Story of Sal'ūk the Robber, the Lion, and
the Monkey

IN the happy reign of Farīdūn,* a caravan pitched their tents by the side of a running stream. Thither a robber of great daring, who would have stolen the nose from the face of a lion, came by night in the hope of meeting with some booty, but finding a sentinel at every corner, and seeing that his art would be of no avail, he departed. Thinking, how­ever, that he might contrive to steal some of the fleetest of the horses, he sat down in the midst of the cattle to watch his opportunity. By chance, a lion, in search of prey, passed near the caravan, and fixed his desire on the herds; but from the outcry raised by the crowd, he could not succeed, and remained quiet in his place. Sal'ūk, seeing no other means of safety or escape, suddenly sprang on the lion's back and held fast. The lion, alarmed, ran off with his rider, and ceased not running the whole night.* The robber was exhausted with sitting on the lion's back, yet dared not quit it for almost certain death.

I once heard a traveller in Arabia say, that if you fix a determined gaze on a lion, he will that instant take to flight; while, if you flee from him, he will pursue you. In all cases of danger, courage is the best security. The lion, under his rider, had by this time become timorous as a mouse. Coming to a lofty tree, he went under its shade; upon which Sal'ūk sprang boldly from his seat into the tree. The lion on his part also was glad to escape from his rider, and took to flight with his tail trailing on the ground. Meeting a monkey, he was at first inclined to flee, thinking it might be the man, but observing his humble attitude, he stopped. The monkey, after re­spectfully saluting him, and inquiring after his royal health, asked him why he was travelling without his train, whither he was going, and on what object—at the same time offering his services. The lion related his adventure, and told him that his enemy was on a tree not far off. The monkey reproached him for being afraid of such a foe. The lion then conducted him to the tree, and the monkey mounted into its branches, not observing that the robber was concealed in a cleft of it underneath him. The man suddenly seized him, and grasped him so powerfully that he instantly expired. Be not forward or precipitate, and engage not in a contest with one who is your superior in strength. The lion, seeing what had taken place, betook himself to flight. [14]

The king reflects on this tale, and resolves to put his son to death before his power should increase, when it might be too late.

The Sixth Vazīr, hearing of his Majesty's change of determination, comes before him to intercede for the prince. He inveighs, like the rest, against women, and advises his Majesty to put no trust in them. In proof of his assertions, he relates the