O God, I have washed my skin clean of ordure: do Thou wash this beloved (spirit) clean of worldly taints.” 2220
A certain person used to say at the time of abstersion, "O God, let me smell the sweet odour of Paradise" instead of "O God, make me one of those who repent much, and make me one of those who purify themselves," which is the (proper) form of prayer in abstersion; and he (also) used to recite the formula proper to abstersion at the time of rinsing his nose. A venerable man heard (him) and could not endure it.
A certain one said at the time of abstersion, “(O God), unite me with the scent of Paradise!”
(Thereupon) a person said, “You have used a good formula, but you have missed the (proper) hole for the prayer.
Since this prayer was the formula applicable to the nose, why have you applied the nose-formula to the arse?
One free (from sensuality) gets the odour of Paradise from his nose: how should the odour of Paradise come from the rump?”
O thou who hast brought humility into the presence of fools, and O thou who hast brought pride into the presence of (spiritual) kings, 2225
The pride shown to the base is goodly and fitting. Take heed, do not behave in the reverse manner: the reverse thereof is (the cause of) thy bondage.
The rose grew for the sake of the nostrils: sweet scent is the stipend of the nose, O churl.
The scent of the rose is for organs of smell, O bold man: this hole below is not the place for that scent.
How should the scent of Paradise come to thee from this place? If thou requirest the (sweet) scent, seek it from its (proper) place.
Likewise, “love of country” is right, (but) first, O master, know (what really is) thy country. 2230
That sagacious fish said, “I will journey, I will withdraw my heart from their advice and counsel.”
’Tis no time for counsel. Hark, journey! Like ‘Alí, sigh (the secret) into the well.
Very seldom is there found a fit confidant for that sigh: go by night and let thy movement be hidden, like (that of) the night-patrol.
Set out from this lake towards the sea: seek the sea and take leave of this whirlpool.
That wary (fish) made its breast o afoot (swam away) and was going from its perilous abode to the sea of light, 2235
Like the deer of which a dog is in pursuit and which keeps running so long as there is a single nerve in its body.
Hare’s sleep (heedlessness) with the dog in pursuit is a sin: how indeed is sleep (dwelling) in the eye of him who hath fear?
That fish departed and took the way to the sea: it took the far way and the vast expanse.
It suffered many afflictions, and in the end it went after all towards safety and welfare.
It cast itself into the deep Sea whose bound no eye can reach. 2240
So when the fishermen brought their net (to the lake), the half-intelligent (fish) was bitterly grieved thereat.
And said, “Alas, I have lost the opportunity: how did not I accompany that guide?
He went off suddenly, but seeing that he went I ought to have gone after him in hot haste.”
‘Tis wrong to regret the past: what is gone will not come back: to remember it is of no avail.
Story of the captive bird which gave the (following) injunctions: do not feel sorrow for what is past, think about taking precaution for the present (need), and do not spend time in repenting.
A certain man caught a bird by guile and trap: the bird said to him, “O noble sire, 2245
Thou hast eaten many oxen and sheep, thou hast sacrificed many camels;
Thou hast never in the world been sated by them, neither wilt thou be sated by my limbs.
Let me go, that I may bestow on thee three counsels, that thou mayst perceive whether I am wise or foolish.
(I will give thee) the first of those counsels on thy hand, the second of them on thy plastered roof,
And the third counsel I will give thee on a tree. (Let me go), for thou wilt become fortunate through these three counsels. 2250
(As for) that saying which is (to be said) on thy hand, ’tis this: ‘do not believe an absurdity (when thou hearest it) from any one.’”
When it (the bird) had uttered the first grave counsel on his palm, it became free and went (to perch) on the wall (of his house),
And said, “The second is, ‘do not grieve over (what is) past: when it has passed from thee, do not feel regret for it.’”
After that, it said to him, “In my body is concealed a solitary (large and precious) pearl, ten dirhems in weight.
By thy soul's truth (as sure as thou livest), that jewel was thy fortune and the luck of thy children. 2255
Thou hast missed the pearl, for it was not thy appointed lot (to gain it)—a pearl the like of which is not in existence.”
Even as a woman big with child keeps wailing at the time of parturition, so the Khwája began to cry out clamorously.
The bird said to him, “Did not I admonish thee, saying, ‘Let there be no grief in thee for what passed yesterday’?
Since it is past and gone, why art thou grieving? Either thou didst not understand my counsel or thou art deaf.
And (as regards) the second counsel I gave thee, (namely), ‘Do not from misguidedness put any belief in an absurd statement,’ 2260
O lion, I myself do not weigh ten dirhems: how should the weight of ten dirhems be within me?”
The Khwája came back to himself (recovered his wits) and said, “Hark, disclose the third (piece of) excellent counsel.”
“Yes,” said the bird, “thou hast made good use of those (former counsels), that I should tell (thee) the third counsel in vain!”
To give counsel to a sleepy ignoramus is to scatter seed in nitrous soil.
The rent of folly and ignorance does not admit of being patched up: do not give the seed of wisdom to him (the fool), O counsellor. 2265
How the half-intelligent fish devised a means (of escape) and feigned to be dead.
The second fish said in the hour of tribulation, when he was left sundered from the shadow (protection) of the intelligent one,
“He hath gone towards the sea and is freed from sorrow: such a good comrade hath been lost to me!
But I will not think of that and will attend to myself: at this (present) time I will feign to be dead.
Then I will turn my belly upwards and my back downwards and will move on the water.