Gulistan of Saadi
On the Excellence of Contentment
I heard that a dervish, sitting in a cave, had closed the doors upon the face of the world, so that no
regard for kings and rich persons remained in the eyes of his desire.
Who opens to himself a door for begging
Will till he dies remain a needy fellow.
Abandon greediness and be a king
Because a neck without desire is high.
One of the kings of that region sent him the information that, trusting in the good manners of the
respected dervish, he hoped he would partake of bread and salt with him. The sheikh agreed because it
is according to the sonna to accept an invitation. The next day the king paid him a visit, the a’bid. leapt
up, embraced him, caressed him and praised him. After the monarch’s departure the sheikh was asked
by one of his companions why he had, against his custom, paid so many attentions to the padshah, the
like of which he had never seen before. He replied: ‘Hast thou not heard that one of the pious said:
“In whose company thou hast been sitting
To do him service thou must necessarily rise.
Possibly an ear may during a lifetime
Not hear the sound of drum, lute or fife.
The eye may be without the sight of a garden.
The brain may be without the rose or nasrin.
If no feather pillow be at hand
Sleep may be had with a stone under the head
And if there be no sweetheart to sleep with
The hand may be placed on one’s own bosom,
But this disreputable twisting belly
Cannot bear to exist without anything.”‘