THE FOOLISH SCHOOLMASTER

A man of elegant culture once entered a school and sitting down by the master, entered into discourse with him and found him an accomplished theologian, poet, grammarian and lexicographer, intelligent, well bred and pleasant; whereat he wondered, saying in himself, 'It cannot be that a man, who teaches children in a school, should have a perfect wit.' When he was about to go away, the schoolmaster said to him, 'Thou art my guest to-night;' and he consented and accompanied him to his house, where he made much of him and set food before him. They ate and drank and sat talking, till a third part of the night was past, when the host spread his guest a bed and went up to his harem. The other lay down and addressed himself to sleep, when, behold, there arose a great clamour in the harem. He asked what was to do, and they said, 'A terrible thing hath befallen the sheikh, and he is at the last gasp.' 'Take me up to him,' said he. So they carried him to the schoolmaster, whom he found lying insensible, with his blood streaming down. He sprinkled water on his face and when he revived, he said to him, 'What has betided thee? When thou leftest me, thou west in all good cheer and sound of body.' 'O my brother,' answered the schoolmaster, 'after I left thee, I sat meditating on the works of God the Most High and said to myself, "In every thing God hath created for man there is an use; for He (to whom be glory) created the hands to seize, the feet to walk, the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the yard to do the deed of kind; and so on with all the members of the body, except these two cullions; there is no use in them." So I took a razor I had by me and cut them off; and there befell me what thou seest.' So the guest left him and went away, saving, 'He was in the right who said, "No schoolmaster who teaches children can have a perfect wit, though he know all sciences."




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