Gulistan of Saadi
The Manners of Kings
An impostor arranged his hair in a peculiar fashion, pretended to be a descendant of Ali, and entered
the town with a caravan from the Hejaz, saying that he had just arrived from a pilgrimage. He also
presented an elegy to the king, alleging that he had himself composed it. One of the king’s courtiers,
who had that year returned from a journey, said: ‘I have seen him at Bosrah on the Azhah festival,
then how can he be a Haji?’ Another said: ‘His father was a Christian at Melitah. How can he be a
descendant of Ali? And his poetry has been found in the Divan of Anvari.’ The king ordered him to
be beaten and expelled from the country for his great mendacity. The man said: ‘O lord of the surface of the
earth, I shall say something more and, if it is not true, I shall deserve any punishment which thou
mayest decree.’ He asked: ‘What is it?’
When a stranger brings before thee buttermilk
Two measures of it will be water and a spoonful of sour milk.
If thou hast heard heedless talk from thy slave, be not offended.
A man who has seen the world utters much falsehood.
The king laughed, told him that all his life he had not uttered more true words than these, and ordered
the present which the fellow hoped for to be got ready.