if hungry, the cock prefers the hens to itself, summoning them to feed. It does not peck up the food itself but allows them to do so. And it is clear that it feels pleasure, pride and enjoyment in carrying out this duty. This means it receives greater pleasure from carrying out the duty than from feeding. The hen too will sacrifice its life for its chicks, throwing itself at a dog. It will also remain hungry and give them grain. That is to say, it receives such pleasure in its duty that it makes preferable the pains of hunger and pangs of death.
Animal mothers receive pleasure in trying to protect their young, it is their duty when the young are small. When the young are grown, the duty ceases and so does the pleasure. The mothers beat their offspring and take the grains of feed from them. Only, for human mothers the duties continue for some time, for due to their weakness and impotence, humans are always children in one respect, and are all the time in need of compassion.
Consider the males and females of the animal species, like the mother hen and the cock, which acts as shepherd, and understand that they do not perform these duties on their own account, in their own names, or for their own perfections. For if they have to sacrifice their lives in the course of their duties, they do so. They rather perform them on account of the Munificent Bestower of Bounties, the All-Glorious Creator, who employs them in their duties, in which, through His mercy, He includes pleasure.
Evidence that the wage is present in the duty itself is this: plants and trees conform to the Glorious Creator’s commands in a manner that implies eagerness and pleasure. For the fragrant scents they disperse, and their being adorned with decorations that attract the glances of their customers, and their sacrificing themselves for their shoots and fruits until they rot, shows to the attentive that they receive such pleasure in conforming to the divine commands that it rots and destroys them.
Look, fruit-bearing trees like the coconut, which bears so many cans of milk on its head, and the fig, request through the tongue of disposition the finest food like milk from the treasury of mercy; they receive it and give it to their fruits to eat, while they content themselves with muddy water.
In seeds also a longing is clearly apparent in their duty of germinating and sending out shoots. Like someone imprisoned in a constricted place longs to go out into a garden or open space, such a longing, such a joyful state, is also apparent in seeds, in their duty of sprouting.
It is because of this long and mysterious principle, which is in force in the universe and is called a divine practice, that those idle, lazy people who live in ease and affluence for the most part suffer more distress than those who strive and work. For the idle always complain about their lives and