Nonfiction > Lionel Strachey, et al., eds. > The World’s Wit and Humor > Greek, Roman & Oriental
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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes.  1906.
Vol. XV: Greek—Roman—Oriental
 
Discomfort Better than Drowning
By Sadi (c. 1213–1291)
 
From “The Rose Garden” (Gulistan)

A KING was embarked along with a Persian boy slave on board a ship. The boy had never been at sea nor experienced the inconvenience of a ship. He set up a weeping and wailing, and all his limbs were in a state of trepidation; and however much they soothed him, he was not to be pacified. The king’s pleasure-party was disconcerted by him; but there was no help for it. On board that ship there was a physician. He said to the king, “If you will order it, I can manage to silence him.” The king replied, “It will be an act of great favor.”
  1
  The physician so directed that they threw the boy into the sea, and after he had plunged repeatedly, they seized him by the hair of the head and drew him close to the ship, when he clung with both hands to the rudder, and, scrambling upon the deck, slunk into a corner and sat down quiet. The king, pleased with what he saw, said, “What art is there in this?” The boy replied that originally he had not experienced the danger of being drowned, and undervalued the safety of being in a ship. In like manner, a person is aware of the preciousness of health when he is overtaken with the calamity of sickness.  2
  A barley loaf of bread has, oh, epicure, no relish for thee.  3
  To the houris, or nymphs of paradise, purgatory would be a hell. Ask the inmates of hell whether purgatory is not paradise.  4
  There is a distinction between the man that folds his mistress in his arms and him whose two eyes are fixed on the door expecting her.  5
 
 
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