to come.

‘They who have chosen an unjust career,
Do gyves on their own hands and feet impose.
What though they should some days their heads uprear,
Yet fortune in the end all such o’erthrows.’

In this manner he discoursed and used unbounded urgency in persuading him to abandon cruelty to the flocks of men. The Wolf said, ‘Be so good as to cut short thy advice, as there is a flock grazing behind this waste spot; I fear lest the opportunity for carrying off a sheep should be lost, and then regret will be unavailing.’

Now the object of adducing this story is to shew, that however much I exhort thee, thou persistest obstinately in thy purpose, and givest no heed to my words.

Say no more! The kindly-hearted are not dull or hard to teach,
Oft a word will win them, and their love a thousand years will reach.’

The Lark replied, ‘I have listened to your exhortations, but I have taken counsel of the preacher, wisdom. I regard him as intelligent who always keeps open the door of caution, and places before himself the mirror of experience. I have come to the place, where I am, through excessive fear and terror, and I wisely stand on the brink of the road to escape, and propose to myself a journey in order that I may not fall into the hands of any one; and it is forbidden me to delay longer than this, and to continue in this perplexity and hesitation would justly expose me to censure. For I know that the King looks upon the shedding my blood as lawful, and considers as permissible all that is conceivable in the code of honor. Where­fore my stay is irksome, and it is incumbent on me to depart quickly.

I’m gone, for longer stay delights me not.’

The King rejoined, ‘Here the means of support are ready for thee, and the doors of happiness and tranquillity open to the face of thy heart. It is altogether inexpedient* to choose voluntarily the hardships of travel and uncertainty as to arrangement for supplies.’ The Lark replied, ‘Whoever makes five qualities the provision for his way and the stock of his existence, go where he will, attains his objects, and acquires friends and comrades in whatever direction he may turn. The first is, to put away evil actions The second, to clothe himself in good conduct. The third is, to shun such things as will expose him to slander. The fourth is, to supply himself with a train of virtues. The fifth is, at all times to observe the duties and graces of social intercourse. One who combines all these qualities will nowhere be left in destitution, but people will cause the dreariness of his exile to be exchanged for the pleasures of friendship.

No town, no country, sees the wise man strange,

And when a man of understanding cannot be safe in the city of his birth, and in his fatherland, and among his own kinsmen and relations; he must of necessity choose to separate from his friends and connections, since for all these substitutes can be found, but there is no substitute for his own person.

If things proceed not to thy wish at home,
Be not a captive in woe’s house through blindness.
Go forth, nor wilt thou be unfriended; roam
Where’er thou wilt, thou there wilt meet with kindness.’

The King said, ‘For how long wilt thou go, and what length of time wilt thou stop away?’ The Lark replied, ‘O King! expect not that I will come back when I am gone, nor imagine a return after this departure; and this dialogue of ours strongly resembles that of the Arab and the Baker.’ The King inquired, ‘How was that?’