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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Keep Your Own Secret
By Sa’dī (c. 1213–1291)
 
From the ‘Garden of Perfume’: Text of K. H. Graf; Translation of Samuel Robinson

SULTAN TAKISH once committed a secret to his slaves, which they were enjoined to tell again to no one.  1
  For a year it had not passed from his breast to his lips; it was published to all the world in a single day.  2
  He commanded the executioner to sever with the sword their heads from their bodies without mercy.  3
  One from their midst exclaimed: “Beware! slay not the slaves, for the fault is thine own.  4
  “Why didst thou not dam up at once what at first was but a fountain? What availeth it to do so when it is become a torrent?”  5
  Take heed that thou reveal not to any one the secret of thy heart, for he will divulge it to all the world.  6
  Thy jewels thou mayst consign to the keeping of thy treasurer; but thy secret reserve for thine own keeping.  7
  Whilst thou utterest not a word, thou hast thy hand upon it, when thou hast uttered it, it hath laid its hand upon thee.  8
  Thou knowest that when the demon hath escaped from his cage, by no adjuration will he enter it again.  9
  The word is an enchained demon in the pit of the heart; let it not escape to the tongue and the palate.  10
  It is possible to open a way to the strong demon; to retake him by stratagem is not possible.  11
  A child may untether “Lightning,” but a hundred Rustams will not bring him to the halter again.  12
  Take heed that thou say not that which, if it come to the crowd, may bring trouble to a single individual.  13
  It was well said by his wife to an ignorant peasant:—  14
  “Either talk sensibly or hold thy tongue.”  15
 
 
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