5

The Tale of the Sands

a stream - tales of the sands

a stream - tales of the sands

A STREAM, from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last, reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared. It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way.

Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: The Wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream.’ The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed: that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross a desert. ‘By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over, to your destination.’ But how could this happen? ‘By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.’

This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And, once having lost it, how was one to know that it could ever be regained? ‘The wind’, said the sand, ‘performs this function. It takes up water, carries it over the desert, and then lets it fall again. Falling as rain, the water again becomes a river.’ ‘How can I know that this is true?’ ‘It is so, and if you do not believe it, you cannot become more than a quagmire, and even that could take many, many years; and it certainly is not the same as a stream.’ ‘But can I not remain the same stream that I am today?’ You cannot, in either case, remain so,’ the whisper said. ‘Your essential part is carried away and forms a stream again. You are called what you are even today because you do not know which part of you is the essential one.’ When he heard this, certain echoes began to arise in the thoughts of the stream. Dimly, he remembered a state in which he—or some part of him, was it?—had been held in the arms of a wind. He also remembered—or did he?—that this was the real thing, not necessarily
the obvious thing, to do. And the stream raised his vapor into the welcoming arms of the wind, which gently and easily bore it upwards and along, letting it fall softly as soon as they reached the roof of a mountain, many, many miles away. And because he had had his doubts, the stream was able to remember and record more strongly in his mind the details of the experience. He reflected, ‘Yes, now I have learned my true identity.’

The stream was learning. But the sands whispered: ‘We know because we see it happen day after day: and because we, the sands, extend from the riverside all the way to the mountain.’ And that is why it is said that the way in which the Stream of Life is to continue on its journey is written in the Sands.

SOURCE: Awad Afifi the Tunisian, who died in 1870.

4

When the Waters Were Changed

when the waters were changed - antiquefables.com

when the waters were changed - antiquefables.com

Once upon a time Khidr, the Teacher of Moses, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad. Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it and waited for the water to change its character. On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before, yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized
that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding. At first, he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day.

Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.

Source: Legend repeatedly links Dhun-Nun, the Egyptian (died 860), reputed author of this tale, with at least one form of Freemasonry. This version is attributed to Sayed Sabir Ali-Shah, a saint of the Chishti Order, who died in 1818 as reported in the Tales of the Dervishes.