Sheikh Saadi Stories – A King and A Slave (Source)
Once a king and a Persian slave were sailing in the same boat. The salve had never been at sea, and never experienced any calamity. After some time the boat was hit by a storm and started tossing. It was very inconvenient for the passengers. All remained quiet except the slave who in fear of being drowned began to cry and tremble, and created inconvenience for the others. The other tried to pacify him by kindness and affection but he did not hear anybody. When the uneasiness lasted longer the king also became displeased.
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In that boat there happened to be a sergeant, who said, “With’ your permission, May I quieten him?”.
“It will be a great favor”, the king said.
The sergeant ordered the slave to be thrown into the water. Two persons threw him in the sea and when he was about to be drowned they pulled him back to the boat, and he clung the stern with both of his hands. Then he sat down and remained quiet.
This appeared strange to the king, who could not comprehend the wisdom in the action taken by the sergeant, and he asked for it.
The sergeant replied: “Before he had experienced the danger of being drowned, he knew not about the safety of the boat. A man does not realize the worth of safety from the misfortune until he has tasted it.”
Abū-Muhammad Muslih al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, better known by his pen-name Saadi, also known as Saadi of Shiraz, was one of the major Persian poets and literary men of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but has been quoted in western sources as well. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, earning him the nickname “Master of Speech” or “The Master” among Persian scholars.