Sadi was born in about 1184 AD in Shiraz.
He is one of the most versatile figurers in Iranian
literature: Poet, writer, philosopher, teacher and a great
His tomb is situated in Shiraz; in Pahlavi period, a
mausoleum was built on his tomb.
1- Boustan (Garden), in verse
2- Golestan (Rose Garden), in prose and verse
He that owns wealth, in mountain, wood, or waste,
master, pitches tent at his own taste;
he who lacks that which the world commends
pace a stranger, e'en in his own lands
May be Paradise
|A king was embarked along
with a Persian slave in board a ship. The boy had never
been at sea, nor experienced inconvenience of a ship. He
set up a weeping and wailing, and all his limbs were in a
state of trepidation; and however much they soothed him,
he was not to be pacified. King's pleasure-party was
disconcerted by him; but they had no help. On board that
ship there was a physician. He said to the king: "If
you will order it, I can manage to silence him." King
replied: "It will be an act of great
The physician so directed that they threw the boy into the
sea, and after he had plunged repeatedly, they seized him
by the hair of the head and drew him close to the ship,
when he clung with both hands by the rudder, and,
scrambling upon the deck, slunk into a corner and sat down
The king, pleased with what he saw, said: "What art
is there in this?" The physician replied:
"Originally he had not experienced the danger of
being drowned, and undervalued the safety of being in a
ship; in like manner as a person is aware of the
preciousness of health, when he is overtaken with the
calamity of sickness.
A barely loaf of bread has, O epicure, no relish for
thee. That is my mistress who appears so ugly to thy eye.
To the houris, or nymphs of paradise, purgatory would be a
hell: and ask the inmates of hell whether purgatory is not
There is a distinction between the man that folds his
mistress in his arms and him whose two eyes are fixed on
the door excepting her.
|A person had become a
master in the art of wrestling; he knew three hundred and
sixty sleights in this art, and could exhibit a fresh
trick for everyday throughout the year. Perhaps owing to a
liking that a corner of his heart took for the handsome
person of one of his scholars, he taught him three hundred
and fifty nine of those feats, but he was putting
off the last one, and under some pretence deferring it.
In short, the youth became such a proficient in the
art and talent of wrestling that none of his
contemporaries had ability to cope with him, till he at
length had one day boasted before the reigning sovereign,
saying: "To any superiority my master possesses over
me, he beholden to my reverence of his seniority, and in
virtue of his tutorage; otherwise I am not inferior in
power, and am his equal in skill." This want to
respect displeased the king. He ordered a wrestling match
to be held, and a spacious field to be fenced in for the
The ministers of state, nobles of court, and gallant
men of realm were assembled, and the ceremonials of the
combat marshaled. Like a huge and lusty elephant, the
youth rushed into the ring with such a crash that had
brazen mountain opposed him he would have moved it from
its base. The master being aware that youth was his
superior in strength, engaged him in that strange feat of
which he had kept him ignorant. The youth was unacquainted
with its guard.
Advancing, nevertheless, the master seized him with
both hands, and, lifting him bodily from the ground,
raised him above his head and flung him on the earth. The
crowd set up a shout. King ordered them to give the master
an honorary dress and handsome largess, and the youth he
addressed with reproach and asperity, saying: "You
played the traitor with your own patron, and failed in
your presumption of opposing him."
He replied: "O sire, my master did not overcome
my by strength and ability, but some cunning trick in the
art of wrestling was left, which he was reserved in
teaching me, and by that little feat had today the upper
hand of me."
Master said: "I reserved myself for such a day as
this. As the wise have told us, put not so much into a
friend's power that, it hostilely disposed, he can do you
an injury. Have you not heard, what that man said, who was
treacherously dealt with by his own pupil:
"Either in fact there was no good faith in this
world, or nobody has perhaps it in our days.
No person learned the art of archery from me who did not
in the end make me his butt.'"
Slavery to Slavery
|Having taken offence with
the society of my friends at Damascus, I retired into the
wilderness of Holy Land, Jerusalem, and sought the company
of brutes till such time as I was made a prisoner by
Franks, and employed by them, along with some Jews, in
digging earth in the ditches of Tripoli.
At length one of the chiefs of Aleppo, between whom and me
an intimacy had of old subsisted, happening to pass that
way, recognized me, and said: "How is this? and how
came you to be thus occupied?" I replied: "What
can I say? I was flying from mankind into the forests
and mountains, for my resource was in God and in none
else. Fancy to thyself what my condition must now be, when
forced to associate with a tribe scarcely human? To be
linked in a chain with a company of acquaintance were
pleasanter than to walk in a garden with strangers."
He took pity on my situation; and, having for ten
Dinars redeemed me from captivity with Franks, carried me
along with him to Aleppo. Here he had a daughter, and her
he gave me in marriage, with a dower of hundred Dinars.
Soon after this damsel turned out a termagant and vixen,
and discovered such a perverse spirit and virulent tongue
as quite unhinged all my domestic comfort. A scolding
wife in the dwelling of a peaceable man in his hell even
in this world. Protect and guard us against a wicked
inmate. Save us, O Lord, and preserve us from the fiery,
or hell, torture.
Having on one occasion given a liberty to the tongue
of reproach, she was saying: "Are you not the fellow
whom my father redeemed from the capacity of Franks for
ten Dinars?" I replied: "Yes, I am the same he
delivered from captivity for ten Dinars, and enslaved me
with you for a hundred!" I have heard that a
reverend and mighty man released a sheep from the paws and
jaws of a wolf. That some night he was sticking a knife
into its throat, when the spirit of the sheep reproached
him saying: "Thou didst deliver me from the clutches
of a wolf, When I at length saw that thou didst prove a
wolf to me thyself."