Part 7 - How that saint demanded of the king to be alone for the purpose of discovering her malady

    144     He said: “O king, make the house empty; send away both kinsfolk and strangers 145   Let no one listen in the entrance-halls, that I may ask certain things of this...


Part 7 - How that saint demanded of the king to be alone for the purpose of discovering her malady

 

 

144

   

He said: “O king, make the house empty; send away both kinsfolk and strangers

145

 

Let no one listen in the entrance-halls, that I may ask certain things of this handmaiden.”

146

 

The house was left empty, and not one inhabitant (remained): nobody save the physician and that sick girl.

147

 

Very gently he said (to her), “Where is thy native town? for the treatment suitable to the people of each town is separate.

148

 

And in that town who is related to thee? With what hast thou kinship and affinity?”

149

 

He laid his hand on her pulse and put questions, one by one, about the injustice of Heaven.

150

 

When a thorn darts into any one's foot, he sets his foot upon his knee,

151

 

And keeps searching for its head with the point of a needle, and if he does not find it, he keeps moistening it (the place) with his lip.

152

 

A thorn in the foot is so hard to find: how (then) is it with a thorn in the heart? Answer (that)!

153

 

If every base fellow had seen the thorn in the heart, when would sorrows gain the upper hand over any one?

154

 

Somebody sticks a thorn under a donkey's tail: the donkey does not know how to get rid of it: he starts jumping.

155

 

He jumps, and the thorn strikes more firmly (pierces deeper): it needs an intelligent person to extract a thorn.

156

 

In order to get rid of the thorn, the donkey from irritation and pain went on kicking and dealing blows in a hundred places,

157

 

(But) that thorn-removing physician was an expert: putting his hand on one spot after another, he tested (it).

158

 

He inquired of the girl concerning her friends, by way of narrative,

159

 

And she disclosed to the physician (many) circumstances touching her home and (former) masters and town and dwelling.

160

 

He listened to her story (while) he continued to observe her pulse and its beating,

161

 

So that at whosoever's name her pulse should begin to throb, (he might know that) that person is the object of her soul's desire in the world.

162

 

He reckoned up the friends and town; then he mentioned another town by name.

163

 

He said: “When you went forth from your own town, in which town did you live mostly?”

164

 

She mentioned the name of a certain town and from that too she passed on (to speak of another, and meanwhile) there was no change in the colour of her face or in her pulse.

165

 

Masters and towns, one by one, she told of, and about dwelling-place and bread and salt.

166

 

She told stories of many a town and many a house, (and still) no vein of her quivered nor did her cheek grow pale.

167

 

Her pulse remained in its normal state, unimpaired, till he asked about Samarcand, the (city) sweet as candy.

168

 

(Thereat) her pulse jumped and her face went red and pale (by turns), for she had been parted from a man of Samarcand, a goldsmith.

169

 

When the physician found out this secret from the sick (girl), he discerned the source of that grief and woe.

170

 

He said: “Which is his quarter in passing (through the town)?” “Sar-i Pul (Bridgehead),” she replied, “and Ghátafar street.”

171

 

Said he: “I know what your illness is and I will at once display the arts of magic in delivering you.

172

 

Be glad and care-free and have no fear, for I will do to you that which rain does to the meadow.

173

 

I will be anxious for you, be not you anxious: I am kinder to you than a hundred fathers.

174

 

Beware! tell not this secret to any one, not though the king should make much inquiry from you.

175

 

When your heart becomes the grave of your secret, that desire of yours will be gained more quickly.”

176

 

The Prophet said that any one who hides his inmost thought will soon attain to the object of his desire.

177

 

When the seed is hidden in the earth, its inward secret becomes the verdure of the garden.

178

 

If gold and silver were not hidden, how would they get nourishment (grow and ripen) in the mine?

179

 

The promises and soothing words of the physician made the sick (girl) safe (free) from fear.

180

 

There are true promises, grateful to the heart; there are false promises, fraught with disquietude.

181

 

The promise of the noble is a flowing (bountiful) treasure; the promise of the unworthy becomes anguish of soul.

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