Gulistan of Saadi
On the Advantages of Silence
A preacher imagined his miserable voice to be pleasing and raised useless shouts, thou wouldst have
said that the crow of separation had become the tune of his song; and the verse- for the most
detestable of voices is surely the voice of asses- appears to have been applicable to him. This distich
also concerns him:
When the preacher Abu-l-Fares brays
At his voice Istakhar-Fares quakes.
On account of the position he occupied the inhabitants of the locality submitted to the hardship and
did not think proper to molest him. In course of time, however, another preacher of that region, who
bore secret enmity towards him, arrived on a visit and said to him: ‘I have dreamt about thee, may it
end well!’ ‘What hast thou dreamt?’ ‘I dreamt that thy voice had become pleasant and that the people
were comfortable during thy sermons.’ The preacher meditated a while on these words and then said:
‘Thou hast dreamt a blessed dream because thou hast made me aware of my defect. It has become
known to me that I have a disagreeable voice and that the people are displeased with my loud reading.
Accordingly I have determined henceforth not to address them except in a subdued voice’:
I am displeased with the company of friends
To whom my bad qualities appear to be good.
They fancy my faults are virtues and perfection.
My thorns they believe to be rose and jessamine.
Say. Where is the bold and quick enemy
To make me aware of my defects?
He whose faults are not told him
Ignorantly thinks his defects are virtues.