THE STORY OF AHIKAR
WE HAVE in The Story of Ahikar (Haiqar)
one of the most ancient sources of human thought and wisdom. Its influence can be
traced through the legends of many people, including the Koran, and the Old and New
A mosaic found in Treves, Germany, pictured among the wise men of the world the
character of Ahikar. Here is his colorful tale.
The date of this story has been a subject of lively discussion. Scholars finally put it
down about the First Century when they were proved in error by the original story turning
up in an Aramaic papyrus of 500 B. C. among the ruins of Elephantine.
The story is obviously fiction and not history. In fact the reader can make its
acquaintance in the supplementary pages of The Arabian Nights. It is brilliantly
written, and the narrative which is full of action, intrigue, and narrow escape holds the
attention to the last. The liberty of imagination is the most precious possession of the
The writing divides itself into four phases: (1) The Narrative; (2)The Teaching (a
remarkable series of Proverbs); (3)The Journey to Egypt; (4) The Similitudes or Parables
(with which Ahikar completes the education of his erring nephew).
Ahikar, Grand Vizier of Assyria, has 60 wives but is fated to have no son.
Therefore he adopts his nephew. He crams him full of wisdom and knowledge more than of
bread and water.
THE story of Haiqar the Wise, Vizier of Sennacherib the King, and of Nadan,
sister's son to Haiqar the Sage.
2 There was a Vizier in the days of King Sennacherib, son of Sarhadum, King of Assyria
and Nineveh, a wise man named Haiqar, and he was Vizier of the king Sennacherib.
3 He had a fine fortune and much goods, and he was skilful, wise, a philosopher, in
knowledge, in opinion and in government, and he had married sixty women, and had built a
castle for each of them.
4 But with it all he had no child by any of these women, who might be his heir.
5And he was very sad on account of this, and one day he assembled the astrologers and
the learned men and
the wizards and explained to them his condition and the matter of his barrenness.
6And they said to him, 'Go, sacrifice to the gods and beseech them that perchance they
may provide thee with a boy.'
7And he did as they told him and offered sacrifices to the idols, and besought them and
implored them with
request and entreaty.
8And they answered him not one word. And he went away sorrowful and dejected, departing
with a pain at his heart.
9And he returned, and implored the Most High God, and believed, beseeching Him with a
burning in his heart, saying, '0 Most High God, 0 Creator of the Heavens and of the earth,
o Creator of all created things!
10 I beseech Thee to give me a boy, that I may be consoled by him, that he may be
present at my death, that
he may close my eyes, and that he may bury me.'
11 Then there came to him a voice saying, 'Inasmuch as thou hast relied first of all on
graven images, and hast
offered sacrifices to them, for this reason thou Shalt remain childless thy life long.
12 But take Nadan thy sister's son, and make him thy child and teach him thy learning
and thy good breeding, and at thy death he shall bury thee.'
13 Thereupon he took Nadan his sister's son, who was a little suckling. And he handed
him over to eight wet-nurses, that they might suckle him and bring him up.
14 And they brought him up with good food and gentle training and silken clothing, and
purple and crimson.
And he was seated upon couches of silk.
15 And when Nadan grew big and walked, shooting up like a tall cedar, he taught him
good manners and writing and science and philosophy.
16 And after many days King Sennacherib looked at Haiqar and saw that he had grown very
old, and moreover he said to him.
17 '0 my honoured friend, the skilful, the trusty, the wise, the governor, my
secretary, my vizier, my Chancellor and director; verily thou art grown very old and
weighted with years; and thy departure from
this world must be near.
18 Tell me who shall have a place in my service after thee.' And Haiqar said to him, '0
my lord, may thy head live for ever! There is Nadan my sister's son, I have made him my
19 And I have brought him up and taught him my wisdom and my knowledge.'
20 And the king said to him, '0 Haiqar ! bring him to my presence, that I may see him,
and if I find him suitable, put him in thy place; and thou shalt go thy way, to take a
rest and to live the remainder of thy life in sweet repose.'
21 Then Haiqar went and presented Nadan his sister's son. And he did homage and wished
him power and honour.
22 And he looked at him and admired him and rejoiced in him and said to Haiqar: 'Is
this thy son, 0 Haiqar? I pray
that God may preserve him. And as thou hast served me and my father Sarhadum so may this
boy of thine serve me and fulfil my undertakings, my needs, and my business, so that I may
honour him and make
him powerful for thy sake.'
23 And Haiqar did obeisance to the king and said to him 'May thy head live, 0 my lord
the king, for ever! I seek from thee that thou mayst be patient with my boy Nadan and
forgive his mistakes that he may serve thee as it is fitting.'
24 Then the king swore to him that he would make him the greatest of his favourites,
and the most powerful of his friends, and that he should be with him in all honour and
respect. And he kissed his hands and bade him farewell.
25 And he took Nadan his sister's son with him and seated him in a parlour and set
about teaching him night and day till he had crammed him with wisdom and knowledge more
than with bread and water.
A "Poor Richard's Almanac" of ancient days. Immortal precepts of human
conduct concerning money, women, dress, business, friends. Especially interesting proverbs
are found in Verses 12, 17, 23, 37, 45, 47 Compare Verse 63 with some oj the cynicism of
THUS he taught him, saying: '0
my son! hear my speech and follow my advice and remember what I say.
2 O my son! if thou hearest a word, let it die in thy heart, and reveal it not to
another, lest it become a live coal and burn thy tongue and cause a pain in thy body, and
thou gain a reproach, and art shamed before God and man.
3 0 my son! if thou hast heard a report, spread it not; and if thou hast seen
something, tell it not.
4 0 my son! make thy eloquence easy to the listener, and be not hasty to return an
5 0 my son! when thou hast heard anything, hide it not.
6 0 my son! loose not a sealed knot, nor untie it, and seal not a loosened knot.
7 0 my son! covet not outward beauty, for it wanes and passes away, but an honourable
remembrance lasts for aye.
8 0 my son! let not a silly woman deceive thee with her speech, lest thou die the most
miserable of deaths, and she
entangle thee in the net till thou art ensnared.
9 0 my son! desire not a woman bedizened with dress and with ointments, who is
despicable and silly in her soul.
Woe to thee if thou bestow on her anything that is thine, or commit to her what is in
thine hand and , she entice
thee into sin, and God be wroth with thee.
10 0 my son! be not like the almond-tree, for it brings forth leaves before all the
trees, and edible fruit after them all, but be like the mulberry - tree, which brings
forth edible fruit before all the trees, and leaves after them all.
11 0 my son! bend thy head low down, and soften thy voice, and be courteous, and walk
in the straight path,
and be not foolish. And raise not thy voice when thou laughest, for if it were by a loud
voice that a house was built, the ass would build many houses every day; and if it were by
dint of strength that the plough were driven, the plough would never be removed from under
the shoulders of the camels.
12 0 my son! the removing of stones with a wise man is better than the drinking of wine
with a sorry man.
13 0 my son! pour out thy wine on the tombs of the just, and drink not with ignorant,
14 0 my son! cleave to wise men who fear God and be like them, and go not near the
ignorant, lest thou become like him and learn his ways.
15 0 my son! when thou hast got thee a comrade or a friend, try him, and afterwards
make him a comrade and a friend; and do not praise him without a trial; and do not spoil
thy speech with a man who lacks wisdom.
16 0 my son! while a shoe stays on thy foot, walk with it on the thorns, and make a
road for thy son, and for thy household and thy children, and make thy ship taut before
she goes on the sea and its waves and sinks and cannot be saved.
17 0 my son! if the rich man eat a snake, they say, "It is by his wisdom,"
and if a poor man eat it, the people say, "From his hunger."
18 0 my son! be content with thy daily bread and thy goods, and covet not what is
19 0 my son! be not neighbour to the fool, and eat not bread with him, and rejoice not
in the calamities of thy neighbours. (Psalms CXLI. 4) If thine enemy wrong thee, show him
20 0 my son! a man who fears God do thou fear him and honour him.
21 0 my son! the ignorant man falls and stumbles, and the wise man, even if he
stumbles, he is not shaken, and even if he falls he gets up quickly, and if he is sick, he
can take care of his life. But as for the ignorant, stupid man, for his disease there is
22 0 my son! if a man approach thee who is inferior to thyself, go forward to meet him,
and remain standing, and if he cannot recompense thee, his Lord will recompense thee for
23 0 my son! spare not to beat thy son, for the drubbing of thy son is like manure to
the garden, and like tying the mouth of a purse, and like the tethering of beasts, and
like the bolting of the door.
24 0 my son! restrain thy son from wickedness, and teach him manners before he rebels
against thee and brings thee into contempt amongst the people and thou hang thy head in
the streets and the assemblies and thou be punished for the evil of his wicked deeds.
25 0 my son! get thee a fat ox with a foreskin, and an ass great with its hoofs, and
get not an ox with large horns, nor make friends with a tricky man, nor get a quarrelsome
slave, nor a thievish handmaid, for everything which thou committest to them they will
26 0 my son! let not thy parents curse thee, and the Lord be pleased with them; for it
hath been said, "He who despiseth his father or his mother let him die the death (I
mean the death of sin); and he who honoureth his parents shall prolong his days and his
life and shall see all that is good."
27 0 my son! walk not on the road without weapons, for thou knowest not when the foe
may meet thee, so that thou mayst be ready for him.
28 0 my son! be not like a bare, leafless tree that doth not grow, but be like a tree
covered with its leaves and its
boughs; for the man who has neither wife nor children is disgraced in the world and is
hated by them,
like a leafless and fruitless tree.
29 0 my son! be like a fruitful tree on the roadside, whost fruit is eaten by all who
pass by, and the beasts of the desert rest under its shade and eat of its leaves.
30 0 my son! every sheep that wanders from its path and its companions becomes food for
31 0 my son! say not, "My lord is a fool and I am wise,' and relate not the speech
of ignorance and folly, lest thou
be despised by him.
32 0 my son! be not one of those servants, to whom their lords say, "Get away from
us," but be one of those to whom they say, "Approach and come near to us."
33 0 my son! caress not thy slave in the presence of his companion, for thou knowest
not which of them shall be of most value to thee in the end.
34 0 my son! be not afraid of thy Lord who created thee, lest He be silent to thee.
35 0 my son! make thy speech fair and sweeten thy tongue; and permit not thy companion
to tread on thy
foot, lest he tread at another time on thy breast.
36 0 my son! if thou beat a wise man with a word of wisdom, it will lurk in his breast
like a subtle sense of shame; but if thou drub the ignorant with a stick he will neither
understand nor hear,
37 0 my son! if thou send a wise man for thy needs, do not give him many orders, for he
will do thy business as thou desirest: and if thou send a fool, do not order him, but go
thyself and do thy business, for if thou order him, he, will not do what thou desirest. If
they send thee on business, hasten to fulfil it quickly,
38 0 my son! make not an enemy of a man stronger than thyself, for he will take thy
measure, and his revenge on thee.
39 0 my son! make trial of thy son, and of thy servant, before thou committest thy
belongings to them, lest they
make away with them; for he who hath a full hand is called wise, even if he be stupid and
ignorant, and he who
hath an empty hand is called poor, ignorant, even if he be the prince of sages.
40 0 my son! I have eaten a colocynth, and swallowed aloes, and I have found nothing
more bitter than poverty and scarcity.
41 0 my son! teach thy son frugality and hunger, that he may do well in the management
of his household.
42 0 my son! teach not to the ignorant the language of wise men, for it will be
burdensome to him.
43 0 my son! display not thy condition to thy friend, lest thou be despised by him.
44 0 my son! the blindness of the heart is more grievous than the blindness of the
eyes, for the blindness of the eyes may be guided little by little, but the blindness of
the heart is not guided, and it leaves the straight path, and goes in a crooked way.
45 0 my son! the stumbling of a man with his foot is better than the stumbling of a man
with his tongue.
46 0 my son! a friend who is near is better than a more excellent brother who is far
47 0 my son! beauty fades but learning lasts, and the world wanes and becomes vain, but
a good name neither becomes vain nor wanes.
48 0 my son! the man who hath no rest, his death were better than his life; and the
sound of weeping is better than
the sound of singing; for sorrow and weeping, if the fear of God be in them, are better
than the sound of singing and rejoicing.
49 0 my child! the thigh of a frog in thy hand is better than a goose in the pot of thy
neighbour; and a sheep near thee is better than an ox far away; and a sparrow in thy hand
is better than a thousand sparrows flying; and
poverty which gathers is better than the scattering of much provision; and a living fox is
better than a dead lion;
and a pound of wool is better than a pound of wealth, I mean of gold and silver; for the
gold and the silver are
hidden and covered up in the earth, and are not seen; but the wool stays. in the markets
and it is seen,
and it is a beauty to him who wears it.
50 0 my son! a small fortune is better than a scattered fortune.
51 0 my son! a living dog is better than a dead poor man.
52 0 my son! a poor man who does right is better than a rich man who is dead in sins.
53 0 my son! keep a word in thy heart, and it shall be much to thee, and beware lest
thou reveal the secret of thy friend.
54 0 my son! let not a word issue from thy mouth till thou hast taken counsel with thy
heart. And stand not betwixt
persons quarrelling, because from a bad word there comes a quarrel, and from a quarrel
there comes war, and from war there comes fighting, and thou wilt be forced to bear
witness; but run from thence and rest thyself.
55 0 my son! withstand not a man stronger than thyself, but get thee a patient spirit,
and endurance and an upright
conduct, for there is nothing more excellent than that.
56 0 my son! hate not thy first friend, for the second one may not last.
57 0 my son! visit the poor in his affliction, and speak of him in the Sultan's
and do thy diligence to save him from the mouth of the lion.
58 0 my son! rejoice not in the death of thine enemy, for after a little while thou
shalt be his neighbour, and him
who mocks thee do thou respect and honour and be beforehand with him in greeting.
59 0 my son! if water would stand still in heaven, and a black crow become white, and
myrrh grow sweet as honey,
then ignorant men and fools might understand and become wise.
60 0 my son! if thou desire to be wise, restrain thy tongue from lying, and thy hand
from stealing, and thine eyes
from beholding evil; then thou wilt be called wise.
61 0 my son! let the wise man beat thee with a rod, but let not the fool anoint thee
with sweet salve.
Be humble in thy youth and thou shalt be honoured in thine old age.
62 0 my son! withstand not a man in the days of his power, nor a river in the days of
63 0 my son! be not hasty in the wedding of a wife, for if it turns out well, she will
'My lord, make provision for me'; and if it turns out ill, she will rate at him who was
the cause of it.
64 0 my son! whosoever is elegant in his dress, he is the same in his speech; and he
who has a mean
appearance in his dress, he also is the same in his speech.
65 0 my son! if thou hast committcd a theft, make it known to the Sultan, and give him
a share of it,
that thou rnayst be delivered from him, for otherwise thou wilt endure bitterness.
66 0 my son! make a friend of the man whose hand is satisfied and filled, and make no
the man whose hand is closed and hungry.
67 There are four things in which neither the king nor his army can be secure:
oppression by the vizier, and bad government, and perversion of the will, and tyranny over
and four things which cannot be hidden:
the prudent, and the foolish, and the rich, and the poor.
Ahikar retires from active participation in affairs of state. He turns
over his possessions to his treacherous nephew. Here is the amazing story of how a
thankless profligate turns forgerer. A clever plot to entangle Ahikar results in his being
condemned to death. Apparently the end of Ahikar.
THUS spake Haiqar, and when he had finished these injunctions
and proverbs to Nadan, his sister's son,
he imagined that he would keep them all, and he knew not that instead of that he was
him weariness and contempt and mockery.
2 Thereafter Haiqar sat still in his house and delivered over to Nadan all his goods,
and the slaves,
and the handmaidens, and the horses, and the cattle, and everything else that he had
possessed and gained;
and the power of bidding and of forbidding remained in the hand of Nadan.
3 And Haiqar sat at rest is his house, and every now and then Haiqar went and paid his
to the king, and returned home.
4 Now when Nadan perceived that the power of bidding and of forbidding was in his own
he despised the position of Haiqar and scoffed at him, and set about blaming him whenever
he appeared, saying,
'My uncle Haiqar is in his dotage, and he knows nothing now.'
5 And he began to beat the slaves and the handmaidens, and to sell the horses and the
be spendthrift with all that his uncle Haiqar had owned.
6 And when Haiqar saw that he had no compassion on his servants nor on his household,
he arose and chased him from his house, and sent to inform the king that he had scattered
his possessions and his provision.
7 And the king arose and called Nadan and said to him:
'Whilst Haiqar remains in health, no one shall rule over his goods, nor over his
household, nor over his possessions.'
8 And the hand of Nadan was lifted off from his uncle Haiqar and from all his goods,
and in the
meantime he went neither in nor out, nor did he greet him.
9 Thereupon Haiqar repented him of his toil with Nadan his sister's son, and he
continued to be very sorrowful.
10 And Nadan had a younger brother named Benuzardan, so Haiqar took him to himself in
place of Nadan,
and brought him up and honoured him with the utmost honour. And he delivered over to him
that he possessed, and made him governor of his house.
11 Now when Nadan perceived what had happened he was seized with envy and jealousy, and
began to complain to every one who questioned him, and to mock his uncle Haiqar, saying:
'My uncle has chased me from his house, and has preferred my brother to me,
but if the Most High God give me the power, I shall bring upon him the misfortune of being
12 And Nadan continued to meditate as to the stumblingblock he might contrive for him.
And after a while Nadan turned it over in his mind, and wrote a letter to Achish, son of
Shah the Wise,
king of Persia, saying thus:
13 'Peace and health and might and honour from Sennacherib king of Assyria and Nineveh,
his vizier and his secretary Haiqar unto thee, 0 great king! Let there be peace between
thee and me.
14 And when this letter reaches thee, if thou wilt arise and go quickly to the plain of
and to Assyria and Nineveh, I will deliver up the kingdom to thee without war and without
15 And he wrote also another letter in the name of Haiqar to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
'Let there be peace between thee and me, 0 mighty king!
16 If at the time of this letter reaching thee thou wilt arise and go to Assyria and
Nineveh to the plain of Nisrin,
I will deliver up to thee the kingdom without war and without fighing.'
17 And the writing of Nadan was like to the writing of his uncle Haiqar.
18 Then he folded the two letters, and sealed them with the seal of his uncle Haiqar;
they were nevertheless in the king's palace.
19 Then he went and wrote a letter likewise from the king to his uncle Haiqar: 'Peace
and health to my Vizier,
my Secretary, my Chancellor, Haiqar.
20 0 Haiqar, when this letter reaches thee, assemble all the soldiers who are with
thee, and let them be perfect in clothing and in numbers, and bring them to me on the
fifth day in the plain of Nisrin.
21 And when thou shalt see me there coming towards thee, haste and make the army move
against me as an enemy who would fight with me, for I have with me the ambassadors of
Pharaoh king of Egypt, that they may see the strength of our army and may fear us, for
they are our enemies and they hate us.'
22 Then he sealed the letter and sent it to Haiqar by one of the king's servants. And
he took the other letter which he had written and spread it before the king and read it to
him and showed him the seal.
23 And when the king heard what was in the letter he was perplexed with a great
perplexity and was wroth with a great and fierce wrath, and said, 'Ah, I have shown my
wisdom! what have I done to Haiqar that he has written these letters to my enemies? Is
this my recompense from him for my benefits to him?'
24 And Nadan said to him, 'Be not grieved, 0 king! nor be wroth, but let us go to the
plain of Nisrin and see if the tale be true or not.'
25 Then Nadan arose on the fifth day and took the king and the soldiers and the vizier,
and they went to the desert to the plain of Nisrin. And the king looked, and lo! Haiqar
and the army were set in array.
26 And when Haiqar saw that the king was there, he approached and signalled to the army
to move as in war and to fight in array against the king as it had been
found in the letter, he not knowing what a pit Nadan had digged for him.
27 And when the king saw the act of Haiqar he was seized with anxiety and terror and
perplexity, and was wroth with a great wrath.
28 And Nadan said to him, 'Hast thou seen, 0 my lord the king! what this wretch has
but be not thou wroth and be not grieved nor pained, but go to thy house and sit on thy
and I will bring Haiqar to thee bound and chained with chains, and I will chase away thine
enemy from thee without toil.'
29 And the king returned to his throne, being provoked about Haiqar, and did nothing
And Nadan went to Haiqar and said to him, 'W'allah, 0 my uncle! The king verily rejoiceth
in thee with great joy
and thanks thee for having done what he commanded thee.
30 And now he hath sent me to thee that thou mayst dismiss the soldiers to their duties
and come thyself to
him with thy hands bound behind thee, and thy feet chained, that the ambassadors of
Pharaoh may see this,
and that the king may be feared by them and by their king.'
31 Then answered Haiqar and said, 'To hear is to obey.' And he arose straightway and
bound his hands behind him, and chained his feet.
32 And Nadan took him and went with him to the king. And when Haiqar entered the king's
presence he did
obeisance before him on the ground, and wished for power and perpetual life to the king.
33 Then said the king, '0 Haiqar, my Secretary, the Governor of my affairs, my
Chancellor, the ruler of my State,
tell me what evil have I done to thee that thou hast rewarded me by this ugly deed.'
34 Then they showed him the letters In his writing and with his seal. And when Haiqar
saw this, his limbs trembled and his tongue was tied at once, and he was unable to speak a
word from fear; but he hung his head towards the earth and was dumb.
35 And when the king saw this, he felt certain that the thing was from him, and he
straightway arose and
commanded them to kill Haiqar, and to strike his neck with the sword outside of the city.
86 Then Nadan screamed and said, '0 Haiqar, 0 blackface! what avails thee thy
meditation or thy power in the doing
of this deed to the king?'
37 Thus says the story-teller. And the name of the swordsman was Abu Samik. And the
king said to him,
'0 swordsman! arise go, cleave the neck of Haiqar at the door of his house, and cast away
his head from his body
a hundred cubits.'
38 Then Haiqar knelt before the king, and said, 'Let my lord the king live for ever!
and if thou desire to slay me,
let thy wish be fulfilled; and I know that I am not guilty, but the wicked man has to give
an account of his wickedness; nevertheless, 0 my lord the king! I beg of thee and of thy
friendship, permit the swordsman to give my body to my slaves, that they may bury me, and
let thy slave be thy sacrifice.'
39 The king arose and commanded the swordsman to do with him according to his desire.
40 And he straightway commanded his servants to take Haiqar and the swordsman and go
with him naked that
they might slay him.
41 And when Haiqar knew for certain that he was to be slain he sent to his wife, and
said to her, 'Come out and meet me, and let there be with thee a thousand young virgins,
and dress them in gowns of purple and silk
that they may weep for me fore my death.
42 And prepare a table for the swordsman and for his servants. And mingle plenty of
wine, that they may drink.'
43 And she did all that he commanded her. And she was very wise, clever, and prudent.
And she united all possible
courtesy and learning.
44 And when the army of the king and the swordsman arrived they found the table set in
and the wine and the luxurious viands, and they began eating and drinking till they were
gorged and drunken.
45 Then Haiqar took the swordsman aside apart from the company and said, '0 Abu Samik,
dost thou not know
that when Sarhadum the king, the father of Sennacherib, wanted to kill thee, I took thee
and hid thee in a certain
place till the king's anger subsided and he asked for thee?
46 And when I brought thee into his presence he rejoiced in thee: and now remember the
kindness I did thee.
47 And I know that the king will repent him about me and will be wroth with a great
wrath about my execution.
48 For I am not guilty, and it shall he when thou shalt present me before him in his
palace, thou shalt meet with great good fortune, and know that Nadan my sister's son has
deceived me and has done this bad deed to me, and the king will repent of having slain me;
and now I have a cellar in the garden of my house, and no one knows of it.
49 Hide me in it with the knowledge of my wife. And I have a slave in prison who
deserves to be killed.
50 Bring him out and dress him in my clothes, and command the servants when they are
drunk to slay him.
They will not know who it is they are killing.
51 And cast away his head a hundred cubits from his body, and give his body to my
slaves that they may bury it.
And thou shalt have laid up a great treasure with me.
52 And then the swordsman did as Haiqar had commanded him, and he went to the king and
said to him,
'May thy head live for ever!'
53 Then Haiqar's wife let down to him in the hiding-place every week what sufficed for
him and no one knew of it but herself.
54 And the story was reported and repeated and spread abroad in every place of how
Haiqar the Sage had been slain and was dead, and all the people of that city mourned for
55 And they wept and said:
'Alas for thee, 0 Haiqar! and for thy learning and thy courtesy! How sad about thee and
about thy knowledge!
Where can another like thee be found? and where can there be a man so intelligent, so
learned, so skilled in ruling as to resemble thee that he may fill thy place?'
56 But the king was repenting about Haiqar, and his repentance availed him naught.
57 Then he called for Nadan and said to him, 'Go and take thy friends with thee and
make a mourning and a weeping for thy uncle Haiqar, and lament for him as the custom is,
doing honour to his memory.'
58 But when Nadan, the foolish, the ignorant, the hardhearted, went to the house of his
uncle, he neither wept nor
sorrowed nor wailed, but assembled heartless and dissolute people and set about eating and
59 And Nadan began to seize the maidservants and the slaves belonging to Haiqar, and
bound them and tortured them and drubbed them with a sore drubbing.
60 And he did not respect the wife of his uncle, she who had brought him up like her
own boy, but wanted her to fall
into sin with him.
61 But Haiqar had been cast into the hiding-place, and he heard the weeping of his
slaves and his neighbours, and he praised the Most High God, the Merciful One, and gave
thanks, and he always prayed and besought the Most High God.
62 And the swordsman came from time to time to Haiqar whilst he was in the midst of the
hiding-place: and Haiqar
came and entreated him. And he comforted him and wished his deliverance.
63 And when the story was reported in other countries that Haiqar the Sage had been
slain all the kings were grieved and despised king Sennacherib, and they lamented over
Haiqar the solver of riddles.
"The Riddles of the Sphinx." What really happened to Ahikar, His return.
A ND when the king of Egypt had made sure that Haiqar was
slain, he arose straightway and wrote a letter to king Sennacherib, reminding him in it
'of the peace and the health and the might and the honour which we wish specially for
thee, my beloved brother, king Sennacherib.
2 I have been desiring to build a castle between the heaven and the earth, and I want
thee to send me a wise, clever man from thyself to build it for me, and to answer me all
my questions, and that I may have the taxes and the custom duties of Asyria for three
3 Then he sealed the letter and sent it to Sennacherib.
4 He took it and read it and gave it to his viziers and to the nobles of his
kingdom, and they were perplexed and ashamed, and he was wroth with a great wrath, and was
puzzled about how he should act.
5 Then he assembled the old men and the learned men and the wise men and the
philosophers, and the diviners
and the astrologers, and every one who was in his country, and read them the letter and
said to them,
Who amongst you will go to Pharaoh king of Egypt and answer him his questions?'
6 And they said to him, '0 our lord the king! know thou that there is none in thy
kingdom who is acquainted with
these questions except Haiqar, thy vizier and secretary.
7 But as for us, we have no skill in this, unless it be Nadan, his sister's son for he
taught him all his wisdom and
learning and knowledge. Call him to thee, perchance he may untie this hard knot.'
8 Then the king called Nadan and said to him, 'Look at this letter and understand what
is in it.' And when Nadan read it, he said, '0 my lord! who is able to build a castle
between the heaven and the earth?'
9 And when the king heard the speech of Nadan he sorrowed with a great and sore sorrow,
snd stepped down from his throne and sat in the ashes, and began to weep and wail over
10 Saying, '0 my grief! 0 Haiqar, who didst know the secrets and the riddles! woe is me
for thee, 0 Haiqar!
0 teacher of my country and ruler of my kingdom, where shall I find thy like? 0 Haiqar, 0
teacher of my country,
where shall I turn for thee? woe is me for thee! how did I destroy thee! and I listened to
the talk of a stupid, ignorant boy without knowledge, without religion, without manliness.
11 Ah! and again Ah for myself! who can give thee to me just for once, or bring me word
that Haiqar is alive?
and I would give him the half of my kingdom.
12 Whence is this to me? Ah, Haiqar! that I might see thee just for once, that I might
take my fill of gazing at thee,
and delighting in thee.
13 Ah! 0 my grief for thee to all time! 0 Haiqar, how have I killed thee! and I tarried
not in thy case till I had seen the end of the matter.'
14 And the king went on weeping night and day. Now when the swordsman saw the wrath of
the king and his
sorrow for Haiqar, his heart was softened towards him, and he approached into his presence
and said to him:
15 '0 my lord! command thy servants to cut off my head.' Then said the king to him:
'Woe to thee, Abu Samik,
'what is thy fault?'
16 And the swordsman said unto him, '0 my master! every slave who acts contrary to the
word of his master is killed, and I have acted contrary to thy command.'
17 Then the king said unto him. 'Woe unto thee, 0 Abu Samik, in what hast thou acted
contrary to my command?'
18 And the swordsman said unto him, '0 my lord! thou didst command me to kill Haiqar,
and I knew that
thou wouldst repent thee concerning him, and that he had been wronged, and I hid him in a
and I killed one of his slaves, and he is now safe in the cistern, and if thou command me
I will bring him to thee.'
19 And the king said unto him. 'Woe to thee, 0 Abu Samik! thou hast mocked me and I am
20 And the swordsman said Unto him, 'Nay, but by the life of thy head, 0 my lord!
safe and alive.'
21 And when the king heard that saying, he felt sure of the matter, and his head swam,
and he fainted from joy,
and he commanded them to bring Haiqar.
22 And he said to the swordsman, '0 trusty servant! if thy speech be true, I would fain
enrich thee, and exalt thy
dignity above that of all thy friends.'
23 And the swordsman went along rejoicing till he came to Haiqar's house. And he opened
the door of the hiding-place, and went down and found Haiqar sitting, praising God, and
24 And he shouted to him, saying, '0 Haiqar, I bring the greatest of joy, and
happiness, and delight!'
25 And Haiqar said to him, 'What is the news, 0 Abu Samik?' And he told him all about
the beginning to the end. Then he took him and went to the king.
26 And when the king looked at him, he saw him in a state of want, and that his hair
had grown long like the
wild beasts' and his nails like the claws of an eagle, and that his body was dirty with
dust, and the colour of his
face had changed and faded and was now like ashes.
27 And when the king saw him he sorrowed over him and rose at once and embraced him and
and wept over him and said: 'Praise be to God! who hath brought thee back to me.'
28 Then he consoled him and comforted him. And he stripped off his robe, and put it on
the swordsman, and was very gracious to him, and gave him great wealth, and made Haiqar
29 Then said Haiqar to the king, 'Let my lord the king live for ever! These be the
deeds of the children of the world.
I have reared me a palm - tree that I might lean on it, and it bent sideways, and threw me
30 But, 0 my lord! since I have appeared before thee, let not care oppress thee.' And
the king said to him:
'Blessed be God, who showed thee mercy, and knew that thou wast wronged, and saved thee
thee from being slain.
31 But go to the warm bath, and shave thy head, and cut thy nails, and change thy
clothes and amuse thyself
for the space of forty days, that thou mayst do good to thyself and improve thy condition
and the colour of thy
face may come back to thee.
32 Then the king stripped off his costly robe, and put it on Haiqar, and Haiqar thanked
God and did obeisance
to the king, and departed to his dwelling glad and happy, praising the Most High God.
33 And the people of his household rejoiced with him,
and his friends and every one who heard that he was alive rejoiced also.
The letter of the "riddles" is shown to Ahikar. The boys on the eagles. The
first "airplane" ride. Off to Egypt. Ahikar, being a man of wisdom also has o
sense of humor. (Verse 27).
AND he did as the king commanded him, and took a rest for
2 Then he dressed himself in his gayest dress, and went riding to the king, with his
slaves behind him and before him, rejoicing and delighted.
3 But when Nadan his sister's son perceived what was happening, fear took hold of him
and terror, and he was perplexed, not knowing what to do.
4 And when Haiqar saw it he entered into the king's presence and greeted him, and he
returned the greeting,
and made him sit down at his side, saying to him, '0 my darling Haiqar! look at these
letters which the king of Egypt
sent to us, after he had heard that thou wast slain.
5 They have provoked us and overcome us, and many of the people of our country have
fled to Egypt for fear of the
taxes that the king of Egypt has sent to demand from us.'
6 Then Haiqar took the letter and read it and understood all its contents.
7 Then he said to the king, Be not wroth, 0 my lord! I will go to Egypt, and I will
return the answers to Pharaoh,
and I will display this letter to him, and I will reply to him about the taxes, and I will
send back all those who
have run away; and I will put thy enemies to shame with the help of the Most High God, and
Happiness of thy kingdom.'
8 And when the king heard this speech from Haiqar he rejoiced with a great joy, and his
heart was expanded
and he showed him favour.
9 And Haiqar said to the king: 'Grant me a delay of forty days that I may consider this
question and manage it.'
And the king permitted this.
10 And Haiqar went to his dwelling, and he commanded the huntsmen to capture two young
eaglets for him,
and they captured them and brought them to him: and he commanded the weavers of ropes to
weave two cables
of cotton for him, each of them two thousand cubits long, and he had the carpenters
brought and ordered them to make two great boxes, and they did this.
11 Then he took two little lads, and spent every day sacrificing lambs and feeding the
eagles and the boys, and
making the boys ride on the backs of the eagles, and he bound them with a firm knot, and
tied the cable to the
feet of the eagles and let them soar upwards little by little every day, to a distance of
ten cubits, till they grew
accustomed and were educated to it; and they rose all the length of the rope till they
reached the sky;
the boys being on their backs. Then he drew them to himself.
12 And when Haiqar saw that his desire was fulfilled he charged the boys that when they
were borne aloft to the sky they were to shout, saying:
13 Bring us clay and stone that we may build a castle for king Pharaoh, for we are
14 And Haiqar was never done training them and exercising them till they had reached
the utmost possible point (of skill).
15 Then leaving them he went to the king and said to him, 'O my lord! the work is
finished according to thy desire.
Arise with me that I may show thee the wonder.'
16 So the king sprang up and sat with Haiqar and went to a wide place and sent to bring
the eagles and the boys,
and Haiqar tied them and let them off into the air all the length of the ropes and they
began to shout as he had taught them. Then he drew them to himself and put them in their
17 And the king and those who were with him wondered with a great wonder: and the king
kissed Haiqar between his eyes and said to him, 'Go in peace, 0 my beloved! 0 pride of my
kingdom! to Egypt and answer the questions of Pharaoh and overcome him by the strength of
the Most High God.'
18 Then he bade him farewell, and took his troops and his army and the young men and
the eagles, and went
towards the dwellings of Egypt; and when he had arrived, he turned towards the country of
19 And when the people of Egypt knew that Sennacherib had sent a man of his Privy
Council to talk with Pharaoh
and to answer his questions, they carried the news to king Pharaoh, and he sent a party of
his Privy Councillors to
bring him before him.
20 And he came and entered into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance to him as it
is fitting to do to kings.
21 And he said to him: '0 my lord the king! Sennacherib the king hails thee with
abundance of peace and might, and honour.
22 And he has sent me, who am one of his slaves, that I may answer thee thy questions,
and may fulfil all thy desire: for thou hast sent to seek from my lord the king a man who
will build thee a castle between the heaven and the earth.
23 And I by the help of the Most High God and thy noble favour and the power of my lord
the king will build it for
thee as thou desirest.
24 But, 0 my lord the king! what thou hast said in it about the taxes of Egypt for
three years - now the stability
of a kingdom is strict justice, and if thou winnest and my hand bath no skill in replying
then my lord the king will send thee the taxes which thou hast mentioned.
25 And if I shall have answered thee in thy questions, it shall remain for thee to send
hast mentioned to my lord the king.'
26 And when Pharaoh heard that speech, he wondered and was perplexed by the freedom of
his tongue and the
pleasantness of his speech.
27 And king Pharaoh said to him, '0 man! what is thy name?' And he said, 'Thy servant
is Abiqam, and I a little ant
of the ants of king Sennacherib.'
28 And Pharaoh said to him, 'Had thy lord no one of higher dignity than thee, that he
has sent me a little ant
to reply to me, and to converse with me?'
29 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! I would to God Most High that I may
fulfil what is on thy mind,
for God is with the weak that He may confound the strong.'
30 Then Pharaoh commanded that they should prepare a dwelling for Abiqam and supply him
meat, and drink, and all that he needed.
31 And when it was finished, three days afterwards Pharaoh clothed himself in purple
and red and sat on his throne, and all his viziers and the magnates of his kingdom were
standing with their hands crossed, their feet close together, and their heads bowed.
32 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Abiqam, and when he was presented to him, he did obeisance
and kissed the ground in front of him.
33 And king Pharaoh said to him, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and the nobles of my
kingdom, to whom are they like?'
34 And Haiqar said to him '0 my lord the king !thou art like the idol Bel, and the
nobles of thy
kingdom are like his servants.'
35 He said to him, 'Go, and come back hither to - morrow.' So Haiqar went as king
Pharaoh had commanded him.
36 And on the morrow Haiqar went into the presence of Pharaoh, and did obeisance, and
stood before the king.
And Pharaoh was dressed in a red colour, and the nobles were dressed in white.
37 And Pharaoh said to him '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and the nobles of my kingdom, to
whom are they like?'
35 And Abiqam said to him, '0 my lord! thou art like the sun, and thy servants are like
its beams.' And Pharaoh said
to him, 'Go to thy dwelling, and come hither to - morrow.'
39 Then Pharaoh commanded his Court to wear pure white, and Pharaoh was dressed like
them and sat upon
his throne and he commanded them to fetch Haiqar. And he entered and sat down before him.
40 And Pharaoh said to him, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and my nobles, to whom are they
41 And Abiqam said to him, '0 my lord! thou art like the moon, and thy nobles are like
the planets and the stars.'
And Pharaoh said to him, 'Go, and to - morrow be thou here.'
42 Then Pharaoh commanded his servants to wear robes of various colours, and Pharaoh
wore a red velvet dress, and sat on his throne, and commanded them to fetch Abiqam. And he
entered and did obeisance before him.
43 And he said, '0 Abiqam, whom am I like? and my armies, to whom are they like?' And
he said, '0 my lord!
thou art like the month of April, and thy armies are like its flowers.'
44 And when the king heard It he rejoiced with a great joy, and said, '0 Abiqam! the
first time thou didst compare me to the idol Bel, and my nobles to his servants.
45 And the second time thou didst compare me to the sun, and my nobles to the sunbeam'.
46 And the third time thou didst compare me to the moon, and my nobles to the planets
and the stars.
47 And the fourth time thou didst compare me to the month of April, and my nobles to
But now, 0 Abiqam! tell me, thy lord, king Sennacherib, whom is he like? and his nobles,
to whom are they like ?'
48 And Haiqar shouted with a loud voice and said: 'Be it far from me to make mention of
my lord the king and thou seated on thy throne. But get up on thy feet that I may tell
thee whom my lord the
king is like and to whom his nobles are like.'
49 And Pharaoh was perplexed by the freedom of his tongue and his boldness in answenng.
Then Pharaoh arose
from his throne, and stood before Haiqar, and said to him, 'Tell me now, that I may
perceive whom thy lord the king is like, and his nobles, to whom they are like.'
50 And Haiqar said to him:
'My lord is the God of heaven, and his nobles are the lightnings and the thunder, and when
he wills the winds blow and the rain falls.
51 And he commands the thunder, and it lightens and rains, and he holds the sun, and it
gives not its light, and the moon and the stars, and they circle not.
52 And he commands the tempest, and it blows and the rain falls and
it tramples on April and destroys its flowers and its houses.'
53 And when Pharaoh heard this speech, he was greatly perplexed and was wroth with a
great wrath, and said to him: '0 man! tell me the truth, and let me know who thou really
54 And he told him the truth. 'I am Haiqar the scribe, greatest of the Privy
Councillors of king Sennacherib,
and I am his vizier and the Governor of his kingdom, and his Chancellor.'
55 And he said to him, 'Thou hast told the truth in this saying. But we have heard of
Haiqar, that king
Sennacherib has slain him, yet thou dost seem to be alive and well.'
56 And Haiqar said to him, 'Yes, so it was, but praise be to God, who knoweth what is
hidden, for my lord the king
commanded me to be killed, and he believed the word of profligate men, but the Lord
and blessed is he who trusteth in Him.'
57 And Pharaoh said to Haiqar, 'Go, and to - morrow be thou here, and tell me a word
that I have never
heard from my nobles nor from the people of my kingdom and my country.'
The ruse succeeds. Ahikar answers every question of Pharaoh. The boys on the eagles are
the climax of the day. Wit, so rarely found in the ancient Sciptures, is revealed in
AND Haiqar went to his dwelling, and wrote a letter, saying
in it on this wise:
2 'From Sennacherib king of Assyria and Nineveh to Pharaoh king of Egypt.
3 'Peace be to thee, 0 my brother! and what we make known to thee by this is that a
brother has need of his brother, and kings of each other, and my hope from thee is that
thou wouldst lend me nine hundred talents of gold, for I need it for the victualling of
some of the soldiers, that I may spend it upon them. And after a little while I will send
4 Then he folded the letter, and presented it on the morrow to Pharaoh.
5 And when he 'saw it, he was perplexed and said to him, 'Verily I have never heard
anything like this language from any one.'
6 Then Haiqar said to him, 'Truly this is a debt which thou owest to my lord the
7 And Pharaoh accepted this, saying, '0 Haiqar, it is the like of thee who are honest
in the service of kings.
8 Blessed be God who hath made thee perfect in wisdom and hath adorned thee with
philosophy and knowledge.
9 And now, 0 Haiqar, there remains what we desire from thee, that thou shouldst build
us a castle between heaven and earth.'
10 Then said Haiqar, 'To hear is to obey. I will build thee a castle according to thy
wish and choice; but,
0 my lord! prepare us lime and stone and clay and workmen, and I have skilled builders who
will build for thee as thou desirest.'
11 And the king prepared all that for him, and they went to a wide place; and Haiqar
and his boys came to it, and
he took the eagles and the young men with him; and the king and all his nobles went and
the whole city assembled, that they might see what Haiqar would do.
12 Then Haiqar let the eagles out of the boxes, and tied the young men on their backs,
and tied the ropes to the eagles' feet, and let them go in the air. And they soared
upwards, till they remained between heaven and earth.
13 And the boys began to shout, saying, 'Bring bricks, bring clay, that we may build
the king's castle, for we are standing idle!'
14 And the crowd were astonished and perplexed, and they wondered. And the king and his
15 And Haiqar and his servants began to beat the workmen and they shouted for the
king's troops, saying to them,
'Bring to the skilled workmen what they want and do not hinder them from their work.'
16 And the king said to him, 'Thou art mad; who can bring anything up to that
17 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord! how shall we build a castle in the air? and if
my lord the king were here,
he would have built several castles in a single day.'
18 And Pharaoh said to him,
'Go, 0 Haiqar, to thy dwelling, and rest, for we have given up building the castle, and to
- morrow come to me.'
19 Then Haiqar went to his dwelling and on the morrow he appeared before Phanaoh. And
'0 Haiqar, what news is there of the horse of thy lord? for when he neighs in the country
of Assyria and Nineveb,
and our mares hear his voice, they cast their young.'
20 And when Haiqar heard this speech he went and took a cat, and bound her and began to
flog her with a violent
flogging till the Egyptians heard it, and they went and told the king about it.
21 And Pharaoh sent to fetch Haiqar, and said to him, '0 Haiqar, wherefore dost thou
flog thus and beat that dumb beast?'
22 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! verily she has done an ugly deed to me,
and has deserved this
drubbing and flogging, for my lord king Sennacherib had given me a fine cock, and he had a
strong true voice and
knew the hours of the day and the night.
23 And the cat got up this very night and cut off its head and went away, and because
of this deed I have treated her to this drubbing.'
24 And Pharaoh said to him, '0 Haiqar, I see from all this that thou art growing old
and art in thy dotage,
for between Egypt and Nineveh there are sixty-eight parasangs, and how did she go this
very night and cut off the
head of thy cock and come back?'
25 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord! if there were such a distance between Egypt and
Nineveh, how could
thy mares hear when my lord the king's horse neighs and cast their young?
and how could the voice of the horse reach to Egypt?'
26 And when Pharaoh heard he knew that Haiqar had answered his questions.
27 And Pharaoh said, '0 Haiqar, I want thee to make me ropes of the sea - sand.'
28 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my lord the king! order them to bring me a rope out of
the treasury that I
may make one like it.'
29 Then Haiqar went to the back of the house, and bored holes in the rough shore of the
and took a handful of sand in his hand, sea - sand, and when the sun rose, and penetrated
into the holes,
he spread the sand in the sun till it became as if woven like ropes.
30 And Haiqar said, 'Command thy servants to take these ropes, and whenever thou
desirest it, I will weave
thee some like them.'
31 And Pharaoh said, 'O Haiqar, we have a millstone here and it has been broken and I
want thee to sew it up.'
32 Then Haiqar looked at it and found another stone.
33 And he said to Pharaoh. '0 my lord! I am a foreigner and I have no tool for sewing.
34 But I want thee to command thy faithful shoemakers to cut awls from this stone, that
I may sew that millstone.'
35 Then Pharaoh and all his nobles laughed. And he said, 'Blessed be the Most High God,
who gave thee this wit and knowledge.'
36 And when Pharaoh saw that Haiqar had overcome him, and returned him his answers, he
at once became excited,
and commanded them to collect for him three years' taxes, and to bring them to Haiqar.
37 And he stripped off his robes and put them upon Haiqar, and his soldiers, and his
servants, and gave him
the expenses of his journey.
38 And he said to him, 'Go in peace, 0 strength of his lord and pride of his Doctors!
have any of the Sultans thy like?
give my greetings to thy lord king Sennacherib, and say to him how we have sent him gifts,
for kings are content with little.'
39 Then Haiqar arose, and kissed king Pharaoh's hands and kissed the ground in front of
him, and wished him strength and continuance, and abundance in his treasury, and said to
him, '0 my lord! I desire from thee that not one of our countryrnen may remain in Egypt.'
40 And Pharaoh arose and sent heralds to proclaim in the streets of Egypt that not one
of the people of Assyria
or Nineveh should remain in the land of Egypt, but that they should go with Haiqar.
41 Then Haiqar went and took leave of king Pharaoh, and journeyed, seeking the land of
Assyria and Nineveh;
and he had some treasures and a great deal of wealth.
42 And when the news reached king Sennacherib that Haiqar was coming, he went out to
meet him and rejoiced over him exceedingly with great joy and embraced him and kissed him,
and said to him, 'Welcome home, 0 kinsman! my brother Haiqar, the strength of my kingdom,
and pride of my realm.
43 Ask what thou would'st have from me, even if thou desirest the half of my kingdom
and of my possessions.
44 Then said Haiqar unto him, '0 my lord the king, live for ever! Show favour, 0 my
lord the king! to Abu Samik
in my stead, for my life was in the hands of God and in his.'
45 Then said Sennacherib the king, 'Honour be to thee, 0 my beloved Haiqar! I will make
the station of Abu Samik
the swordsman higher than all my Privy Councillors and my favourites.'
46 Then the king began to ask him how he had got on with Pharaoh from his first arrival
until he had come away from his presence, and how he had answered all his questions, and
how he had received the taxes from him, and the changes of raiment and the presents.
47 And Sennacherib the king rejoiced with a great joy, and said to Haiqar, 'Take what
thou wouldst fain have of this tribute, for it is all within the grasp of thy hand.'
48 And Haiqar said: 'Let the king live for ever! I desire naught but the safety of my
lord the king and the continuance of his greatness.
49 0 my lord! what can I do with wealth and its like? but if thou wilt show me favour,
give me Nadan, my sister's son, that I may recompense him for what he has done to me, and
grant me his blood and hold me guiltless of it.'
50 And Sennacherib the king said, 'Take him, I have given him to thee,' And Haiqar took
his sister's son, and bound his hands with chains of iron, and took him to his dwellmg,
and put a heavy
fetter on his feet, and tied it with a tight knot, and after binding him thus he cast him
into a dark room,
beside the retiring - place, and appointed Nebu - hal as sentinel over him and commanded
him to give him a
loaf of bread and a little water every day.
The parables of Ahikar in which
he completes his nephew's education.
Striking similes. Ahikar calls the boy
picturesque names. Here ends the story of Ahikar.
AND whenever Haiqar went in or out he scolded Nadan, his sister's son, saying to him
2 0 Nadan, my boy! I have done to thee all that is good and kind. and thou hast
me for it with what is ugly and bad and with killing.
3 '0 my son! it is said in the proverbs: He who listeneth not with his ear, they will
make him listen with
the scruff of his neck.'
4 And Nadan said, 'For what cause art thou wroth with me?'
5 And Haiqar said to him, 'Because I brought thee up, and taught thee, and gave thee
honour and respect and
made thee great, and reared thee with the best of breeding, and seated thee in my place
that thou mightest be
my heir in the world, and thou didst treat me with killing and didst repay me with my
6 But the Lord knew that I was wronged, and He saved me from the snare which thou hadst
set for me, for the Lord healeth the broken hearts and hindereth the envious and the
7 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like the scorpion which, when it strikes on brass,
8 0 my boy! thou art like the gazelle who was eating the roots of the madder, and it
said to her,
"Eat of me to - day and take thy fill, and to - morrow they will tan thy hide in my
9 O my boy! thou hast been to me like a man who saw his comrade naked in the chilly
time of winter; and he took cold water and poured it upon him.
10 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a man who took a stone, and threw it up to
heaven to stone his Lord with it.
And the stone did not hit, and did not reach high enough, but it became the cause of guilt
11 0 my boy! if thou hadst honoured me and respected me and hadst listened to my words
thou wouldst have been my heir, and wouldst have reigned over my dominions.
12 0 my son! know thou that if the tail of the dog or the pig were ten cubits long it
would not approach to the worth of the horse's even if it were like silk.
13 0 my boy! I thought that thou wouldst have been my heir at my death; and thou
through thy envy
and thy insolence didst desire to kill me. But the Lord delivered me from thy cunning.
14 0 my son! thou hast been to me like a trap which was set up on the dunghill, and
there came a sparrow and found the trap set up. And the sparrow said to the trap,
"What doest thou here?" Said the trap, "I am praying here to God."
15 And the lark asked it also, "What is the piece of wood that thou holdest?"
Said the trap, "That is a young oak-tree on which I lean at the time of prayer.
16 Said the lark: "And what is that thing in thy mouth?" Said the trap:
"That is bread and victuals which I carry for
all the hungry and the poor who come near to me."
17 Said the lark: "Now then may I come forward and eat, for I am hungry?" And
the trap said to him, "Come forward." And the lark approached that it might eat.
18 But the trap sprang up and seized the lark by its neck
19 And the lark answered and said to the trap, "If that is thy bread for the
hungry God accepteth not thine alms and thy kind deeds.
20 And if that is thy fasting and thy prayers, God accepteth from thee neither thy fast
nor thy prayer, and God will not perfect what is good concerning thee."
21 0 my boy? thou hast been to me (as) a lion who made friends with an ass, and the ass
kept walking before the lion for a time; and one day the lion sprang upon the ass and ate
22 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a weevil in the wheat, for it does no good to
anything, but spoils the wheat and gnaws it.
23 0 my boy! thou hast been like a man who sowed ten measures of wheat, and when it was
harvest time, he arose and reaped it, and garnered it, and threshed it, and toiled over it
to the very utmost, and it turned out to be ten measures, and its master said to it:
"0 thou lazy thing! thou hast not grown and thou hast not shrunk."
24 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like the partridge that had been thrown into the net,
and she could not save herself, but she called out to the partridges, that she might cast
them with herself into the net.
25 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the dog that was cold and it went into the
potter's house to get warm.
26 And when it had got warm, it began to bark at them, and they chased it out and beat
it, that it might not bite them.
27 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the pig who went into the hot bath with people
of quality, and
when it came out of the hot bath, it saw a filthy hole and it went down and, wallowed in
28 0 my son! thou hast been to me like the goat which joined its comrades on their way
to the sacrifice, and it was unable to save itself.
29 0 my boy! the dog which is not fed from its hunting becomes food for flies.
30 0 my son! the hand which does not labour and plough and (which) is greedy and
cunning shall be cut away from its shoulder.
31 0 my son! the eye in which light is not seen, the ravens shall pick at it and pluck
32 0 my boy! thou hast been to me like a tree whose branches they were cutting, and it
to them, "If something of me were not in your hands, verily you would be unable to
33 0 my boy! thou art like the cat to whom they said:
"Leave off thieving till we make for thee a chain of gold and feed thee with sugar
34 And she said, "I am not forgetful of the craft of my father and my
35 0 my son! thou hast been like the serpent riding on a thorn-bush when he was in the
midst of a river, and a wolf saw them and said, "Mischief upon mischief, and let him
who is more mischievous than they direct both of them."
36 And the serpent said to the wolf, "The lambs and the goats and the sheep which
thou hast eaten all thy life, wilt thou return them to their fathers and to their parents
37 Said the wolf, "No." And the serpent said to him, "I think that after
myself thou art the worst of us."
38 0 my boy! I fed thee with good food and thou didst not feed me with dry bread.
39 0 my boy! I gave thee sugared water to drink and good syrup, and thou didst
not give me water from the
well to drink.
40 0 my boy! I taught thee, and brought thee up, and thou didst dig a hiding-place for
me and didst conceal me.
41 0 my boy! I brought thee up with the best upbringing and trained thee like a tall
cedar; and thou hast twisted
and bent me.
42 0 my boy! it was my hope concerning thee that thou wouldst build me a fortified
castle, that I might be
concealed from my enemies in it, and thou didst become to me like one burying in the depth
of the earth;
but the Lord took pity on me and delivered me from thy cunning.
43 0 my boy! I wished thee well, and thou didst reward me with evil and hatefulness,
and now I would fain tear out thine eyes, and make thee food for dogs, and cut out thy
tongue, and take off thy head with the edge of the sword, and recompense thee for thine
44 And when Nadan heard this speech from his uncle Haiqar, he said: '0 my uncle! deal
with me according to thy knowledge, and forgive me my sins, for who is there who hath
sinned like me, or who is there who forgives like thee?
45 Accept me, 0 my uncle! Now I will serve in thy house, and groom thy horses and sweep
up the dung
of thy cattle, and feed thy sheep, for I am the wicked and thou art the righteous: I the
guilty and thou the forgiving.'
46 And Haiqar said to him, '0 my boy! thou art like the tree which was fruitless beside
the water, and its
master was fain to cut it down, and it said to him, "Remove me to another place, and
if I do not bear frult,
cut me down."
47 And its master said to it, "Thou being beside the water hast not borne
fruit, how shalt thou bear fruit
when thou art in another place?"
48 0 my boy! the old age of the eagle is better than the youth of the crow.
49 0 my boy! they said to the wolf, "Keep away from the sheep lest their dust
should harm thee."
And the wolf said, "The dregs of the sheep's milk are good for my eyes."
50 0 my boy! they made the wolf go to school that he might learn to read, and they said
to him, "Say A, B."
He said, "Lamb and goat in my belly."
51 0 my boy! they set the ass down at the table and he fell, and began to roll himself
in the dust, and one said,
"Let him roll himself, for it is his nature, he will not change."
52 0 my boy! the saying has been confirmed which runs: "If thou begettest a boy,
call him thy son,
and if thou rearest a boy, call him thy slave."
53 0 my boy! he who doeth good shall meet with good; and he who doeth evil shall meet
with evil, for the Lord
requiteth a man according to the measure of his work.
54 0 my boy! what shall I say more to thee than these sayings? for the Lord knoweth
what is' hidden, and is acquainted with the mysteries and the secrets.
55 And He will requite thee and will judge betwixt me and thee, and will recompense
thee according to thy desert,'
56 And when Nadan heard that speech from his uncle Haiqar, he swelled up immediately
became like a blown-out bladder.
57 And his limbs swelled and his legs and his feet and his side, and he was torn and
his belly burst asunder
and his entrails were scattered, and he perished, and died.
58 And his latter end was destruction, and he went to hell. For he who digs a pit for
his brother shall fall into it; and he who sets up traps shall be caught in them.
59 This is what happened and (what) we found about the tale of Haiqar, and praise be to
God for ever.
Amen, and peace.
60 This chronicle is finished with the help of God, may He be exalted:
Amen, Amen, Amen.