Sadi knew of a certain dervish whose wife was expecting a baby.
The dervish wanted a son, so he took a vow and prayed, "God, if you
give me a son I will give my neighbors all my possessions except the
clothes I wear."
A few months later, the dervish's wife gave birth to a son and he
was extremely happy. The whole family rejoiced and then the dervish
carried out his vow. He entertained the entire neighborhood and
presented them with his material possessions.
Several years later, Sadi was passing through the dervish's
neighborhood after a trip to Syria. He asked some people standing in
the street about the dervish's whereabouts.
The neighbors shook their heads sadly and said, "He is sitting in
the local prison."
Sadi was very surprised and asked for an explanation.
The neighbors said, "One night, the dervish's son got into an
argument with another man. The dervish's son ended up seriously
injuring the man, and then he fled the city. The authorities could not
find him, so they decided to put his father in prison instead."
Sadi exclaimed, "I remember, that it was this very son for whom the
dervish prayed and honored a vow!"
The following poem accompanies the story:
"Wise friend! It is better that the fruitful bride
In parturition should a serpent bear
Rather than sons (for thus the wise decide) -
Sons who respond not to a father's care."
Note: This story is based on one from Sadi's, "Gulistan-e-Sadi" or
"The Rose Garden". I believe Sadi uses "serpent" here, because there
is an old saying which states something like... "even if you tame a
serpent [snake] and keep it as a pet it will still bite you!"
Therefore, a serpent is better than a uncaring son, perhaps the "bite"
is less painful?!