Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Travelers and the Grapes

Four men - a Persian, a Turk, an Arab, and a Greek - were standing in a village street. They were traveling companions, making for some distant place; but at this moment they were arguing over the spending of a single peiece of money which was all that they had among them.

"I want to buy angur," said the Persian.
"I want uzum," said the Turk.
"I want inab," said the Arab.
"No!" said the Greek, we should buy stafil."

Another traveler passing, a linguist, said, "Give the coin to me. I undertake to satisfy the desires of all of you."

At first they would not trust him. Ultimately they let him have the coin. He went to the shop of a fruit seller and bought four small bunches of grapes.

"This is my angur," said the Persian.
"But this is what i call uzum," said the Turk.
"You have brought me inab," said the Arab.
"No!" said the Greek, "this in my language is stafil."

The grapes were shared out among them, and each realized that the disharmony had been due to his faulty understanding of the language of the others.

"The travelers," said the Agha, "are the ordinary people of the world. The linguist is the Sufi. People know that they want something, because there is an inner need existing in them. They may give it different names, but it is the same thing. Those who call it religion have different names for it, and even different ideas as to what it might be. Those who call it ambition try to find its scope in different ways. But it is only when a linguist appears, someone who knows what they really mean, that they can stop the struggling and get on with the eating of the grapes."

(excerpt from Idries Shah's - The Sufis)

1 comment:

Jimmie said...

My friend and I have been talking about education and how many people express their different ideas about teaching. He mentioned this tale as a way to better understand the different characters one meets in the school setting: the classroom teacher, the principal, the special education teacher, the reading specialist, the gifted teacher.

By our words, we all want something different, but I wonder if we don't all want the same thing after all.