Story of the night-thieves

Story of the night-thieves with whom Sultan Mahmúd fell in during the night (and joined them), saying, “I am one of you”; and how he became acquainted with their affairs, etc. حکایت شب دزدان کی سلطان محمود شب در میان ایشان افتاد کی من یکی‌ام از شما و بر احوال ایشان مطلع شدن الی آخره

شب چو شه محمود برمی‌گشت فرد با گروهی قوم دزدان باز خورد
While King Mahmúd was roaming about alone at night he encountered a band of thieves.
پس بگفتندش کیی ای بوالوفا گفت شه من هم یکی‌ام از شما
Thereupon they said to him, “Who art thou, O honest man?” “I am one of you,” replied the King.
آن یکی گفت ای گروه مکر کیش تا بگوید هر یکی فرهنگ خویش
One (of the thieves) said, “O company practised in cunning, let each of us declare his (special) talent;
تا بگوید با حریفان در سمر کو چه دارد در جبلت از هنر
Let him tell his comrades in the night-talk what (eminent) skill he possesses in his nature.”
آن یکی گفت ای گروه فن‌فروش هست خاصیت مرا اندر دو گوش
One said, “O ye fellows who are exhibiting (your) cleverness, my specialty lies in my two ears.
که بدانم سگ چه می‌گوید به بانگ قوم گفتندش ز دیناری دو دانگ
(It is this), that I know what a dog is saying when it barks.” The (rest of the) party replied, “Two dángs of a dínár.”
آن دگر گفت ای گروه زرپرست جمله خاصیت مرا چشم اندرست
Another (thief) said, “O company of gold-worshippers, my specialty lies wholly in my eyes.
هر که را شب بینم اندر قیروان روز بشناسم من او را بی‌گمان
If I see any one in the world by night, I know him by day without (having any) doubt (as to his identity).”
گفت یک خاصیتم در بازو است که زنم من نقبها با زور دست
Another said, “My specialty lies in my arm: I make tunnels (through walls) by strength of hand.”
گفت یک خاصیتم در بینی است کار من در خاکها بوبینی است
Another said, “My specialty lies in my nose: my business is to detect the (characteristic) smell in (different) earths (soils).
سرالناس معادن داد دست که رسول آن را پی چه گفته است
The secret of ‘men are mines’ has yielded itself (to me), so that (I know the reason) why the Prophet has said it.
من ز خاک تن بدانم کاندر آن چند نقدست و چه دارد او ز کان
From (smelling) the earth of the body I know how much good ore is (hidden) therein and what (sort of) mine it holds.
در یکی کان زر بی‌اندازه درج وان دگر دخلش بود کمتر ز خرج
In one mine is contained gold immeasurable, while (in the case of) another the revenue (derived) from it is less than the expenditure (cost of working it).
هم‌چو مجنون بو کنم من خاک را خاک لیلی را بیابم بی‌خطا
Like Majnún, I smell the soil and detect the soil (abode) of Laylá without mistake.
بو کنم دانم ز هر پیراهنی گر بود یوسف و گر آهرمنی
I smell and know from (the scent of) every shirt whether ’tis (belongs to) a Joseph or an Ahriman (devil).
هم‌چو احمد که برد بو از یمن زان نصیبی یافت این بینی من
Like Ahmad (Mohammed), who catches scent from Yemen, this nose of mine has gained (been endowed with) some portion of that (spiritual faculty),
که کدامین خاک همسایه‌ی زرست یا کدامین خاک صفر و ابترست
(So that I can smell) which soil is a neighbour of gold, or which soil is empty and poor.”
گفت یک نک خاصیت در پنجه‌ام که کمندی افکنم طول علم
Another said, “Look here, my specialty lies in my fist: I can throw a lasso to the height of a mountain,
هم‌چو احمد که کمند انداخت جانش تا کمندش برد سوی آسمانش
Like Ahmad (Mohammed), whose spirit threw a lasso so (high) that his lasso bore him to Heaven,
گفت حقش ای کمندانداز بیت آن ز من دان ما رمیت اذ رمیت
And God said to him, ‘O thrower of the lasso (of thy aspiration) at the (celestial) House, deem that (act of throwing) to be from Me: thou didst not throw when thou threwest.’”
پس بپرسیدند زان شه کای سند مر ترا خاصیت اندر چه بود
Then they (the thieves) asked the King, saying, “O man of authority, in what may thy special talent consist?”
گفت در ریشم بود خاصیتم که رهانم مجرمان را از نقم
He replied, “My specialty lies in my beard: I can save criminals from punishment.
مجرمان را چون به جلادان دهند چون بجنبد ریش من زیشان رهند
When criminals are handed over to the executioners, as soon as my beard moves they are saved.
چون بجنبانم به رحمت ریش را طی کنند آن قتل و آن تشویش را
When I move my beard in mercy, they (the executioners) put an end to the killing and (all) the trouble.” 
قوم گفتندش که قطب ما توی که خلاص روز محنتمان شوی
The company said to him, “Thou art our qutb (supreme chief), for thou wilt be the (means of our) deliverance on the day of tribulation.”
چون سگی بانگی بزد از سوی راست گفت می‌گوید که سلطان با شماست
When a dog barked on the right, (one of them) said, “It says ‘The Sultan is with you.’”
خاک بو کرد آن دگر از ربوه‌ای گفت این هست از وثاق بیوه‌ای
Another smelt the ground from (the top of) a hill and said, “This belongs to the house of a widow.”
پس کمند انداخت استاد کمند تا شدند آن سوی دیوار بلند
Then the skilful master of the lasso threw his lasso, so that (by means of it) they got over the lofty wall.
جای دیگر خاک را چون بوی کرد گفت خاک مخزن شاهیست فرد
When he (the thief who had previously smelt from the hill) smelt the earth in this other place, he said, “’Tis the earth (site) of the treasury of a peerless king.”
نقب‌زن زد نقب در مخزن رسید هر یکی از مخزن اسبابی کشید
The tunneller made a tunnel and reached the treasury: every one carried off some goods from the treasury.
بس زر و زربفت و گوهرهای زفت قوم بردند و نهان کردند تفت
The band took away much gold and gold-embroidered cloth and big pearls and quickly concealed them.
شه معین دید منزل‌گاهشان حلیه و نام و پناه و راهشان
The King saw distinctly their lodging-place and (noticed) their personal appearance and names and (where they took) refuge and (what) way (they went).
خویش را دزدید ازیشان بازگشت روز در دیوان بگفت آن سرگذشت
He stole away from them and returned (to the palace), and (next) day related his adventure (to the ministers) in council.
پس روان گشتند سرهنگان مست تا که دزدان را گرفتند و ببست
Thereupon furious officers rushed away to arrest and pinion the thieves.
دست‌بسته سوی دیوان آمدند وز نهیب جان خود لرزان شدند
They (the thieves) came handcuffed into the council-chamber, and they were trembling in fear for their lives.
چونک استادند پیش تخت شاه یار شبشان بود آن شاه چو ماه
When they stood before the King’s throne, that moon-like King was their (last) night’s companion.
آنک چشمش شب بهرکه انداختی روز دیدی بی شکش بشناختی
He (the thief) who could without hesitation recognise by day any one on whom he had cast his eye by night
شاه را بر تخت دید و گفت این بود با ما دوش شب‌گرد و قرین
Saw the King on the throne and said, “This man was going about with us last night and was our comrade.
آنک چندین خاصیت در ریش اوست این گرفت ما هم از تفتیش اوست 2855
He who has such a great talent in his beard our arrest is the result of his enquiry.”
عارف شه بود چشمش لاجرم بر گشاد از معرفت لب با حشم
His (the thief’s) eye was a knower of the King: consequently he opened his lips (to speak) of (mystic) knowledge to his followers.
گفت و هو معکم این شاه بود فعل ما می‌دید و سرمان می‌شنود
He said, “This King was (the subject of) and He is with you: he was seeing our actions and hearing our secret.
چشم من ره برد شب شه را شناخت جمله شب با روی ماهش عشق باخت
My eye made its way (to him), recognised the King by night, and all night long played the game of love with his moon-like face.
امت خود را بخواهم من ازو کو نگرداند ز عارف هیچ رو
I will beg (forgiveness for) my people from him, for he never averts his face from the knower.
چشم عارف دان امان هر دو کون که بدو یابید هر بهرام عون
Deem the eye of the knower to be the salvation of the two worlds, whereby every Bahrám (sovereign) obtained help. 
زان محمد شافع هر داغ بود که ز جز شه چشم او مازاغ بود
Mohammed was the intercessor for every brand (of disgrace) because his eye did not swerve for aught except God.
در شب دنیا که محجوبست شید ناظر حق بود و زو بودش امید
In the night of this world, where the sun (of Reality) is veiled, he was beholding God, and (all) his hope was in Him.
از الم نشرح دو چشمش سرمه یافت دید آنچ جبرئیل آن بر نتافت
His eyes received collyrium from Did not We expand (thy breast)? He saw that which Gabriel could not endure.
مر یتیمی را که سرمه حق کشد گردد او در یتیم با رشد
The orphan to whom (to whose eyes) God applies collyrium becomes the orphan (unique) pearl endowed with (Divine) guidance.
نور او بر ذره‌ها غالب شود آن‌چنان مطلوب را طالب شود
Its light overpowers (that of all other) pearls, (because) it desires such an (exalted) object of desire.
در نظر بودش مقامات العباد لاجرم نامش خدا شاهد نهاد
(All) the (spiritual) stations (attainments) of God’s servants were visible to him (the Prophet): consequently God named him ‘The Witness.’
آلت شاهد زبان و چشم تیز که ز شب‌خیزش ندارد سر گریز
The weapons of the Witness are a trenchant (veracious) tongue and a keen eye, whose nightly vigil no secret can elude.
گر هزاران مدعی سر بر زند گوش قاضی جانب شاهد کند
Though a thousand pretenders (false witnesses) may raise their heads, the Judge turns his ear towards the Witness.
قاضیان را در حکومت این فنست شاهد ایشان را دو چشم روشنست
This is the practice of judges in dealing justice: to them the (truthful) witness is (like) two clear eyes.
گفت شاهد زان به جای دیده است کو بدیده‌ی بی‌غرض سر دیده است
The words (testimony) of the Witness are equivalent to the eye because he has seen the secret (of Reality) with a disinterested eye. 
مدعی دیده‌ست اما با غرض پرده باشد دیده‌ی دل را غرض
The pretender (false witness) has seen it (too), but with self-interest: self-interest is a veil upon the eye of the heart.
حق همی‌خواهد که تو زاهد شوی تا غرض بگذاری و شاهد شوی
God desires that you should become an ascetic (záhid) in order that you may abandon self-interest and become a Witness (sháhid);
کین غرضها پرده‌ی دیده بود بر نظر چون پرده پیچیده بود
For these motives of self-interest are a veil upon the eye: they enfold (muffle) the sight, like a veil.
پس نبیند جمله را با طم و رم حبک الاشیاء یعمی و یصم
Therefore he (the self-interested man) does not see the whole in (all its) various aspects: your love of (created) things makes you blind and deaf.
در دلش خورشید چون نوری نشاند پیشش اختر را مقادیری نماند
Since the (Divine) Sun caused a light to dwell in his (the Witness’s) heart, the stars no longer had any values for him.
پس بدید او بی‌حجاب اسرار را سیر روح ممن و کفار را
Therefore he beheld the mysteries without veil: (he beheld) the journey of the spirit of the true believers and the infidels.
در زمین حق را و در چرخ سمی نیست پنهان‌تر ز روح آدمی
God hath not (created) in the earth or in the lofty heaven anything more occult than the spirit of Man.
باز کرد از رطب و یابس حق نورد روح را من امر ربی مهر کرد
God hath unfolded (the mystery of all things) moist or dry, (but) He hath sealed (the mystery of) the spirit: ‘(it is) of the amr of my Lord.’
پس چو دید آن روح را چشم عزیز پس برو پنهان نماند هیچ چیز
Therefore, since the august eye (of the Witness) beheld that spirit, nothing remains hidden from him.
شاهد مطلق بود در هر نزاع بشکند گفتش خمار هر صداع
He is the absolute witness in every dispute: his word crushes the crop-sickness (which is the cause) of every headache.
نام حق عدلست و شاهد آن اوست شاهد عدلست زین رو چشم دوست
God is named ‘the Just,’ and the Witness belongs to Him: for this reason the just Witness is the eye of the Beloved.
منظر حق دل بود در دو سرا که نظر در شاهد آید شاه را
The object of God’s regard in both worlds is the (pure) heart, for the king’s gaze is fixed upon the favourite.
عشق حق و سر شاهدبازیش بود مایه‌ی جمله پرده‌سازیش
God’s love and the mystery of His dallying with His favourite were the origin of all His veil-making (creation of phenomena).
پس از آن لولاک گفت اندر لقا در شب معراج شاهدباز ما
(’Twas) on that account, then, (that) in meeting (the Prophet) on the night of the Ascension our (Lord who is) fond of dalliance said, ‘But for thee (I would not have created the heavens).’
این قضا بر نیک و بد حاکم بود بر قضا شاهد نه حاکم می‌شود
This (Divine) Destiny rules (everything) good and evil: does not the Witness become the ruler of Destiny?
شد اسیر آن قضا میر قضا شاد باش ای چشم‌تیز مرتضی
The bondsman of Destiny became the Commander of Destiny: hail to thee, O keen-sighted one who art pleasing (to God)!
عارف از معروف بس درخواست کرد کای رقیب ما تو اندر گرم و سرد
The knower made many a petition to the Known, saying, ‘O Thou who watchest over us in heat and cold,
ای مشیر ما تو اندر خیر و شر از اشارتهات دل‌مان بی‌خبر
O Thou who givest us intimations in weal and woe, (though) our hearts are unaware of Thy intimations,
ای یرانا لانراه روز و شب چشم‌بند ما شده دید سبب
O (Lord) who daily and nightly seest us and whom we see not, (our) regarding the secondary cause (instead of the Causer) has muffled our eyes.
چشم من از چشم‌ها بگزیده شد تا که در شب آفتابم دیده شد
My eye has been chosen above (all other) eyes, so that the (Divine) Sun was beheld by me in the night (of material existence).
لطف معروف تو بود آن ای بهی پس کمال البر فی اتمامه
That was (through) Thy well-known grace, O Beauteous One; and (as the proverb says), ‘The perfection of kindness consists in making it complete.’
یا رب اتمم نورنا فی الساهره وانجنا من مفضحات قاهره
O Lord, make our light complete in the plain of Resurrection and deliver us from shameful and overwhelming indignities!
یار شب را روز مهجوری مده جان قربت‌دیده را دوری مده
Do not let Thy night-companion be banished (from Thy presence) in the daytime, do not inflict farness (separation) on the soul that has experienced nearness (union).
بعد تو مرگیست با درد و نکال خاصه بعدی که بود بعد الوصال
Absence from Thee is a grievous and tormenting death, especially the absence that comes after enjoyment of Thy favour.
آنک دیدستت مکن نادیده‌اش آب زن بر سبزه‌ی بالیده‌اش
Do not put him that hath seen Thee in the position of one that hath not seen (Thee): sprinkle water on his verdure that has sprung up.
من نکردم لا ابالی در روش تو مکن هم لاابالی در خلش
I have not acted recklessly (heedlessly) while faring (on Thy Way): do not Thou either act recklessly (ruthlessly) in pricking (inflicting pain upon me).
هین مران از روی خود او را بعید آنک او یک‌باره آن روی تو دید
Oh, do not drive far from Thy face him who once beheld Thy face!
دید روی جز تو شد غل گلو کل شیء ما سوی الله باطل
To behold the face of any one but Thee is (like the torture of) an iron collar for the throat: everything except God is vain.
باطل‌اند و می‌نمایندم رشد زانک باطل باطلان را می‌کشد
They are vain, but they show me the right way because vanity attracts (only) the vain.
ذره ذره کاندرین ارض و سماست جنس خود را هر یکی چون کهرباست
Each one of the atoms on atoms which exist in this earth and heaven is like amber (a magnet) for its congener.
معده نان را می‌کشد تا مستقر می‌کشد مر آب را تف جگر
The belly attracts bread to its resting-place; the heat of the liver attracts water.
چشم جذاب بتان زین کویها مغز جویان از گلستان بویها
The eye is an attractor of beautiful persons from these (different) quarters of the town; the brain (nose) is seeking (to attract) scents from the rose-garden,
زانک حس چشم آمد رنگ کش مغز و بینی می‌کشد بوهای خوش
Because the sense peculiar to the eye is an attractor of colour, while the brain and nose attract sweet perfumes.
زین کششها ای خدای رازدان تو به جذب لطف خودمان ده امان
O Lord who knowest the secret, do Thou preserve us from these attractions by the attraction of Thy grace!
غالبی بر جاذبان ای مشتری شاید ار درماندگان را وا خری
Thou, O Purchaser, art dominant over (all) attractors: it would be fitting if Thou redeem the helpless.”
رو به شه آورد چون تشنه به ابر آنک بود اندر شب قدر آن بدر
He turned his face to the King as a thirsty man to a cloud he who on the Night of Power was the Full-moon’s own.
چون لسان وجان او بود آن او آن او با او بود گستاخ‌گو
Since his tongue and his spirit were His (the King’s), (he was not afraid, for) he who is His may converse with Him boldly.
گفت ما گشتیم چون جان بند طین آفتاب جان توی در یوم دین
He said, “We have been bound (in chains) like the spirit in its prison of clay: Thou art the Sun (illuminator) of the spirit on the Day of Judgement.
وقت آن شد ای شه مکتوم‌سیر کز کرم ریشی بجنبانی به خیر
O King whose course is concealed (from view), the time is come for Thee graciously to make a movement (sign) with Thy beard in clemency.
هر یکی خاصیت خود را نمود آن هنرها جمله بدبختی فزود
Each one (of us) has displayed his specialty: all those talents have (only) increased (our) ill-fortune.
آن هنرها گردن ما را ببست زان مناصب سرنگوساریم و پست
Those talents have bound our necks, by those high attainments we are (thrown) headlong and (laid) low.
آن هنر فی جیدنا حبل مسد روز مردن نیست زان فنها مدد
(Our) talent is a cord of palm-fibre on our neck: there is no help (to be gained) from those accomplishments on the day of death.”
جز همان خاصیت آن خوش‌حواس که به شب بد چشم او سلطان‌شناس
(None of them avails) save only the specialty of that man endowed with goodly perceptions whose eye was recognising the Sultan in the (darkness of) night.
آن هنرها جمله غول راه بود غیر چشمی کو ز شه آگاه بود
All those talents were (as) ghouls (waylaying travellers) on the road, except (that of) the eye which was aware of the King.
شاه را شرم از وی آمد روز بار که به شب بر روی شه بودش نظار
On the day of audience the King was ashamed (to refuse the petition) of him whose gaze was (fixed) on the King’s face at night.
وان سگ آگاه از شاه وداد خود سگ کهفش لقب باید نهاد
And the dog that is acquainted with the loving King even him you must entitle “the Dog of the Cave.”
خاصیت در گوش هم نیکو بود کو به بانگ سگ ز شیر آگه شود
Excellent, too, is the specialty (residing) in the ear; for he (who possesses it) by (hearing) the bark of a dog is made aware of the Lion.
سگ چو بیدارست شب چون پاسبان بی‌خبر نبود ز شبخیز شهان
When the dog is awake during the night, like a watchman, he is not ignorant of the nightly vigil of the (spiritual) kings.
هین ز بدنامان نباید ننگ داشت هوش بر اسرارشان باید گماشت
Hark, you must not disdain them that have a bad name: you must set your mind on their inward parts (spiritual qualities).
هر که او یک‌بار خود بدنام شد خود نباید نام جست و خام شد
Whoever has once got a bad name must not seek (to win) a (good) name and (thereby) become half-baked.
ای بسا زر که سیه‌تابش کنند تا شود آمن ز تاراج و گزند
Oh, many a (piece of) gold is made (like) black polished iron in order that it may be saved from pillage and calamity.




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