The Novice Who Had Some Gold

A novice had a little store of gold.
His sheikh knew this, although he had not been told.

There was a journey that they had to make –
The two set out, the young man and his sheikh;

Then night came to the valley where they walked,
And into the path they followed forked,

The novice trembled for his hidden gold
(Which makes its owners less than bold);

“Which way to you advise?” he asked his sheikh.
“There are two paths; which is the best to take?”

The sheikh said: “Throw out what you cannot hide,
Then either way will do –you decide.”

Let gold win someone’s heart, and when that is done
Even the devil, out of fear, will run.

When gold is weighed, what arguments ensue:
“One grain too many!” “No, one grain too few!”

A king when cheating people, but a fool
When faith is mentioned –a bewildered mule.

The man whom shining gold can lead astray
Is captured by the world, he is lost his Way.

October 25, 2018

Farîd-od-Dîn ‘Attâr (1146-1221). The Canticle of the Birds. Translated from the Persian by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis. Paris: Diane de Selliers, Éditeur, 2013.

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