The Gulistan of Sa’di

Author: Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa'di Shirazi  | Date: 1258

Story 11

When I was a child I asked an illustrious man about puberty. He replied: ’It is recorded in books that it has three signs. First, the age of fifteen years; secondly nocturnal pollutions; and thirdly, sprouting of hair on the pudenda; but in reality there is only one sign which is sufficient that thou shouldst seek the approbation of the most high and glorious rather than to be in the bondage of sensual pleasures; and whoever does not entertain this disposition is by erudite men considered not to have attained puberty.’

The form of man was attained by a drop of water

Which remained forty days in the womb.

If in forty years it has not attained sense and propriety

It can in reality not be called a man.

Virility consists in liberality and amiableness.

Think not that it is only in the material figure.

Virtue is necessary because the form may be painted

In halls with vermilion or verdigris.

If a man possesses not excellence and goodness

What is the difference between him and a picture on the wall?

It is no virtue to gain the whole world.

Gain the heart of one person if thou canst.


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Chicago: Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa'di Shirazi, "Story 11," The Gulistan of Sa’di Original Sources, accessed March 20, 2023,

MLA: Shirazi, Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa'di. "Story 11." The Gulistan of Sa’di, Original Sources. 20 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Shirazi, SM, 'Story 11' in The Gulistan of Sa’di. Original Sources, retrieved 20 March 2023, from