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(Masnavi Book 4: 56) The royal Falcon and the Old Woman




Story of the king's falcon and the decrepit old woman.

(If) you give a white falcon to a decrepit old woman, she will clip its talons for the sake of (its supposed) welfare.
The blind old woman will blindly clip the talons which are the source of its usefulness in the chase,

2630. Saying, Where has your mother been, that your talons are so long, O prince?”
She clipped its talons and beak and wings: the filthy old hag does this at the time of (at the time when she is moved by) affection.
When she gives it tutmáj, it will not eat; (then) she is enraged and tears up her feelings of
affection,
Saying, I have cooked such (fine) tutmáj for you, and you art showing pride and insolence. You deservest to be in that trouble and affliction: how should happiness and prosperity be
suitable for thee?”

2635. She gives it the tutmáj broth, saying, “Take this, if you do not wish to eat of the pastry.”
The falcon's nature does not accept (rejects) tutmáj broth: the old woman frowns, and her anger is prolonged.
In her rage the woman pours down the burning hot soup on its head: the crown of its head is made bald.
On account of the burning pain the tears pour down from its eye: it remembers the kindness of
the heart-delighting king.
(Tears pour) from those two charming coquettish eyes, which possess a hundred perfections
(derived) from the countenance of the king.

2640. Its eye that turned not aside (ma zágh) has become full of wounds inflicted by the crow
(zágh): the good eye is (smitten) with pain and anguish by the evil eye.
(It has) an eye with the (vast) range of the sea, (an eye) from the (immense) range whereof both the worlds appear (no bigger than) a thread of hair.
If thousands of spheres should enter into its eye, they would vanish like a fountain before the
ocean.
The eye that has passed beyond these objects of sense-perception and won kisses from vision of the Unseen—
Verily, I do not find a single ear to which I should tell a mystery concerning that beauteous eye.

2645. (If) the lauded and august water were to trickle (from that eye), Gabriel would
(eagerly) carry off its drops,
That he might rub them on his wings and beak, if that person of goodly practice give him permission.
The falcon says,If the anger of the old crone has blazed forth, (yet) it has not consumed my
glory and splendour and self-denial and knowledge.
The falcon, (which is) my spirit, will still weave a hundred forms: the blow falls on the she-camel, not onlih.
At a single awful breath that Sálih heaves, the back (womb) of the mountain will bring to birth a
hundred such she-camels.

2650. (My) heart is saying, Be silent and observe discretion; otherwise, the (Divine) jealousy will end the warp and woof (of your existence).

His jealousy has a hundred hidden clemencies; else in one moment it would consume a hundred worlds.
Kingly pride seized the place of (left no room for) admonition in him (Pharaoh), so that he wrenched his heart away from the bonds of admonition,
Saying, I will take counsel with Hámán, for he is the support of the kingdom and the pivot of power.”
The Lord's veracious witness was the counsellor of Mustafá (Mohammed); Bú Lahab became the counsellor of Bú Jahl.

2655. The homogeneity rooted in his nature drew him (towards Hámán) so (strongly) that those admonishments (of Ásiya) became irksome to him.
Congener flies to congener with a hundred wings and rives (all) bounds asunder in the fancy
(desire) for him (who is congenial).

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