A King and his Slave

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A King was in the same boat with his slave who had never before been at sea and experienced its inconvenience. He began to cry and to tremble to such a degree that he could not be pacified by kindness. At this the king became displeased as the matter could not be remedied.

In that boat there happened to be a philosopher, who said: ‘With thy permission I shall quiet him.’

The King replied: ‘It will be a great favour.’

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The philosopher ordered the slave to be thrown into the water so that he swallowed some of it. Then he was caught and pulled by his hair back to the boat. The slave clung to the stern of the boat with both his hands. Then he sat down in a corner and became quiet. This appeared strange to the king who knew not what wisdom there was in the proceeding and asked for it.

The philosopher replied: ‘Before he had tasted the calamity of being drowned, he knew not the safety of the boat; thus also a man does not appreciate the value of privilege until a misfortune befalls him.’

A Story from the Book

The Gulistan of Sa’di
By Sheikh Sa’di
Written 1258 A.C.E.

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