Farísah said, ‘They have related that one day a pure-minded faḳír, whose step was firm in the path of spirituality, was passing along the bázár. A poor man,* a confectioner, who had a fellow-feeling for the indigent,* requested the holy man that he would rest for a moment at his door. The spiritually gifted faḳír, to gratify him, took his seat there; and the master sweetmeat-maker, by way of imploring a blessing, filled a cup with honey and set it before the darvesh. The Flies (according to their custom of rushing upon sweet things, and of not suffering themselves to be driven away, however much one may try to get rid of them,

The shop of the confectioner, that is the place for flies,)

all at once settled in swarms on the cup of honey. Some alighted on the side of the cup, and a few threw themselves into it. The confectioner seeing that the attacks of the Flies went beyond all bounds, flourished a fan for driving away insects; those that were at the side of the cup, easily took wing and went off; while the feet of those who had seated themselves within, having stuck in the honey, when they tried to fly, their wings became smeared with the honey, and they fell into the snare of destruction. The pious darvesh was greatly amused, and began to utter wild cries of delight. After the sea of the shekh’s mind grew calm, and the waves of the ocean of ecstacy and rapture had abated, the confectioner said, ‘O holy man! I have not withheld from thee material sweetmeats, and do thou not with­hold from me that spiritual matter which was disclosed* in thy recent transports.

Thy sweet lips open and pour sugar forth.’

The shekh replied, ‘They represented to me in this cup of honey the vile world, and the greedy and covetous competitors for it, and a secret and inspired voice said to me, ‘Know that this cup is the world, and this honey its dainties; and these flies those that pursue them. And those that sit on the side are the contented faḳírs, who are satisfied with a small morsel from the table of the world; and the others, which are inside the cup, are the greedy and covetous, whose conceit is, that as they are inside they will get the greater share; but they are ignorant of the import of the saying, ‘Food is allotted.’ However, when ’Izráil waves the fan of departure, those that are on the side fly away easily and return to their nest ‘in the assembly of truth, in the presence of a most potent king;’* while those that are seated inside, the more they struggle, get their feet the deeper entangled, and remain in the strait, ‘Afterwards we rendered him the vilest of the vile,’* and the issue of their affairs terminates in eternal misery and ruin.

Why, as the price of one poor morsel paid
Should we all this indignity endure?
Contentment choose—be this thy stock-in-trade,
Treasure without it there is none—be sure.’

And this story has been adduced in order that the king may not besmear the wings and feathers of my happy state with the honey of the world. It may be that when the time for demanding restitution of my spirit arrives, I may be able to travel easily the road to the final state.

So spend thy life, that should they say ‘Depart!’
Thou mayst the call obey with all thy heart.’

Kámjúí replied, ‘If any one keeps his eyes fixed on what is right, and standing firm on the path of equity omits no particle of justice, and protects the oppressed from the sparks of the injuries of the tyrannical, and listens with a pleased heart and smiling countenance to the words of the afflicted, assuredly in this world his fortunes will be honored with permanency, and in the next he will attain to the exaltation of high dignity and blessedness.’ Farísah said, ‘If in officiating under kings all obligations are fulfilled, the perfume of final salvation may then reach the nostrils; but in this world the state of a courtier cannot possibly be permanent or unchanging, nor can his office continue for a long time fixed and secure; for as soon as one has been exalted by being granted nearer access to the king, even friends begin to view him with estranged looks, and foes, too, make his life a target for the arrow of calamity. And when a party coalesce, in hostility to him, of course he cannot be safe, nor can he live tranquilly. Nay, though he should set his foot on the top of the planet Saturn, he will not secure his head.’ The Lion answered, ‘Since thou hast obtained my favor, do not plunge thyself into imaginary dangers, for the sincerity of my good opinion is a bar to the mischievous plots of slanderous enemies. With a single chastisement I will close up the path of their machinations, and convey thee to the utmost limit of good cheer and safety.

Are friends with us? what matter if foes plot!’

Farísah rejoined, ‘If the king’s intention in thus raising me and bringing me into notice, is to do me a benefit, it would be more suitable to his imperial kindness and condescension and his infinite justice and impartiality to leave me to go about safe and at my ease in this desert; and of all the good things of this world to content myself with water and herbs, and so keep aloof from the injury of the envy and malice of friend and foe. And this is certain that a short life in peace, and happiness, and freedom from care, and health, is better than a long one in fear and dread, and mental fatigue and labor.

One breath, with ease of mind, is better far
Than thousand years, which disappointments mar.’

Kámjúí responded, ‘Thou must put far from thy thoughts the irritating doubts of fear, and allocating thyself with me, must take on thy responsibility the administration of affairs.’ Farísah replied, ‘If the case is so, and all my deprecation and rejection are unavailing, I must have a letter of immunity, that when high and low rise up against me,—the former in the hope of getting my post, and the latter through fear of their sinking lower,—the king may not be alienated from me by their whisperings, and may think it right to ponder and weigh their insinuations, and may fulfil all that is proper in examining* into my case, and the mischievous accusations of those who seek to do me hurt.

Be not displeased at every slanderous word,
Friends are soon left, if foes be lightly heard.’

The Lion made a covenant with him, and gave him a promise, and then delivered to his charge his effects and treasures; and distinguished him above all his retainers and attendants by unbounded favor. He deliberated too on affairs of importance with him alone, and revealed the state-secrets to none but him. Every day the Lion’s confidence in him increased, and his intimacy with the lion, and the esteem in which the latter held him augmented, until their friendship reached the utmost limit possible, and their union was thoroughly cemented. Farísah was not absent one moment from attending on the lion, nor could Kámjúí rest an instant without his society.

’Tis thus, when friendships reach the utmost bound.

This state of things became irksome to the favorites of the Lion, and a body of the Pillars of the State came to an agreement hostile to Farísah, and bound themselves by a promise of acting consentaneously in opposition to him. They passed whole days in devising his ruin, and whole nights in compassing his removal. At last all unanimously resolved to accuse him of treason, in order that the mind of Kámjúí, which never swerved from the path of justice and uprightness, might be estranged from him, and that the Lion’s belief in his honesty, which quality he conceived to be perfectly manifested in him, might be shaken. ‘Thereupon’ (thought they) ‘great openings may be obtained, and endeavours may be used for humbling and overthrowing him.

By slow degrees we may advances make,
Till the foundation of his power we shake.’

They then suborned an individual to steal a portion of flesh which they had set apart for the Lion’s breakfast, and hide it in Farísah’s cell.

And when the Lion, golden-clawed, next day,
From heaven’s den began to take his way,

the nobles and ministers formed rank in attendance, and the notables and officials presented themselves at the court of the king. Farísah had gone on some business of the utmost importance in some other direction. The Lion was waiting for his return, and uttered not a word except in praise of his ability and understanding and knowledge.

‘Theme of my tongue, life’s solace is his name,
No moment flies but I repeat the same.’

The time for the Lion’s meal arrived, and his savage appetite being excited, he was overpowered with the violence of his hunger. The more they sought for the flesh which was apportioned to the king, the less they found it. The Lion was exceedingly enraged, and at this crisis Farísah was absent and his enemies present. When they perceived that the fire of the Lion’s hunger was joined to the heat of his wrath, they began their mis­chievous tricks; and finding the oven of his fury hot, they shut in their unleavened bread. One of them said, ‘There is no alternative but we must acquaint the king, and represent all we know as to his majesty’s advantage or detriment, though it may not suit certain persons.’ Kámjúí, his attention being thus drawn, said, ‘It behoves loyal attendants and attached retainers at no time to neglect the duty of giving advice, and in recognition of the obligations they are under for favors received, to report at fitting times what they know and can tell.

They only loyal, grateful are, in sooth,
Who never from their king conceal the truth.

Report what thou hast heard, and say what thou hast seen.’ One of those traitrous slanderers and ill-judging sycophants replied, ‘They have informed me that Farísah conveyed that flesh towards his own house.’ Another, in a doubtful way, interposed with a remark intended to answer a different purpose than the apparent one,* and said, ‘I cannot believe this, for he is an inoffensive and trustworthy animal.’ Another, commencing craftily, exclaimed, ‘We must be cautious in this matter, for everyone has his friends and enemies, and through interested motives they assert things which are not the fact, and we cannot quickly know men’s characters, nor can we be easily informed of men’s secrets.’ Another, interposing with greater bold­ness, said, ‘Such is the case, and intelligence of secrets and acquaintance with men’s minds are not readily acquired. But if the flesh be found in his house, whatever is rumored of his treason among high and low, and small and great, will be true.’ At this crisis, Kámjúí lost the reins of self-control, and exclaimed, ‘What do men say with regard to him? and how do they establish his treason?’ One of those present, who was in league with the adverse faction, said, ‘O king! the report of his perfidy and deceit has been widely diffused among the inhabitants of this jungle, and if he be a traitor he will never carry his life out safe from this whirlpool, and the disastrous results of his treason will quickly reach him.’ Another of the interested ones loosed the tongue of mischief, and said, ‘A number of persons did certainly always spread this report of him, but I hesitated to credit it. Now that I hear this history, it has almost come to pass that the gloom of my doubt is exchanged for the light of certainty.’ Another added, ‘His frauds and deceit before, too, were not hidden from me, and I have such a one and such a one as witness that the affairs of this pretended saint would end in disgrace, and that some grave offence and enormous crime would be per­petrated by him. On this head they have said,

‘The false of heart will be disgraced at last.’

Another said, ‘It is strange that, notwithstanding pretensions to religious poverty and pure-mindedness, and the ascetic’s garb and good intentions, a person should not be ashamed to adopt perfidy; and strange, too, if this couplet is not inscribed by the tongue of his condition on the page of discourse,

My pious garb does no such virtue show;
It o’er a hundred hidden faults I’ll throw.’

Another, joining in the conversation, in a plausible manner, said, ‘This pure and abstemious person, during these many days, used to weep, and externally pretended to regard the administration of public affairs as a calamity, and misery, and misfortune, and trouble; and if, in spite of all this, his perfidy is proved, there will be room for astonishment.’ Another said, ‘When in such a trifle as this, viz., the portion set apart for the king’s breakfast, he could shew his greediness, one may guess what bribes he will have taken in affairs of vital importance, and what enormous sums he must have squandered from the king’s treasury.

The fowler that not sparrows e’en will spare,
Think what he does when game and quails are there!’*

When the nobles found the plain of effrontery clear, they began to gallop the steed of abuse, and raised in the expanse of the heart of Kámjúí, the dust of suspicion and doubt. The ministers, too, turning the reins of discourse towards calumny and wicked slander, impressed in the mind of the king some envious and hypocritical remarks.* One of them said, ‘If this thing turns out true, it will not be simple deceit, but plain proof of ingratitude and treason to his benefactor; and, undoubtedly, by this audacious act he will have thrown contempt on the king, and set aside the imperial honor and dignity.’ Another adopted the language of advice and admonition, and said, ‘O friends! blacken not the writing of your own proceedings by these fatuous words, and in accordance with the saying, ‘Would any of you desire to eat the flesh of his dead brother?* do not bite the flesh of your brother with the tooth of reproach. For it may be that the story of his treason is false, and ye will all become criminal and guilty. If the king will at once issue his command that they search his house, the dust of doubt will be removed from the path of truth. For if the flesh be in his dwelling, it will be a clear proof of the truth of these words, and the suspicions of high and low will terminate in conviction. But if it be a palpable calumny, and the lost flesh is not found in his cell, all must loose their tongues in asking forgiveness for their fault, and entreat Farísah to pardon them.’ Another said, ‘We must make haste if these prudent measures are to be adopted, for his spies surround us on all sides. Every moment he will get intelligence of what is going on, and will neglect no measures that may be required to remedy the matter.’ At the conclusion of the debate one of the privy councillors of the king boldly came forward and said, ‘What is the advantage of investigating this affair, and what is the use of inquiry into this matter? For even, if the crime of that corrupt traitor should be clearly proved, he will by hypocritical and false pretences turn away the mind of the king from inflicting retribution, and will employ some astonishing device, by which he will throw doubt upon all in spite of their certainty in this matter.

He in evasion has such mighty skill,
He can make doubt look truth-like at his will.’

In short, at this crisis, when the Lion was hungry and furious, they said so much after this fashion, that his heart was penetrated with a feeling of aversion to Farísah, and in accordance with the saying, ‘Whoever listens, doubts,’ various thoughts passed through his mind, and he gave orders to summon Farísah to his presence. That hapless one, unaware of the impression made by the wiles of his enemies, began his return, and as the skirt of his honesty was pure from the stain of this false accusation, he came boldly into the presence of Kámjúí. The Lion asked, ‘What hast thou done with the flesh I committed to thy charge yesterday?’ Farísah replied, ‘I conveyed it to the kitchen, that they might bring it to the king at breakfast-time.’ The cook, too, was one of the conspirators. He came forward to deny [what Farísah had said;] and asserted most pertinaciously, ‘I know nothing about the circumstance, and thou gavest no flesh to me.’ The Lion then sent a party of commissioners, who searched Farísah’s abode for the flesh; and, as they had hid it themselves, they soon brought it to light and took it to the Lion. Farísah perceived that his enemies had effected their purpose, and that they had found their opportunity and accomplished an affair, the threads of the counsel of which they had been long weaving. He said to himself,

‘The wall hides now the sunshine of my bliss,*
For long long years I feared a day like this.’

And of the number of the vazírs was a wolf, who to that moment had not uttered a word of reproach, and who reckoned himself among the just, and made as though he would not take a step without certain and convincing proof, nor meddle with the matter till he had full cognizance of all the circum­stances, and vaunted his friendship for Farísah, and made a strenuous show of protecting him. When these things had taken place he advanced, and, in declaration of his opinion, said, ‘O King! the fault of this villain has been found out, and the guilt of this dishonorable wretch has come to light. The king’s advisable course is that the command for his punishment should be carried into execution with all possible despatch; for, if this be overlooked, other criminals will doubtless be freed from dread of chastisement, and will wax more audacious every moment.

Business would cease if punishment were not.’

The Lion commanded them to remove the Jackal, and plunged into a long and deep meditation. Meanwhile a lynx, who was one of the special favorites of the king, began to say, ‘I am astonished at the luminous mind of the king—from the radiance of which the sun acquires its power of diffusing light, and under the defence of which the taper of heaven’s dormitory illumi­nates its face,—as to how the acts of this traitor, and the perfidy of this paltry cheat, have been hid from it, and how unobservant the king has been of the impurity of his foul mind, and the deceitfulness of his wily nature, and why the king delays his execution, notwithstanding such an enormous crime, and such a shameful action, and disturbs with the straw and rubbish of reflection the stream of punishment, by the drops of which the tree of justice is refreshed and invigorated.’ Kámjúí, roused by these words, said, ‘What hast thou to say?’ The lynx replied, ‘O king! sages have said, ‘He, whose administra­tion is good, his rule will endure;’ the regulations of a needful severity are the cause of a government’s continuance. Whoever draws not out the sword of punishment from the sheath of vengeance cannot repel the arrow of mischief with the shield of defence; and he who does not hack to pieces the foundation of injustice with the axe of wrath will not be able to plant the seedling of his wishes in the flower-garden of life.

Where laws of wholesome rigor cease to reign,
The base of safety, too, is overset:
For ’tis from it these gardens fruit obtain
From the clear fount of righteous strictness wet.

And whoever seeks the king’s welfare must inflict punishment on the guilty, nor shew him favor though he be the friend of his heart and the beloved of his soul. As the Sulṭán of Baghdád, for the public weal, inflicted punishment on his own beloved mistress.’ Kámjúí said, ‘How was that?’