An impostor arranged his hair in a peculiar fashion, pretended to be a descendant of A'li and entered the town with a caravan from the Hejaz, saying that he had just arrived from a pilgrimage. He also presented an elegy to the king, alleging that he had himself composed it. One of the king’s courtiers, who had that year returned from a journey, said: "I have seen him at Bosrah on the Azhah festival, then how can he be a Haji?" Another said: "His father was a Christian at Melitah. How can he be a descendant of A'li? And his poetry has been found in the Divan of Anvari." The king ordered him to be beaten and expelled the country for his great mendacity. The man said: "O lord of the surface of the earth, I shall say something more and, if it is not true, I shall deserve any punishment which thou mayest decree." He asked: "What is it?"’
When a stranger brings before thee buttermilk
Two measures of it will be water and a spoonful sour milk.
When a sage comes in contact with fools, he must not expect to be honoured, and if an ignorant man overcomes a sage in an oratorical contest, it is no wonder, because even a stone breaks a jewel.
What wonder is there that the song
Of a nightingale ceases when imprisoned with a crow
It is related that a sultan thus addressed a miserly beggar who had accumulated great riches: ‘It is evident that thou possessest boundless wealth and we have an affair on hand in which thou canst aid us by way of a loan. When the finances of the country are in a flourishing condition it will be repaid.’ The miser replied: ‘It is not befitting the power and dignity of a padshah to soil the hands of his noble aspirations with the property of an individual like myself who has collected it grain by grain.’ The king replied: ‘It does not matter because the money will be spent upon infidels: The wicked women should be joined to the wicked men.”
If the water of a Christian’s well is impure
What matters it if thou washest a dead Jew therein?
I met a trader who possessed one hundred and fifty camel loads of merchandise with forty slaves and servants. One evening in the oasis of Kish he took me into his apartment and taking all night no rest kept up an incoherent gabble, saying: ‘I have such and such a warehouse in Turkestan, such and such goods in Hindostan; this is the title-deed of such and such an estate and in this affair such and such a man is security.’ He said: ‘I intend to go to Alexandria because it has a good climate’, and correcting himself continued: ‘No, because the African sea is boisterous. O Sa’di, I have one journey more to undertake and after performing it I shall during the rest of my life sit in a corner and enjoy contentment.’ I asked: ‘What journey is that?’ He replied: ‘I shall carry Persian brimstone to China because I heard that it fetched a high price. I shall also carry Chinese porcelain to Rum and Rumi brocade to India and Indian steel to Aleppo, convey glass-ware of Aleppo to Yemen, striped cloth of Yemen to Pares. After that I shall abandon trading and shall sit down in a shop.’ He had talked so much of this nonsenses that no more strength remained in him so he said: ‘O Sa’di, do thou also tell me something of what thou hast seen and heard.’ I recited:
‘Thou mayest have heard that in the plain of Ghur
Once a leader fell down from his beast of burden,
Whatever takes place quickly is not permanent.
I have heard that eastern loam is made
In forty days into a porcelain cup.
I heard that a dervish, burning in the fire of poverty and sewing patch upon patch, said to comfort his mind:
‘We are contented with dry bread and a patched robe
For it is easier to bear the load of one’s own trouble
I saw a dervish who placed his head upon the threshold of the Ka’bah, groaned, and said: ‘O forgiving, 0 merciful one, thou knowest what an unrighteous, ignorant man can offer to thee.’
I have craved pardon for the deficiency of my service
Because I can implore no reward for my obedience.