July 22, 2012
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It is related that a king's son, a merchant's son, a nobleman's son of handsome appearance, and a husband-man's son, set out upon a journey. And they were all weary with the fatigue of travelling, and in great distress and want.
As they were going along together, the king's son said to his companions: 'All things are decreed by God upon men, whether wealth, or poverty, or other things which are similar to these.'
The merchant's son said: 'And wealth is gotten by intelligence.' The one who was handsome and well-born said : ' Wealth is gotten through beauty.' The husbandman's son said : 'Wealth is gotten by labour and toil.'
So the husbandman's son went and entered the city, and asked what he could find to do there in order to satisfy the hunger of four persons. He was told that there was wood in the neighbourhood, distant about a parasang's journey, and that if a man went and fetched some of it, he could sell it, and get food with the price of it. And the husbandman went out to the place, which was distant from the city about ten stadia,and gathered wood, brought it to the market-place of the city, and sold it for half a zuz, with which he bought bread and vegetables. These he brought to his companions. When they had eaten, he wrote on the gate of the city : ' The work of a whole day has profited half a zuz.'
The next day they said to the man of handsome appearance : ' Manage to get for us what will be of use to us.' So he went and entered [the city], and sat in the market-place, not knowing what to do. And there passed by him the wife of a certain rich man who had goods and possessions. When the foolish woman saw him, she was captivated by his beauty, sent her handmaid after him, and brought him into her house. * * * And when she had given him all kinds of meats to eat and wines to drink, and perfumed him with divers perfumes, and it wore towards evening, he told her that he had companions who were expecting him. And she gave him five hundred dinars . And he went to his companions, and told them all that he had done, and wrote on the gate of the town : ' Beauty has procured the delights of a whole day', and five hundred dinars (besides).'
On the morrow they said to the merchant's son : ' Go forth, and see what you can do with your trading.' [So he went off and entered the town.] And he heard that a large ship had arrived from the ocean, laden with all kinds of merchandise. And the merchants of the town went out to buy the goods with which it was laden. The merchant's son, on seeing them, joined himself to them, without their knowing whence he was. When they reached the ship, they said to one another: ' Let us go back, and come again tomorrow, .so that theowner of the vessel may not ask too high a price.' And the merchant's son bought all that was in it for an hundred thousand Dinars, and gave the owner his pledge. And the merchants, hearing of it, came to the merchant's son, and gave him an hundred thousand dinars as profit, and took the ship. Then he went to his companions, and told them all that had happened to him, and wrote on the gate of the city : ' The trading of a day has profited an hundred thousand dinars.'
The next day they said to the king's son : ' Do you go forth, and see what you can do.' So he went forth and sat at the gate of the city. Now it happened that day that the king of the city died, without leaving behind him either .son or brother to claim the kingdom. And as they carried the king's bier and brought it past the gate, this king's son did not move from his place or go away, and the report of the king's death did not move him, nor did he accompany the bier. One of those who were with the king's bier came up to him and said : ' Who are you, that you should be so bold as not to rise up from your place and accompany the king's bier ? ' But he made no answer. The other forthwith reviled him and drove him from the gate. But when they had put the king into the heart of the earth and were returning, he found him sitting in the same place. So he seized him, saying: 'Did I not command you not to sit here ?' and sent him away and had him bound in the prison-house. Now when they were assembled together to choose them a king, they could not find one person in all the palace who was fit for or could claim the kingdom. As they were considering with one another, the man who had bound the king's son said to them : ' I saw a certain young man, who did so and so many things; perhaps he would be suitable for this thing, and fit to reign over us.' And he sent to the prison house and had him brought, and asked him to give an account of himself Then he related to them his whole story, and said : ' I am the son of such and such a king, from such and such a city. When my father died, my younger brother robbed me of the kingdom and took it for himself, and I, fearing lest I should lose my life, left him every-thing and came here.' When those present heard (this), they perceived that he had told them the truth, and they agreed to make the young man king over them. So they sent heralds to the public places of the city, and assembled all the magnates and nobles of the city, a great gathering, and made the youth king over them. Now they had a custom, when they set up a king over them, of mounting him on a certain celebrated elephant, and conducting him all round the town, while heralds proclaimed before him : ' This is the king of our country.' And when he reached the gate, he saw what his companions had written on it. And the king commanded, [and they wrote :] ' Labour and beauty and traffic and intelligence have not profited so much as that which God the Merciful has given, He who has brought me to this exalted position, and lifted up my horn, and raised my seat, and clothed me with the robe of royalty.'
The story of the king's son and his companions (BOOK OF KALILAII AND DIMNAII)
More entries: The Wings of Mercy (13), The Task Of The Imagination . (8), When God Speaking . (3), Because I love (10), Strength vs Beauty vs Intelligence vs nothing . (6), Half a life (32), Don’t judge life by one difficult season! (10), The Smile Which Flowed into the Sea (14), Proverbs: A Path to Understanding Different Cultures (17), A Parable (15)
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