Kate Farrell (author of Story Power) shares this Afghan folktale with a prayer for peace and in hopes of dervish, wisdom prevailing.
Adervish was once sitting alone, meditating in a patch of desert. A ruler passed by. The dervish, being free from the cares of this world, neither lifted his head nor paid any attention.
The ruler, with the violent pride of power, was furious and said: “These dervishes in their patched cloaks are no better than animals!”
His minister scolded the dervish and said: “The great ruler of all the world passed by and you did not stand and bow: why were you so rude?”
The dervish replied: “Tell your king to expect those people to bow who hope for some reward from him. Tell him that rulers are there to protect their people. The people were not created just to obey rulers. The ruler is the watchman of the poor, though he has greater wealth and glory.
The sheep are not made for the shepherd, rather the shepherd is there to serve the sheep.
Look around you: today you see one man carefree and successful, the other struggling sore-hearted to survive. Wait a day or two, and see how the earth is in constant change.
When the irresistible decrees of Fate are issued, neither king nor slave remain. Open up the tomb and search these dusty bones: Can you tell which was the rich man or which was the pauper?”
The ruler was struck by the words of the dervish. He said: “Ask me a favor!”
The dervish replied: “I would ask you to never disturb me again.”
The king begged: “Give me a word of advice!”
The dervish replied: “Now that wealth is in your hands, realize before it is too late, that this wealth and this power pass from hand to hand.”
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