Tuesday, 15 June 2010
A King & an Old Woman
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
One day, a king and his entourage went to hunt deer in the mountains of Khurasan, the Land of the Sun, in the northeastern part of Persia. After a week in the mountains, they had found no deer. On their way back to the palace, they made a wrong turn and soon they were crossing the open plain of Turkman country. As far the eye could see, the plain rolled until it met the distant horizon. They walked and walked, hoping to find a village or a shepherd, so that they could find their way back to the palace. The sun baked the plain in daytime, and at night, the plain froze from the cold. Soon, the troop depleted their food and water.
On the tenth day of their journey, they saw mountains raising high over the plain all around them. But, when they walked towards the rising sun, the mountains faded away into the horizon, in a mirage. Exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, they began to see more mirages. When they gazed toward the sunset, the mountains appeared nearer, but as they walked toward them, they kept creeping farther away, like a ghostly image.
Soon, the king’s entourage looked more like paupers. Their clothes became ragged, their faces were burned from the blazing sun, and their lips were cracked from thirst. Suffering from fatigue, hunger, and thirst, they could no longer walk. They lay on the earth, submitting to God’s Will.
An old Turkman woman lived nearby, at the edge of the plain, by a spring. She lived in a tent and had two goats and a small plot of land, where she planted wheat and barley. As she was walking her goats for grazing, she came upon the king’s entourage. She brought them back to her tent. She butchered one of her goats and made a feast for the hungry, lost travelers. In a few days, the king’s entourage became healthy again, and they found their way back to the palace.
Upon their return, the king ordered his prime minister to give one thousand goats to the old woman. The prime minster said, “Your Majesty, the old woman gave us one goat. Does his Majesty really want to give the old woman one thousand goats?”
The king said, “The old woman gave us half of what she had and saved our lives. I need to give her half of all the goats I have in my kingdom. Even one thousand goats are not enough.”