Translation:The Pasha and the Dervish

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Fables  (1793)  by Jean Pierre Claris de Florian, translated from French by Wikisource
The Pasha and the Dervish


An Arab in Marseille told me quite long ago
How a Turkish pasha living in his country
To deliver one day a sealed casket did go
To the wisest dervish that there ever was in Araby.
"This casket," he said, "some rubies contains
And diamonds of a precious strain:
It is a gift that I should like to give
To the man that you judge
The maddest left on earth to live.
Seek and you shall find and do not your search fudge."
Furnished with his box our good recluse
Sets off around the world. But did he need
To go so far indeed?
Being spoiled for choice he could choose fast and loose:
People more and more mad from all parts to him flocked
To show themselves to his gaze shocked.
There was simply no truce
For men coveting the casket.
But a feeling inside him insisted: Don't ask it,
Lest generosity suffer abuse.
He knew there would be people more deserving.
Wandering from place to place he found his work disturbing.
Embarrassed by his message,
After a long passage,
Our man and his casket arrive one morning time
In the town of Constantine.
He finds the people celebrating Eid.
"What has happened here?" "Nothing," says an iman.
"Our Grand Vizier for the Sultan must succeed
By tying with silk ribbon yonder screed
In taking to the Prophet a firman.
The people always laugh at this sort of thing.
Their misery constrains them not to sing
And so our Emperor this pleasure them affords."
"Often?" "Yes." "That's good. Your new vizier's a lord?
Has he been named?" "He has and over there he goes."
The dervish this Grand Vizier knows,
Runs across the square, recognizes his friend.
"Well! There you are! You've come to the end
Of your travels. And the box?" "All through Asia I've roamed.
I've seen perfect madmen, yet dared not one select.
But for the box today I've found a home.
Deign, Grand Vizier, this casket to accept."

Copyright.svg PD-icon.svg This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.
Original:

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 
Translation:

This work is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed.

 

This work is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


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