Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi and the Thieves (Part-2)

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To read the previous part of this story, click here.
 
The King replied: “I have this speciality in my beard that when criminals are handed over to their executioner, I merely shake my beard and such criminals are immediately set free.” (In other words, if as a show of mercy I shake my beard, the criminals found guilty of murder, are set free).

On hearing this the thieves said: “O dear Qutub, on the day of difficulty, you will be our one means of salvation.” (In other words, if we are arrested, then through you blessings we will be saved. Now we do not have to fear, because the rest of us had the special gift which would help us in our thieving exploits, but none of us had the means of granting safety from punishment. This speciality lies only with you. Now we need not have any fear of punishment. Now we can get on with our work).

They all went in the direction of the palace of Shah Mahmood with the King in their midst. Along the way a dog barked and the one who understood the dog’s language translated: “The King is also in you midst.” Although they heard it, no one paid any attention to this information, as their greed was uppermost in their minds. One of them smelled the ground and explained that this is the Royal Palace . There is a treasure in this place. The other one threw a rope ladder against the wall. The other one made a hole in the wall and they all entered to burgle. Afterwards they divided the loot amongst themselves and hastily each one of them went to hide his share of the spoils.

The King noted each one’s description and found out where each of them resided. He left them and secretly re-entered the Royal Palace . The following day the King related the entire story to his courtiers and thereafter sent the policemen to arrest them and to inform them of their death sentence.

When they were brought before the Court with hands bound together, they were all trembling in fear before the King’s throne. However, the thief who had this special gift of recognizing anybody during the day whom he had seen during the darkness, was quite at ease. In him together with the signs of fear there were also sights of hope. In other words, although he was struck by awe while standing before the King and although fearing the King’s wrath and revenge, he also had the hope, that the King would be true to his word, that when in mercy he shakes his beard, criminals will be set free. Furthermore he also had the hope of setting free al his companions because the King will surely not turn away from all those whom he knew and recognized.

This person’s face was changing from yellow to red, as within himself the feelings of fear and hope alternated. The Sultan Mahmood in Kingly dignity passed judgment that they all should be handed over to the Executioner to be hung on the gallows. As the King himself was witness to their crime, there was no need for any other witnesses.

As soon as the King announced his judgement, this person appealed in great humility: “Sire, with you permission, may I say something?” The King permitted him to speak and he said: “O Master, each one of us had exhibited his special gift which helped in this crime. Now it is time that the Kingly speciality should be exhibited according to the promise. I have all the while recognized you. Remember you had promised that in you beard there is this speciality, that if you cause it to move in mercy, the criminal will be saved from punishment. Hence, O King, shake you beard, so that through the blessings of your grace, all of us can be saved from the punishment of our crimes. Our specialities have brought us to the gallows. Now it is only you special gift that is left which can save us from being punished of our crimes. Our specialities have brought us to the gallows. Now it is only you special gift that is left which can save us from being punished. Now is the time for the exhibition of your speciality. Kindly shake your beard. Because of fear our lives have reached right up to our mouths. Please save us with the special gift that lies in your beard.”

Sultan Mahmood smiled at the plea and became filled with mercy and grace as he heard their pitiful admission of guilt. He said: “Each one of you have exhibited his special quality to such an extent that it has brought you to the brim of destruction, except in the case of this one. He recognized me as the Sultan. He saw me in the darkness of the night and recognized me as the Sultan. Hence for his having recognized me, I set all of you free. I feel ashamed at those eyes which recognized me not to shake my beard and thereby exhibit my special quality.”

To read the next part of this story, click here.

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