“This prince will honour me, and do good unto me, though I have no claim upon him; and he will clothe me in a new vest, and besprinkle my tomb with sweet-scented essences, and then depart unto his home. But the bad man who accompanies him shall act treacherously towards me. I pray that God may send one of my race to repay the great favours of the caliph, and to take vengeance on his unworthy companion. There is, under my throne, an inscription which the caliph must read and contemplate. Its contents will remind him of me, and make him pardon my inability to give him more.”


The caliph, on hearing this, put his hand under the throne, and found the inscription, which consisted of some lines, inscribed on a ruby as large as the palm of the hand. The Moobids read this also. It contained information where would be found concealed a treasure of gold and arms, with some caskets of rich jewels; under this was written—

“These I give to the caliph in return for the good he has done me; let him take them and be happy.”

When Hâroon-oor-Rasheed was about to leave the tomb, Hoosein-ben-Sâhil, his vizier, said to him: “O Lord of the Faithful, what is the use of all these precious gems which ornament the abode of the dead, and are of no benefit to the living? Allow me to take some of them.” The caliph replied with indignation, “Such a wish is more worthy of a thief than of a great or wise man.” Hoosein was ashamed of his speech, and said to the servant who had been placed at the entrance of the tomb, “Go thou, and worship the holy shrine within.” The man went into the tomb; he was above a hundred years old, but he had never seen such a blaze of wealth. He felt inclined to plunder some of it, but was at first afraid; at last, summoning all his courage, he took a ring from the finger of Noosheerwân, and came away.


Hâroon saw this man come out, and observing him alarmed, he at once conjectured what he had been doing. Addressing those around him, he said, “Do not you now see the extent of the knowledge of Noosheerwân? He prophesied that there should be one unworthy man with me. It is this fellow. What have you taken?” said he, in an angry tone. “Nothing,” said the man. “Search him,” said the caliph. It was done, and the ring of Noosheerwân was found. This the caliph immediately took, and, entering the tomb, replaced it on the cold finger of the deceased monarch. When he returned, a terrible sound like that of loud thunder was heard.

Hâroon came down from the mountain on which the tomb stood, and ordered the road to be made inaccessible to future curiosity. He searched for, and found, in the place described, the gold, the arms, and the jewels bequeathed to him by Noosheerwân, and sent them to Bagdad.


Among the rich articles found was a golden crown, which had five sides, and was richly ornamented with precious stones. On every side a number of admirable lessons were written. The most remarkable were as follows:—

First side.

“Give my regards to those who know themselves.

“Consider the end before you begin, and before you advance provide a retreat.

“Give not unnecessary pain to any man, but study the happiness of all.

“Ground not your dignity upon your power to hurt others.”

Second side.

“Take counsel before you commence any measure, and never trust its execution to the inexperienced.

“Sacrifice your property for your life, and your life for your religion.

“Spend your time in establishing a good name; and if you desire fortune, learn contentment.”

Third side.


“Grieve not for that which is broken, stolen, burnt, or lost.

“Never give orders in another man’s house; and accustom yourself to eat your bread at your own table.

“Make not yourself the captive of women.”

Fourth side.

“Take not a wife from a bad family, and seat not thyself with those who have no shame.

“Keep thyself at a distance from those who are incorrigible in bad habits, and hold no intercourse with that man who is insensible to kindness.

“Covet not the goods of others.

“Be guarded with monarchs, for they are like fire which blazeth but destroyeth.

“Be sensible to your own value; estimate justly the worth of others; and war not with those who are far above thee in fortune.”

Fifth side.


“Fear kings, women, and poets.

“Be envious of no man, and habituate not thyself to search after the faults of others.

“Make it a habit to be happy, and avoid being out of temper, or thy life will pass in misery.

“Respect and protect the females of thy family.

“Be not the slave of anger; and in thy contests always leave open the door of conciliation.

“Never let your expenses exceed your income.

“Plant a young tree, or you cannot expect to cut down an old one.

“Stretch your legs no further than the size of your carpet.”

The caliph Hâroon-oor-Rasheed was more pleased with the admirable maxims inscribed on this crown than with all the treasures he had found. “Write these precepts,” he exclaimed, “in a book, that the faithful may eat of the fruit of wisdom.” When he returned to Bagdad, he related to his favourite vizier, Jaffier Bermekee, and his other chief officers, all that had passed; and the shade of Noosheerwân was propitiated by the disgrace of Hoosein-ben-Sâhil (who had recommended despoiling his tomb), and the exemplary punishment of the servant who had committed the sacrilegious act of taking the ring from the finger of the departed monarch.

The caliph Hâroon-oor

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