The Vizier and the Sage Duban: A Retelling


A million thoughts zip through my brain within the tiniest tick of the second. Centuries of study that has remained my faithful companion now bids its farewell. My research work proved its loyalty down to the last second, and I stand proud as a peacock on this execution panel without one regret. Regret pokes its ugly head, but I refuse to recognize it. Deep down I always knew that efforts filtered into another being rarely bear a sweet fruit. If there is anything that one reaps from a man-to-man partnership, it’s always a sour harvest. Nothing more, nothing less.

There is one another thing that wisdom has weaved through my understanding. It’s that the one who has meager knowledge always has a high pitched voice. Ever ready to present his opinion, ever thinking that he can never stand mistaken. It’s only the wise ones who seal their knowledge in silence and present wrapped opinions only when asked.

Just this is the case with my beloved with whom I bonded over a cure. Herbs, shrubs and curative balms for leprosy bridged us together. I was ever willing to share the whirling knowledge that I accumulated over the years. After all, a bowl from the ocean never does a harm or two. But the bowl seemed like the ocean to my beloved patient.

And of course, the toxic drug of power paired with ignorance makes for an unhealthy fusion. The ignorant always thinks that the bowl is massive enough to sink the bearer of the ocean in itself. And that’s why they call him ignorant.

I started seeing signs of this ignorance soon. I wished to walk away from my patient, the vizier. But it isn’t in my nature to leave my cure incomplete and my patient untreated. So I stayed and watched. Watched how seeds of distrust were planted in the vizier’s mind. The shallow labyrinth that his mind is couldn’t separate thoughts of trustworthiness from thoughts of betrayal. Ear poisoning is a centuries old trick that has crumbled empires to bits.

My beloved, lover and seeker of more knowledge couldn’t see through the haze of whispered misunderstandings. He simply trusted the palace residents that he calls his eyes. But they can be wrong; they can be paid to be part of an elaborate plan, manipulating to achieve the means to a dirty end.

Unclear with the hurt of betrayal coursing through his veins, the vizier sadly thought that I, Sage Duban, his close affiliate, and caretaker was trying to slowly poison him to death with my herbs and potions. So he announced my execution.

But like I said, I have no regrets. As my breaths are numbered and as the dark valley of death nears, I pray for his sanity to return. But to no avail. I have no regrets, though. For as I take my last breaths, the vizier opens the last gift of a book I presented to him. And as my soul departs for an eternal journey, the vizier touches the pages of the old book and breathes. As I close my eyes for the last time, the vizier falls to the ground with the poison that he breathed from the pages of the book I last gifted.