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

LISTEN to one of the qualities of good men, if thou art thyself a good man, and benevolently inclined!  1
  Shabli, returning from the shop of a corn dealer, carried back to his village on his shoulder a sack of wheat.  2
  He looked and beheld in that heap of grain an ant which kept running bewildered from corner to corner.  3
  Filled with pity thereat, and unable to sleep at night, he carried it back to its own dwelling, saying:—  4
  “It were no benevolence to wound and distract this poor ant by severing it from its own place!”  5
  Soothe to rest the hearts of the distracted, wouldst thou be at rest thyself from the blows of Fortune.  6
  How sweet are the words of the noble Firdausi, upon whose grave be the mercy of the Benignant One!—  7
  “Crush not yonder emmet as it draggeth along its grain; for it too liveth, and its life is sweet to it.”  8
  A shadow must there be, and a stone upon that heart, that could wish to sorrow the heart even of an emmet!  9
  Strike not with the hand of violence the head of the feeble; for one day, like the ant, thou mayest fall under the foot thyself!  10
  Pity the poor moth in the flame of the taper; see how it is scorched in the face of the assembly!  11
  Let me remind thee that if there be many who are weaker than thou art, there may come at last one who is stronger than thou.  12
 
 
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