Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Dervish and the Woodcutter, a Sufi Tale

One day a woodcutter, as he was walking to the forest where he would be working, met a traveling dervish.

After making greetings, the dervish asked the woodcutter if there might be some work that he could do in exchange for a meal and a place to sleep.

The woodcutter, who thought of himself as a hard but fair man, told the dervish that if he were willing to cut wood all day, and to do a good job, that there would be a meal and a place in the barn to sleep for him. The woodcutter also told the dervish that if he worked very hard and managed to keep up with him, that he would give him supplies for his travels beyond just one meal.

The dervish allowed that this was very generous, and said that he would do his best.

The two men arrived at the place where they would be cutting for the day, and the woodcutter showed the dervish where the various tools were stored, where to cut, and where to stack the wood.

The woodcutter started to work.

He was justly proud of his skill and ability working with his ax. He would start in the morning and not stop until evening when the light began wane.

For the first hour the dervish kept up with the woodcutter, but at the end of the hour the dervish went and sat under a tree for a good ten minutes.

The woodcutter thought to himself, "Just like a holy man, no taste for real work."

The dervish returned to his work, but at the end of the next hour he took another break.

This went on all day and the woodcutter became more and more indignant over what he saw as the dervish's laziness.

By the end of the day the woodcutter had decided to give the dervish a piece of his mind about the slothfulness of holy men. As he approached the dervish however, he noticed that the dervish's wood pile, that is was quit a bit bigger than his own.

The woodcutter came up to the dervish and said "What magic is this? I know that you took time each hour to rest in the shade, how did you manage to cut more wood than me, when I did not stop for a rest at all?"

The dervish replied "while you saw me sitting in the shade, what you did not notice was that I used the time to re-sharpen my ax."

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