THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF KING ANOUSHIRWAN.

It is told of the just King Anoushirwan (3) that he once feigned himself sick and bade his stewards and intendants go round about the provinces of his empire and the quarters of his realm and seek him out a rotten brick from some ruined village, that he might use it as medicine, avouching that the physicians had prescribed this to him. So they went the round of the provinces of his realm and of all the lands under his dominion and returned and said to him, 'In all the realm we have found no ruined place nor old rotten brick.' At this he rejoiced and returned thanks to God, saying, 'I was but minded to prove my kingdom and try my empire, that I might know if there were therein any ruined [or deserted] place, so I might rebuild [or repeople] it; but, since there is no place in it but is inhabited, the affairs of the realm are well ordered and accomplished and [its] prosperity hath reached the pitch of perfection.'

'And know, O king,' [added Shehrzad] 'that these kings of time past were not solicitous for the peopling of their kingdoms, but because they knew that the more populous a country is, the more abundant is that which is desired therein, and for that they knew the saying of the wise and the learned to be without doubt true, namely, 'Religion depends on the King, the King on the troops, the troops on the treasury, the treasury on the populousness [or prosperity] of the country and the latter on the justice of the government.' Wherefore they upheld no one in tyranny or oppression neither suffered their dependents to do injustice, knowing that kingdoms are not stablished upon tyranny, but that cities and places fall into ruin, when oppressors get the mastery over them, and their inhabitants disperse and flee to other governments, wherefore ruin falls upon the realm, the imports fail, the treasuries become empty and the lives of the subjects are troubled; for that they love not a tyrant and cease not to offer up prayers against him, so that the King hath no ease of his dominion and the shifts of fortune speedily bring about his destruction.'




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