Drink all the wine you need to get in the spirit of chasing a lion

From Georges Dumezil’s The Plight of a Sorcerer (pg. 99), cited from a French translation of a work of Al-Tha’alibi, Histoire des Rois des Perses (149-152):

One day, standing on the terrace of one of his palaces and contemplating the green fields that spread all around him, his eyes as far as they could see beheld nothing but greenery. While he feasted his eyes on the beauty of the scene, enchanted by the visible proof of cultivation, he spotted far away in a gap in the verdure something black on white. Having given orders to send a man there immediately to bring him an explanation of this, the messenger upon his return reported that a man going from one village to another, totally drunk, had fallen in the field like a dead body, and that a raven had swooped on him and plucked out his eyes. Kay Kobad, badly shaken by this, decreed a prohibition on wine drinking and a most severe punishment against offenders. And the people abstained from drinking wine for a certain time. Now it happened one day that a lion had escaped from the menagerie, and no one was able to stop it or bring it back until a young man who was passing through grabbed it by the ears, mounted it like a donkey and made it walk about tamely, then delivered it to it’s guardians. His adventure was reported to Kay Kobad, who was greatly astounded by it and said: “The young man must either be a fool or drunk.” He had him brought to him and said: “Let me know, without lying, how you could be so brave as to approach the lion and mount it, and you will be exempt from all blame.” The young man replied: “Know, O King, that I love a cousin who is to me the most precious thing in the world. I had my uncle’s promise that he would give her to me in marriage, but he broke his word and married her to someone else, because of my humble situation in life and my poverty. When I was told of this, I was on the point of killing myself and my despair was extreme. Well, my mother, who took pity on me, said: This, my son, is a grief that you cannot conquer except with three cups of wine, which will comfort you a bit.’ ‘How can I drink wine,’ I said to her, ‘considering the king’s interdiction?’ She said to me: ‘Drink in hiding, need legitimizes what is forbidden; besides, who would inform on you?’ Well, I had a few cups after having eaten some kebab, and came out with all the strength of wine, youth, and love, and I did my deed with the lion.” The king was greatly astonished. He sent for the young man’s uncle and ordered him to annul the marriage of his son-in-law and his daughter, and to marry her to his nephew. The uncle complied and Kay Kobad made him a present. The king took on the young man as his retainer and helped him overcome his destitution. Then he addressed the people with the following proclamation: “Drink all the wine you need to get in the spirit of chasing a lion, but be careful not to drink yourselves into a state where the ravens could pluck out your eyes!” The people then went back to their habit of drinking wine, but avoided complete drunkenness.

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