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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sa’dī the Captive Gets a Wife
By Sa’dī (c. 1213–1291)
 
From the ‘Rose-Garden’: Translation of Edward Backhouse Eastwick

HAVING become weary of the society of my friends at Damascus, I set out for the wilderness of Jerusalem, and associated with the brutes, until I was made prisoner by the Franks, who set me to work along with Jews at digging in the fosse of Tripolis; till one of the principal men of Aleppo, between whom and myself a former intimacy had subsisted, passed that way and recognized me, and said, “What state is this? and how are you living?” I replied:—

  
STANZA
“From men to mountain and to wild I fled,
    Myself to heavenly converse to betake;
Conjecture now my state, that in a shed
    Of savages I must my dwelling make.”
  
COUPLET
Better to live in chains with those we love,
Than with the strange ’mid flow’rets gay to move.

He took compassion on my state, and with ten dīnārs redeemed me from the bondage of the Franks, and took me along with him to Aleppo. He had a daughter, whom he united to me in the marriage knot, with a portion of a hundred dīnārs. As time went on, the girl turned out to be of a bad temper, quarrelsome and unruly. She began to give a loose to her tongue, and to disturb my happiness, as they have said:—

  
DISTICHS
In a good man’s house an evil wife
Is his hell above in this present life.
From a vixen wife protect us well;
Save us, O God! from the pains of hell.

At length she gave vent to reproaches, and said, “Art thou not he whom my father purchased from the Franks’ prison for ten dīnārs?” I replied, “Yes! he redeemed me with ten dīnārs, and sold me into thy hands for a hundred.”

  
DISTICHS
I’ve heard that once a man of high degree
From a wolf’s teeth and claws a lamb set free.
That night its throat he severed with a knife;
When thus complained the lamb’s departing life:—
“Thou from the wolf didst save me then; but now,
Too plainly I perceive the wolf art thou.”
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