Gulistan of Saadi
The Manners of Kings
Harun-ur-Rashid said when the country of Egypt was surrendered to him: ‘In contrast to the rebel who
had in his arrogance of being sovereign of Egypt pretended to be God, I shall bestow this country
upon the meanest of my slaves.’ He had a stupid negro, Khosaib by name, whom he made governor of
Egypt but his intellect and discrimination were so limited that when the tribe of Egyptian
agriculturists complained and stated that they had sown cotton along the banks of the Nile and that an
untimely rain had destroyed it he replied: ‘You ought to have sown wool.’ A pious man heard this and
‘If livelihood were increased by the knowledge
None would be more needy than the ignorant.
Nevertheless the ignorant receive a livelihood
At which the learned stand aghast.
The luck of wealth consists not in skill
But only in the aid of heaven.
It happens in the world that many
Silly men are honored and sages despised.
If an alchemist has died in grief and misery,
A fool discovered a treasure amidst ruins.’