Persevere and Prosper
“HE that seeks, shall find, and to him that knocks shall be opened,” says an old Arab proverb.
“I will try that,” said a youth one day. To carry out his intention he journeyed to Bagdad, where he presented himself before the Vizier (a high-ranking minister.)
“Lord!” said he, “for many years I have lived a quiet and solitary life, the boredom of which wearies me. I have never allowed myself to want anything. But as my teacher daily repeated to me, ‘He that seeks shall find, and to him that knocks shall be opened,’ so I have now come to the decision that my will is nothing less than to have the Caliph’s daughter for my wife.”
The Vizier thought the poor young man was mad, and told him to call again some other time.
Persisting, he returned day after day and never felt worried or put off at the same often repeated answer. One day, the Caliph called on the Vizier, as the youth was repeating his statement.
Full of astonishment the Caliph listened to the strange demand, and being in no humor for having the poor youth’s head taken off, but on the contrary, being rather in a good mood for a bit of fun, his Mightiness said: “For the great, the wise, or the brave, to request a Princess for wife, is a reasonable demand; but what are your claims? To be the possessor of my daughter you must distinguish yourself by one of these attributes, or else by some great undertaking. Ages ago a gemstone of priceless value was lost in the Tigris river; he who finds it shall have the hand of my daughter.”
The youth, satisfied with the promise of the Caliph, went to the shores of the Tigris. With a small boat he went every morning to the river, scooping out the water and throwing it on the land; and after having worked for hours in this manner, he knelt down and prayed. The fishes became at last uneasy at his persistence and being fearful that, in the course of time, he might exhaust all the water, they assembled in great meeting.
“What is the purpose of this man?” demanded the king of the fishes.
“The possession of the gemstone that lies buried in the bottom of the Tigris,” was the reply.
“I advise you, then,” said the aged monarch, “to give it up to him; for if he has the steady will, and has positively resolved to find it, he will work until he has drained the last drop of water from the Tigris, rather than deviate a hair’s breadth from his purpose.”
The fishes, out of fear, threw the gemstone into the vessel of the youth. As as a reward, he received the daughter of the Caliph for his wife.
He who earnestly decides on something and persists, can do much!