Nonfiction > Upton Sinclair, ed. > The Cry for Justice

Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
The Muckraker in Persia

By Nizami

(Persian poet, A.D. 1200)
THERE was a king who oppressed his subjects. An informer came to him, and said, “A certain old man has in private called thee a tyrant, a disturber, and bloodthirsty.” The king, enraged, said, “Even now I put him to death.” While the king made preparations for the execution, a youth ran to the old man, and said, “The king is ill-disposed to thee; hasten to assuage his wrath.” The sage performed his ablutions, took his shroud, and went to the king. The tyrant, seeing him, clapped his hands together, and with eye hungry for revenge, cried, “I hear thou hast given loose to thy speech; thou hast called me revengeful, an oppressive demon.” The sage replied, “I have said worse of thee than what thou repeatest. Old and young are in peril from thy action; town and village are injured by thy ministry. Apply thy understanding, and see if it be true; if it be not, slay me on a gibbet. I am holding a mirror before thee; when it shows thy blemishes truly, it is a folly to break the mirror. Break thyself!”  1
  The king saw the rectitude of the sage, and his own crookedness. He said, “Remove his burial spices, and his shroud; bring to him sweet perfumes, and the robe of honor.” He became a just prince, cherishing his subjects. Bring forward thy rough truth; truth from thee is victory; it shall shine as a pearl.  2

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