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Listen to A Sufi Fable by Mary Khalila Platt
Once upon a time, when the earth was parched, the animals broke down,
each one lost heart.
“We’re dry and broken
and nearly dead.
It’s life itself we’ve
come to dread.”
Lion looked from monkey to peacock, then to cat and cow.
Each one drooped in a pitiful bow.
Camel stood near and agreed to go,
then set out with all in tow.
Off they went, a rag tag bunch,
led by Camel once they’d had their lunch.
“Stay close and quiet” Camel soon explained,
“there are Ways that make the Water plain.”
Camel said “use patience, presence, perseverance too
the trials are many and the gifts are new.”
“Stay on task. Stay alert.
There’s a bit of will you must exert.”
“Yes! Yes!” they all agreed.
“We’ll jump to serve your every need.
If it weren’t for you we’d be dead for sure!
Our wills are strong – our intentions pure!”
Camel walked on in even pace
“Don’t flatter me – it’s not the place.
The Water is your only goal.
Stay tuned to that which feeds YOUR soul”.
Soon cat licked a drop and stopped to rest.
“The sun is out and I feel blessed.
I’ve had enough and am l quite refreshed”.
Peacock felt a splash of rain.
She raised her head and puffed her brain.
Her wings flung wide.
“I’m GRAND once more – a welcome tide”
Monkey swung from tree to tree
“I see the Water and its all for me!”
“Hold on” said cow “we’ve just set out”
“We hardly know what we’re about”
A gift of Grace.
It came to them – to this very place.
Each filled with Peace and Love and Light.
Every sorrow gone. Every thought took flight.
Cat lost her head, so drunk was she,
a tiny branch became a tree.
Flattery gushed from every pore.
A little praise grew more and more.
She purred and hummed in every ear.
Beguiled by wine. Exempt from fear.
Peacock and monkey chimed in as well.
“My dear companion YOU look SWELL!
You look to me a sweet delight
and I lavish praise…”
Oh! What a fright!
“A compliment with too much gushy
turns, that quick, into a brazen hussy!
Another’s ego…best not inflate.
That humble serf will think IT’S great!”
“Be present, stay calm, let Love abide.
That tender Grace no one can hide.
The thing or person you most admire
will know the Source – not what’s for hire”.
The peacock settled, the monkey sat.
The cow considered – so too the cat.
Each glowed with truth and gentle joy.
No sugar treat need they employ.