Gulistan of Saadi
On Love and Youth
A parrot, having been imprisoned in a cage with a crow, was vexed by the sight and said: ‘What a
loathsome aspect is this! What an odious figure! What cursed object with rude habits! 0 crow of
separation, would that the distance of the east from the west were between us.’
Whoever beholds thee when he rises in the morning
The morn of a day of safety becomes evening to him.
An ill-omened one like thyself is fit to keep thee company
But where in the world is one like thee?
More strange still, the crow was similarly distressed by the proximity of the parrot and, having
become disgusted, was shouting ‘La haul’, and lamenting the vicissitudes of time. He rubbed the claws
of sorrow against each other and said: ‘What ill-luck is this? What base destiny and chameleonlike
times? It was befitting my dignity to strut about on a garden-wall in the society of another crow.
‘It is sufficient imprisonment for a devote
To be in the same stable with profligates.
‘What sin have I committed that I have already in this life, as a punishment for it, fallen into the bonds
of this calamity in company with such a conceited, uncongenial and heedless fool?’
No one will approach the foot of the wall
Upon which they paint thy portrait.
If thy place were in paradise
Others would select. hell.
I have added this parable to let thee know that no matter how much a learned man may hate an
ignorant man the latter hates him equally.
A hermit was among profligates
When one of them, a Balkhi beauty, said:
‘If thou art tired of us sit not sour
For thou art thyself bitter in our midst.’
An assembly joined together like roses and tulips!
Thou art withered wood, growing in its midst,
Like a contrary wind and unpleasant frost,
Like snow inert, like ice bound fast.