Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Dervish Wisdom: The Grammarian and the Dervish


From The Grammarian and the Dervish, p. 193, from Tales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah (Octagon Press, 1967):

One dark night a dervish was passing a dry well when he heard a cry for help from below. “What is the matter?” he called down. “I am a grammarian, and I have unfortunately fallen, due to my ignorance of the path, into this deep well, in which I am now all but immobilized,” responded the other.

“Hold, friend, and I’ll fetch a ladder and rope,” said the dervish.

“One moment, please!” said the grammarian. “Your grammar and diction are faulty; be good enough to amend them.”

“If that is so much more important than the essentials,” shouted the dervish, ”you had best stay where you are until I have learned to speak properly.”

And he went on his way.