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The King rewards the hospitable peasant

The King rewards the hospitable peasant

From a manuscript of Saʿdi, Gulistan (The rose garden), dated AH 1050 (1640 AD)

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Pers d 43, fols 80v–81r

A story from Saʿdi’s moralistic work Gulistan tells of a king caught in need of shelter while on a hunting trip.

A peasant offers refreshments and the royal visitor passes the night in his humble dwelling, despite the misgivings of his courtiers. The king rewards his host with gifts, including a robe of honour that the grateful man is seen wearing as he bows to the ruler as he departs.

The lively margins are filled with scenes of animals in the wild, including elephants, lions, mountain goats, deer and leopards.

The manuscript once belonged to Zeb un-Nisaʾ, the daughter of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707).