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(Masnavi Book 2: 05) The King and his lost falcon







How the King found his falcon in the house of a decrepit old woman.



It is not like the falcon that fled from the King to the old crone who was sifting flour

That she might cook tutmáj for her children. (When) she saw the beautiful well-born falcon,


325. She tied its little foot and clipped its wings; she cut its talons and fed it with straw.

Unworthy folk,” said she, “have not kept you in (good) trim: your wings are overgrown and your talons have become long. Every unworthy one's hand makes you ill: come to your mother that she may take care of you.”
Know, O friend, that such is the affection of the fool: the fool ever walks crookedly on the way.

The King's day became late (far-spent) in searching (for the falcon): he went (at last) to the old woman and the tent (where she lived).


330. Suddenly he espied the falcon amidst smoke and dust: the King wept sorely over it and made lament. He said, “Albeit this is the retribution for your deed, in that you art not firm in keeping faith with me,
(Yet) how shouldst you make Hell your abode after Paradise, heedless of (the text) the people of the Fire (and those of
Paradise) are not equal?
This is the fitting reward for one that unconscionably flees from the King who knows (him) well to the house of an old hag.” (Meanwhile) the falcon was rubbing its wings against the King's hand: without tongue it was saying, “I have sinned.”


335. Where then should the vile (sinner) plead piteously, where should he moan, if you wilt accept naught but good, O
bountiful (King)?

The King's grace makes the soul sin-seeking, because the King makes every foul thing fair.

Go, do not commit foulness, for (even) our fair deeds appear foul in the sight of our beauteous (Loved One). You deemed your service worthy: thereby you raised the banner of sin.
Forasmuch as praise and prayer were vouchsafed to you, through making that prayer your heart became vainglorious.


340. You regarded yourself as speaking (confidentially) with God. Oh, (there is) many a one that becomes separated (from
God) by this opinion.

Although the King sit with you on the ground, know yourself and sit better (with more decorum and reverence). The falcon said, “O King, I am penitent, I am converted, I am embracing Islam anew.
He whom you makest drunken and pot-valiant—if from drunkenness he walk crookedly, do you accept his excuse.

Though my talons are gone, when you art mine I tear off the forelock of the sun;


345. And though my wings are gone, when you art kind to me the heavenly sphere lessens its play (slackens the speed of its revolution in amazement) at my play (swift and sportive flight).

If you bestow a belt on me, I will uproot the mountain; if you give me a pen, I will break the banners. After all, my body is not inferior to (that of) a gnat: with my wings I confound the kingdom of Nimrod.
Suppose me to be (as) the flocks of (small) birds in weakness, suppose every one of my enemies to be as the elephant, (Yet if)
I cast a baked (clay) pellet the size of a hazelnut, my pellet in its effect is like (equal to) a hundred mangonels (ballistas).”


350. Moses came to battle with his one rod and made an onset against Pharaoh and (all) his swords.

Every Prophet who by himself has knocked at that door (and besought God to help him) has alone (single-handed) fought
(victoriously) against the whole world.

When Noah begged of Him (God) a sword, through Him (at His command) the waves of the Flood became of sword-like temper.
O Ahmad (Mohammed), who (what) indeed are the armies of the earth? Behold the moon in heaven (and) split her brow, In order that the ignorant astronomer may know that this cycle is your cycle, not the cycle of the moon.


355. It is your cycle, because (even) Moses, he who spoke (with God), was constantly yearning after this cycle of yours. When Moses beheld the splendour of your cycle, in which the dawn of Revelation was arising,
He said, “O Lord, what cycle of mercy is that? It is beyond mercy: there (in that cycle) is vision (of You).

Plunge your Moses in the seas (of Time) and bring him up (to the surface) from the midst of the cycle of Ahmad
(Mohammed).”

God said, “O Moses, on that account I have shown (it) to you; on that account I have opened to you the way to that (spiritual)
communion (with Mohammed),


360. Because in this (present) cycle, O Kalím, you art far from that (cycle of Mohammed and canst not attain to it): draw back your foot, for this blanket is (too) long (for you).

I am kind, I show My servant bread in order that desire (for it) may cause that living one to weep. A mother rubs the nose of her babe, that it may wake and seek some food—
For it may have fallen asleep hungry unawares; and (on waking) it prods her two breasts for the sake of (getting) milk.

I was a treasure, a hidden mercy, so I sent forth a rightly guided Imám.”


365. Every (Divine) grace that you are seeking with (all) your soul, He showed it to you that you might desire it. How many idols did Ahmad (Mohammed) break in the world, that the (religious) communities might cry “O Lord”! Had it not been for the efforts of Ahmad, you also, like your ancestors, would be worshipping idols.
This head of yours has been delivered from bowing to idols, in order that you may acknowledge his rightful claim upon the
(gratitude of the religious) communities.

If you speak, speak thanks for this deliverance, that he may also deliver you from the idol within.


370. Since he has delivered your head from idols, do you deliver your heart also by means of that strength (which you have gained from him).

You have neglected to give thanks for the Religion because you got it for nothing as an inheritance from your father.

How should a man who inherits know the value of wealth? A Rustam tore his soul (suffered agonies in acquiring it), (whereas) Zál got it cost-free.

When I cause (any one) to weep, My mercy is aroused: that wailer drinks of (enjoys) My bounty.

If I do not wish to give, (then) indeed I do not show him (the desired gift), (but) when I have closed (contracted) his heart (with grief), I open (expand) it (with joy).


375. My mercy is dependent on that goodly weeping: when he weeps, waves rise from the sea of (My) mercy.”

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