The Fables Of Pilpay Quotes

"He That Plants Thorns Must Never Expect To Gather Roses"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The moral in this tale of the ignorant physician is the same as that of the parable in the Bible: As you sow so shall you reap. While the book from which it comes is not so old as the New Testament, it is somewhat related to the style through the middle-eastern influence. Also these fables, first appearing in The Panchatantra (c.300-500), are similar to the Budhist Jatakas. It is particularly interesting to note that the first widely distributed translation came before the death of Persian King Nushirwan (fl. c. 531-579) and was by the court physician. The story has to do with two doctors, one wise and humble, the other ignorant and pretentious. When the former lost his eyesight he retired to the desert, but soon the King recalled him from exile to diagnose the illness of the princess. The learned man prescribed a medicine to be found in the King's treasury, whereupon the impostor said he knew its whereabouts. In the mixup of boxes, the bluffing poltroon brought out poison, and the princess died. The legendary story-teller moralizes as follows:

"These chapters," concluded Pilpay, "may it please your Majesty, are lessons to deceivers and sycophants, that they ought to reform their manners; and I think have sufficiently made it appear that slanderers and railers generally come to an unfortunate end; besides, that while they live they render themselves odious to all human society. He that plants thorns, must never expect to gather roses."