Sufi Stories and Poetry

Tree

A Sufi Story

One day a neighbor found Mullah Nasruddin sitting in a tree in his garden, in the process of sawing off the limb on which he was sitting.

“Mullah, you’d better stop, otherwise you’ll fall down,” said the neighbor, then went back inside his house. Sure enough, Mullah kept sawing, the limb broke, and he fell. Mullah ran next door and pounded on his neighbor’s door.

“O, great one, please forgive me,” said Mullah, “I didn’t know I had a psychic for a neighbor! Could you please predict what will happen to me tomorrow?”

The neighbor tried to deny that he could predict the future, saying that what he had told Mullah was just common sense. But Mullah wouldn’t listen and kept after him. Finally, the neighbor became exasperated and said, “Mullah, for heaven’s sake, for all I care you can drop dead tomorrow!”

The next morning, Mullah woke and said to his wife, “Our neighbor is a psychic and he told me that I would drop dead today, so I have to prepare.” He took his donkey along for company and went to the graveyard, then dug a grave for himself and lay down in it. As the day ended, he was still lying there and thought, “I must be dead now. This isn’t really so bad!”

Then a pack of dogs came by and started harassing his donkey. The donkey began to bray and make a racket. Finally, Mullah yelled from the grave, “You dogs – get out of here! If I weren’t dead I’d get out of my grave and give you a thrashing!”

The Trees and The Bees

There was once a forest of trees, which lived a magnificent and beautiful life. Due to the natural development of their surroundings, the trees “climaxed,” and then gradually died, giving way to smaller species that lived below them. Various groups of bees made their nests in the hollow trunks of these dead trees and became very happy making honey. Gradually, the trees, one by one, began to decay and fall.

The various groups of bees debated amongst themselves why this should be and concluded that it must have something to do with the various merits of their hives. Some felt that when a tree fell, the bees in it were being punished for improper belief. Others felt more charitable and wanted to bring the homeless bees to their hive, saying “It could have been us, after all.” Still others felt that the hives of the homeless bees must have been flawed in some way from the beginning and so were predestined to fail.

The trees gradually continued to fall, one by one, and each time one fell, the bees in those trees still standing developed more speculations. Finally, all the bees were homeless and had to move on. Each group had been caught by surprise, believing their hive to be the true one destined to survive and bring in a new age. Each hive had failed to recognize that all trees fall eventually, and so it should finish its work and find another forest before it lost its tree. Each had failed to look further than its own hive and consider the effects of the tree, the soil and the rest of their ecology and its own survival.

From: The Sufi Book of Life

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