Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Ch 01 Manner Of Kings Story 27 - Poem by Saadi Shirazi

A man had attained great excellence in the art of wrestling, who knew three hundred and sixty exquisite tricks and daily exhibited something new. He had a particular affection for the beauty of one of his pupils whom he taught three hundred and fifty-nine tricks, refraining to impart to him only one. At last the youth had attained such power and skill that no one was able to contend with him and he went so far as to say to the sultan: "I allow superiority to my teacher on account of his age and from gratitude for his instruction but my strength is not less than his and my skill equal." The king, who was not pleased with this want of good manners, ordered them to wrestle with each other and a spacious locality having been fixed upon, the pillars of state and courtiers of his majesty made their appearance. The youth made an onslaught like a mad elephant with an impulse which might have uprooted a mountain of brass from its place but the master, who knew that he was in strength superior to himself, attacked him with the rare trick he had reserved to himself and which the youth was unable to elude; whereon the master, lifting him up with his hands from the ground, raised him above his head and then threw him down. Shouts were raised by the spectators and the king ordered a robe of honour with other presents to be given to the teacher but reproached and blamed the youth for having attempted to cope with his instructor and succumbed. He replied: "My lord, he has not vanquished me by his strength but there was a slender part in the art of wrestling which he had withheld from me and had today thereby got the upper hand of me." The master said: "I had reserved it for such an occasion because wise men have said: “Do not give so much strength to thy friend that, if he becomes thy foe, he may injure thee.” Hast thou not heard what the man said who suffered molestation from one whom he had educated?

Either fidelity itself does not exist in this world
Or nobody practices it in our time.
No one had learnt archery from me
Without at last making a target of me."


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Read poems about / on: teacher, strength, today, power, friend, beauty, world



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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