THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF KING ANUSHIRWAN. [FN#463]
It is told of Anushirwan, the Just King, that once upon a time he feigned himself sick, and bade his stewards and intendants go round about the provinces of his empire and the quarters of his dominion and seek him out a mud-brick thrown away from some ruined village, that he might use it as medicine, informing his intimates that the leaches had prescribed this to him. So they went the round of the provinces of his reign and of all the lands under his sway and said to him on return, "In all the realm we have found nor ruined site nor castaway mud-brick." At this Anushirwan rejoiced and rendered thanks to the Lord, saying, "I was but minded to try my kingdom and prove mine empire, that I might know if any place therein remained ruined and deserted, so I might rebuild and repeople it; but, since there be no place in it but is inhabited, the affairs of the reign are best-conditioned and its ordinance is excellent; and its populousness [FN#464] hath reached the pitch of perfection."--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the Four Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the high officials returned and reported, "We have found in the empire nor ruined site nor rotten brick," the Just King thanked his God and said, "Verily the affairs of the realm are best-conditioned and its ordinance is excellent and its populousness hath reached the pink of perfection." And ken thou, O King, continued Shahrazad, that these olden Kings strave not and toiled not for the peopling of their possessions, but because they knew that the more populous a country is, the more abundant is that which is desired therein; and because they wist the saying of the wise and the learned to be true without other view, namely, "Religion dependeth on the King, the King on the troops, the troops on the treasury, the treasury on the populousness of the country and its prosperity on the justice done to the lieges." Wherefore they upheld no one in tyranny or oppression; neither suffered their dependants and suite to work injustice, knowing that kingdoms are not established upon tyranny, but that cities and places fall into ruin when oppressors are set as rulers over them, and their inhabitants disperse and flee to other governments; whereby ruin falleth upon the realm, the imports fail, the treasuries become empty and the pleasant lives of the subjects are perturbed; for that they love not a tyrant and cease not to offer up successive prayers against him; so that the King hath no ease of his kingdom, and the vicissitudes of fortune speedily bring him to destruction. And they tell a tale concerning