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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1682
AUTHOR: Sadi (1184–1291)
QUOTATION: I never complained of the vicissitudes of fortune, nor suffered my face to be overcast at the revolution of the heavens, except once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes. I came to the chief of Kfah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience, and exclaimed,
“Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.
While, in the sight of helpless poverty,
Boiled turnip will a roasted pullet be.”
ATTRIBUTION: SADI, The Gulistn, or Rose Garden, trans. Edward B. Eastwick, chapter 3, story 19, p. 129 (1880).

A modern version, often cited as an old Arabian proverb, is: “I thought I was abused because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”—J. M. Braude, Speaker’s Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations and Anecdotes, p. 338, no. 2320 (1955).
SUBJECTS: Self-pity