An Old Sufi’s Tale

Abstract: A cunning man may make easy promises through his prayers when faced with a dire situation. When his problems are resolved he may find a way to circumvent his promise by carrying it out to the letter, but not in spirit.

I have heard …

A man was very troubled in mind and finances. He solemnly swore to his God that if his problems were resolved he would sell his house and donate all the money gained from it to the poor.

By and by, all his problems were being settled. Soon he knew that the time had come for him to fulfil his oath. However, his house was worth much. He did not want to give it all away. He would be a very poor man if he did so.

He came out with a clever plan.  

An old Sufi …

He put his house up for sale for one silver piece. Included with the sale of the house, however, was a grey striped cat. The price asked for this cat was five thousand pieces of silver.

A far away relative bought the house and the cat for five thousand and one pieces of silver.

The man then donated one piece of silver to the poor. He took the five thousand pieces of silver for himself.

Adapted and rewritten from Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah.

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