The plot of the “Two contending philosophers” miniature of the Tabriz school, created in 1539-1543 and now stored in the British Museum, based on “The story of the two contending philosophers”, where Nizami tells about two philosophers, who lived in the same house. Once they had a big argument about who owns the house, and after arguing all day and all night, at dawn they decided to cook poisonous sherbets for each other, and whoever survives will get the house.
The first contestant made poison, so virulent,
that it could melt black stone.
He gave it to the other, saying: “This is a life-giving wine;
do not deem it to be poison, because it is better than sugar.”
The brave man took his draught; he drank the
poison as if it were sweet sherbet.
He made an antidote from herbs and drank it.
He closed the path of the poison by an antidote.
It is the turn of the second philosopher to give poison to drink. He cuts a purple rose in the garden, reads a spell and gives it to the first philosopher:
The enemy was overcome by fear, and he died
from the rose which that magician gave him.
The one neutralized the poison in his body by remedies.
The other died from one rose because of baseless fears.
The story ends with Nizami’s reflections on the brevity of human life: you cannot give in to the influence of hatred and anger, and allow someone to drag you into unrighteous deeds; people should try to leave a trace only by good deeds.