On the Fall of Pride

Nasir-i Khushraw writes:

“One day and eagle rose form the to of a hill, opened its wings with pride and soared into the sky. It looked at its straight feathers with admiration and said:


Today the face if the earth lies under my wing.

If I fly upwards, I can go beyond the sun; if I look downwards, I can spot an atom, though it be in the sea.

And if a mosquito moves on a dust-heap, my eye can catch its slightest movement.

Much it boasted and reckoned not with Fate. Behold how this tyrannical sky dealt with it.

Suddenly, from his ambush, an expert archer shot at it an arrow, as ordained by Fate and Destiny.

That heart-piercing arrow fell on the eagle’s wing and brought it down from the cloud to the earth.

The eagle fell on the ground and rolled like a fish and flapped its wings to the right and left.

And much it wondered how such sharpness and swiftness and flight could proceed from a little bit on iron and wood.

Then it looked closely at the arrow and saw there its own plumes and said: ‘Against whom shall I complain: it is from us what hath come to us.’

O Proof (of Khurasán), banish pride from thy mind: remember the eagle, how it boasted, what it fared.”

Source: Selections from Nasir-i Khusraw, translated by Hadi Hasan, Ilm, December 1978, published by the Ismailia Association for the United Kingdom.

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