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(Masnavi Book 5: 11) The Gazelle in the Donkey-stable




Story of the young gazelle being confined in the donkey-stable, and how the donkey assailed the stranger, now with hostility and now with mockery, and how it was afflicted by (having to eat) dry straw which is not its (proper) food. And this is a description of the chosen servant of God amongst worldlings and those addicted to passion and sensuality; for “Islam (was) strange (when it first) appeared, and will become strange again, and blessed are the strangers.The Messenger of Allah spake the truth.

A hunter captured a gazelle: the merciless man put it into a stable.
(Acting) like oppressors, he made a stable full of cows and donkeys the prison of the gazelle.


835. The gazelle, wild with terror, was fleeing in every direction: at night he (the hunter) poured (pieces of chopped) straw before the donkeys.
(Moved) by hunger and (ravenous) appetite, every cow and donkey was devouring the straw, (as though it were) sweeter than sugar.
Now the gazelle would run in fright from side to side, now it would turn its face away from the smoke and dust of the straw.
Whosoever is left (in company) with his opposite, they (who are wise) have deemed that punishment
(terrible) as death,
So that Solomon said, “Unless the hoopoe make a respectable excuse for his absence,

840. I will kill him or inflict upon him a torment, a torment severe beyond (all) calculation.” Hark, what is that torment, O trusted (friend)? To be in a cage without your congener.
O Man, you art in torment on account of this body: the bird, your spirit, is imprisoned with one of another kind.
The spirit is a falcon, and the (bodily) properties are crows: it has (receives) painful brands from the crows and owls.
It remains amongst them in sore misery, like an Abú Bakr in the city of Sabzawár.

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