The Bráhman said, ‘They have related that in the country of Hindústán there was a Jackal, by name Farísah,* who had averted his face from the world, and had turned his back on its vain affairs. He lived among his fellows and those of his own race, but he abstained from eating flesh and spilling blood and hurting animals.

His lips he crimsoned with the blood of none,
And did with carefulness bad actions shun.

His comrades commenced a wrangle with him, and began a dispute, the tendency of which was towards strife and contest, and said, ‘We do not feel satisfied with this disposition of thine, and we blame thy judgment in this procedure. Inasmuch as thou dost not turn away from our intercourse, thou oughtest to agree with our habits and character, and since thou dost not snatch away the skirt of consentaneousness from our society, thou shouldest not withdraw thy head from the collar of coincidence. Moreover, to pass precious life in prohibition, and to keep thyself incarcerated in the prison of austerity, is of little utility. Besides, it is right to demand what is due as thy portion of the enjoyments of the world, that thou mayest have thy share of the drink, ‘And forget not thy portion in this world.’* Nor is it right to relinquish eating and drinking which form an essential support of life, in order that thou mayest comply with the command, ‘Eat and drink;’* and thou shouldest know well the fact that yesterday cannot be recalled, and it befits us not to make sure of gaining the morrow. What is the use, then, of losing to-day? and of foregoing the enjoyment of [present] pleasures?

Come! from life a blissful moment now in secret borrow,
For not one can tell us here the changes of to-morrow.’

The Jackal replied, ‘Since ye know that yesterday is past, and will return no more, and that a sensible man does not rely on the morrow, lay up something to-day in store, that may serve as provision for the [final] journey.

Ransack to-day each corner for the things
To feed thee in to-morrow’s journeyings.

And the world, full as it is of faults, has at least this one merit, that it is, as they have called it, the seed-ground of the final state, and the seed that thou sowest therein, the same thou wilt reap in the resurrection; [as it is said], ‘To-day is the sowing and to-morrow is the harvest.’

Strive thou to-day to sow with might and main,
To-morrow leaves thee not a single grain.
Art thou neglectful now to sow this earth?
Thou wilt not then be half a millet worth.

It behoves a man of sense therefore to expend all his energies in securing a recompense in the final state, and this he may do by the performance of alms and pious works; and he should set his heart on enduring happiness and eternal delights, and this is to be brought about by forsaking the affairs of this deceitful world and fleeting abode.

Do not thou thy heart, I pray thee, on this fleeting threshold place!
Elsewhere they the firm foundations of joy’s mansions for thee trace.

To-day that ye have the power and canst do so, gallop the steed of abstinence in the plain of holy warfare, and store up for sickness the fruits of health, and acquire interest from the capital of youth for the flagging market of old age, and from the advantages of life prepare provisions for the journey through the desert of annihilation and extinction. A sage has said, ‘Today ye have the power and lack the knowledge, and to-morrow ye will have the knowledge and lack the power,’ [according to the text] ‘Alas! that I have been negligent in my duty to God.’*

What use the power since I wist not too?
And when I wist I lacked the power to do.

Worldly enjoyment, like the lightning’s flash, is unenduring, and its sufferings, too, like the dark shadow of a cloud, have no continuance. One ought not, then, to become attached to the gain of its good things, nor to grieve at the hardship of its trials.

What though it yield! its smiles no joy bestow:
And its withdrawal is not worth our woe.

The sum of the matter is, that to devote the heart to attachment to this cell of misery appears to be far removed from nobility of mind; and to erect an edifice in the channel of the torrent of annihilation seems inconsistent with perfect foresight. [Thus it is said] ‘Pass over it and do not build it:’ this hired mansion and place, soon to be abandoned,

Try not to build, but leave it to decay.’

The other animals replied, ‘O Farísah! bid us not abandon the enjoy­ments of the world, for it is a world excellent for the purpose for which it was created, which was that we might reap advantage from it, and enjoy the fruition of its delights. And the recondite saying, ‘And we provided good things for their sustenance,’* is a proof of this assertion.’ Farísah replied, ‘The real excellence of the world consists in its being the implement* by which a wise man obtains a good name and enduring mention; and by the means of which he acquires provision for the journey to that place to which all must return; so that, in accordance with the saying, ‘Honest wealth is a good thing,’ riches become the cause of his happy end, not the means of his punishment and disgrace. And ye, if ye desire happiness in this world, give ear to these words; and, for the sake of pleasant food, the gratification of which does not extend beyond the gullet, do not think it permissible to destroy an animal, and be content with what ye can get without molesting or paining others, and do not exceed such a quantity as will suffice for the sustenance of the frame and the support of the body. Nor require of me to conform to you in that which is contrary to law and reason. For my mere association with you does not lead to harm, but my participation in blameable actions would be the cause of my being punished; and if ye mean to annoy me by these vexatious importunities, give me leave rather to abandon your society, and betake myself to the corner of retirement.

I’ll hie me to some quiet corner, and on mankind shut my door.’

When Farísah’s companions saw that his foot was firmly planted on the carpet of abstinence and piety, they were convinced, and became ashamed of having spoken these words, and loosed the tongue of apology to excuse themselves. As for Farísah, he in a short time attained such eminence in piety and virtue that the recluses of that country were in the habit of imploring spiritual succor from his soul; and those who were hastening over the tract of religious improvement continually besought the aid of the favor of his directing glance. After a short interval the fame of his austerities and uprightness was diffused through the environs of that region, and the celebrity of his devotion and religious life penetrated the adjoining parts of that territory. Now, hard by the place where Farísah lived, there was a jungle, abounding in streams and springs of water, and trees of various kinds. In the midst of it was a meadow, such that the garden of Iram from envy of its freshness withdrew its face beneath the veil of concealment, and the invigorating influence of its cool northern breezes bestowed immortal life on the fainting heart.

Its rapture-giving plain did life renew,
Its breeze, invigorating, banished care.
Fringing its streamlet’s lip, all moist with dew,
Verdure upsprang such as one might compare
To the soft down of tender stripling fair.

And in that spot many wild animals and beasts of prey had collected, and by reason of the amplitude of the expanse and the delightfulness of the air various beasts and reptiles reposed there, and their king was a lion, terrible and dreadful, a monster, frightful and awe-inspiring.

His roar was louder than the thunder crash,
His eyes like lightning fire seemed forth to flash.

The whole body of the inhabitants of that jungle were constrained to obey him and passed their time under the protection of his majesty, and in the asylum of his awe. They called him Kámjúí,* and under this title his fame had spread through all parts of that country. One day, Kámjúí was con­versing on divers subjects with his grandees, and had opened the road of various discourse. In the midst of the conversation the story of Farísah was introduced, and such were the encomiums of his perfect virtue and blameless life that from all quarters reached the ears of the monarch, that he wished with heart and soul for his society.

They did to him a place, though yet his cheek beheld was not,
As to the pupil of their eyes, upon their eyes allot.

In short, as the desire of Kámjúí to converse with Farísah passed all bounds, he sent some one to require his attendance; and Farísah, on his part, in obedience to the imperial command, presented himself in the world-sheltering court. The king having received him with the prescribed forms of respect, bestowed on him the honor of a seat in the high assembly, and tested his real condition in various points of devotion and spiritual knowledge. To be brief, he found that Farísah was a boundless sea in developing virtuous excellencies and high accomplishments, and saw that he was a gem-scattering treasure in the knowledge of the particulars of perfect truth. Again, he made trial of him in the matter of subtlety and in the transaction of important business, and in eloquence of speech and justness of deliberation; and found the coin of his condition of full value on the touchstone of acceptance.

Gold that is pure, why should it dread the test?

Kámjúí was pleased with his society, and cultivated an intimacy with him. After some days he called him to a private audience, and said, ‘O Farísah! my realm is of wide extent, and the transactions of it are vast, and they brought to my royal hearing the tidings of thy piety and abstinence, and I

Held the unseen more dear than if I saw.

And now that I have seen thee, what I see exceeds what I heard; and hearing proves inferior to the sight.

I heard earth’s regions did not hold a second such as thou,
I see thou dost a thousand-fold surpass that rumor now.

I will now place confidence in thee, and entrust to thee the affairs of government and finance, so that thy rank being elevated by my patronage, thou wilt be admitted into the class of my special and intimate favorites, and wilt be distinguished through the blessings of my condescension and the happiness of my favor, from thy fellows and brethren, yea, even from all thy contemporaries, by the honor of my selection and the excellence of thy dignity.

Who on my glorious threshold lays his head
Will gain a throne ere yet a week be fled.’

Farísah replied, ‘It behoves kings that for state-affairs they should select proper helpers and becoming assistants; and, moreover, it is requisite for them not to force an employment upon any one against his consent. For when they by compulsion thrust* office upon a person, who is unable to execute it rightly, and is incompetent to the proper discharge of its duties, the disastrous result thereof recoils upon the king, and the sin of the disobedience of the functionary comes back upon the ruler.

Now the drift of this discourse is, that I am averse to affairs of state, and possess no knowledge nor experience in them. And thou art a king of great majesty and a monarch of high dignity; and in thy service are many wild animals and beasts of prey, endued with strength and ability, and noted for their qualities of uprightness and honesty, and who are anxiously looking out for such employment. If thou wilt be pleased to bestow on them thy favor and regard, they will keep the royal mind at ease from all anxiety as to the management of affairs of importance, and will be pleased and benefited by the presents and offerings which they will obtain for under­taking office.’ Kámjúí answered, ‘What advantage hast thou from thus rejecting my offer? and what profit dost thou see in repelling my proposals? And for my part, I will assuredly not excuse thee, and with thy will or against it will hang the chain of undertaking this affair on the neck of thy care.

Willing or not, thou dost belong to me.’

Farísah said, ‘The business of the king should devolve on two kinds of men. Of these, one is the acute, uncompromising person, who with extreme energy and boldness, pursues his object; and having succeeded by craft and subtlety, does not become a butt for the arrow of opposition. The second, is a careless and weak-minded individual, who has become habituated to degradation, and who cares not for dishonor, and disregards the loss of reputation and character.* Now such a person is not exposed to envy, nor does any one oppose or strive with him. And I am not of these two classes. I am not swayed by cupidity, so as to play the traitor; nor have I a low disposition so as to endure patiently the load of infamy.

By God! whose hand in all things we discern,
Who made the wise self-guidance to retain.
My soul the empire of both worlds would spurn,
If bought by one dishonorable stain.

The king must abandon this idea, and excuse me from undertaking the burthen of this task; for it is now a long time since I have sewed up the eye of pert cupidity with the needle of contentment; and have consumed with the flashing fires of abstinence, the vain ware of avarice, which is subject to so many wants. And should the king contaminate me again with worldly matters, the same thing will befall me which befell the Flies who had settled in the vessel of honey.’ The Lion asked, ‘How was that?’