The parables of Ahikar in which he completes his nephews education. Striking similes. Ahikar calls the boy picturesque names. Here ends the story of Ahikar.
And whenever Haiqâr went in or out he scolded Nadan, his sister's son, saying to him wisely:
2 'O Nadan, my boy! I have done to thee all that is good and kind and thou hast rewarded me for it with what is ugly and bad and with killing.
3 'O 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 Haiqâr 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 ruin.
6 But the Lord knew that I was wronged, and He saved me from the ware which thou hadst set for me, for the Lord healeth the broken hearts and hindereth the envious and the haughty.
7 O my boy! thou hast been to me like the scorpion which when it strikes on brass, pierces it.
8 O my boy! thou art like the gazelle who was eating the roots of the madder, and it add me to-day and to-morrow they will tan they hide in my roots."
9 O my boy! thou hast been to who saw his comrade naked in the chilly time of winter; and he took cold water and poured it on him.
10 O 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 and sin.
11 O 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 O 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 O 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 O 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 O 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 it up.
22 O 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 O 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: "O thou lazy thing! thou hast not grown and thou hast not shrunk."
24 O 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 O 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 O 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 it.
28 O 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 O my boy! the dog which is not fed from its hunting becomes food for flies.
30 O my son! the hand which does not labour and plough and (which) is greedy and cunning shall be cut away from its shoulder.
31 O my son! the eye in which light is not seen, the ravens shall pick at it and pluck it out.
32 O my boy! thou hast been to me like a tree whose branches they were cutting, and it said
to them, "If something of me were not in your hands, verily you would be unable to cut me."
33 O 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 and almonds."
34 And she said, "I am not forgetful of the craft of my father and my mother."
35 O 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 or no?"
37 Said the wolf, "No." And the serpent said to him, "I think that after myself thou art the worst of us."
38 O my boy! I fed thee with good food and thou didst not feed me with dry bread.
39 O 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 O my boy! I taught thee, and brought thee up, and thou didst dig a hiding-place for me and didst conceal me.
41 O 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 O 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 O 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 abominable deeds.'
44 And when Nadan heard this speech from his uncle Haiqâr, he said: 'O 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, O 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.' 1
46 And Haiqâr said to him, 'O 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 fruit, 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 O my boy! the old age of the eagle is better than the youth of the crow.
49 O 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 O 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 bell"
51 O 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 O 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 O 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 O 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 Haiqâr, he swelled up immediately and 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 Haiqâr, 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.
218:1 Compare the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke XV. 19.