atans1

May you have the fortune of the fisherboy

In Holidays and Festivals on 01/01/2011 at 9:45 am

One day Shah Mahmud, riding with the Wind
A-hunting, left his Retinue behind,
And coming to a River, whose swift Course
Doubled back Game and Dog, and Man and Horse,
Beheld upon the Shore a little Lad
A-fishing, very poor, and Tatter-clad
He was, and weeping as his Heart would break.
So the Great Sultan, for good humour’s sake
Pull’d in his Horse a moment, and drew nigh,
And after making his Salam, ask’d why
He wept—weeping, the Sultan said, so sore
As he had never seen one weep before.
The Boy look’d up, and ‘O Amir,’ he said,
‘Sev’n of us are at home, and Father dead,
And Mother left with scarce a Bit of Bread:
And now since Sunrise have I fish’d—and see!
Caught nothing for our Supper—Woe is Me!’
The Sultan lighted from his horse. ‘Behold,’
Said he, ‘Good Fortune will not be controll’d:
And, since Today yours seems to turn from you,
Suppose we try for once what mine will do,
And we will share alike in all I win.’
So the Shah took, and flung his Fortune in,
The Net; which, cast by the Great Mahmud’s Hand,
A hundred glittering Fishes brought to Land.
The Lad look’d up in Wonder—Mahmud smiled
And vaulted into Saddle. But the Child
Ran after—’Nay, Amir, but half the Haul
Is yours by Bargain’—’Nay, Today take all,’
The Sultan cried, and shook his Bridle free—
‘But mind—Tomorrow All belongs to Me—’
And so rode off. Next morning at Divan
The Sultan’s Mind upon his Bargain ran,
And being somewhat in a mind for sport
Sent for the Lad: who, carried up to Court,
And marching into Royalty’s full Blaze
With such a Catch of Fish as yesterday’s,
The Sultan call’d and set him by his side,
And asking him, ‘What Luck?’ The Boy replied,
‘This is the Luck that follows every Cast,
Since o’er my Net the Sultan’s Shadow pass’d

From Parliament of the Birds, Fitzgerald’s translation

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