Gulistan of Saadi
The Morals of Dervishes
A dervish who had fallen into want stole a blanket from the house of a friend. The judge ordered his
hand to be amputated but the owner of the blanket interceded, saying that he had condoned the fault.
The judge rejoined: ‘Thy intercession cannot persuade me to neglect the provision of the law.’ The
man continued: ‘Thou hast spoken the truth but amputation is not applicable to a person who steals
some property dedicated to pious uses. More over a beggar possesses nothing and whatever belongs to
a dervish is dedicated to the use of the needy.’ Thereon the judge released the culprit, saying: ‘The
world must indeed have become too narrow for thee that thou hast committed no theft except from the
house of such a friend.’ He replied: ‘Hast thou not heard the saying: Sweep out the house of friends
and do not knock at the door of foes.’
If thou sinkest in a calamity be not helpless.
Strip thy foes of their skins and thy friends of their fur-coats.