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(Masnavi Book 2: 49) The archer and the horseman





The story of an archer and his fear of a horseman who was riding in a forest.

A horseman, armed and very terrible (in appearance), was riding in the forest on a high-bred horse. An expert archer espied him, and then from fear of him drew his bow,


3165. To shoot an arrow. The horseman shouted to him, “I am a weakling, though my body is big. Take heed! Take heed! Do not regard my bigness, for in the hour of battle I am less than an old woman.” Pass on,” said he; “You have spoken well, else by reason of my fear I should have shot a barb at you.
Many are they whom implements of war have slain, (since they held) such a sword in their hands, without the manhood (to use
it).

If you don the armour of Rustams, your soul goes (your life is lost) when you are not the man for it.


3170. Make your soul a shield and drop the sword, O son: whoever is headless (selfless) saves his head from this King.

Those weapons of yours are your (selfish) contriving and plotting; they have sprung from you and at the same time have wounded your soul.

Since you have gained nothing by these contrivings, abandon contrivance, that happy fortunes may meet (you).

Since you have not for one moment enjoyed (any) fruit from the arts (of the schools), bid farewell to the arts, and seek always the Lord of bounties.

Since these sciences bring you no blessing, make yourself a dunce and leave ill luck behind.


3175. Like the angels, say, We have no knowledge, O God, except what you have taught us.

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