The Watermelon Hunter (sufi parable)

FOUND: “The Watermelon Hunter” by Idries Shah

Once upon a time there was a man who strayed from his own country into the world known as the Land of Fools. He soon saw a number of people flying in terror from a field where they had been trying to reap wheat. “There is a monster in that field,” they told him. He looked, and saw that the “monster” was merely a watermelon.

He offered to kill the “monster” for them. When he had cut the melon from its stalk, he took a slice and began to eat it. The people became even more terrified of him than they had been of the melon. They drove him away with pitchforks, crying, “He will kill us next, unless we get rid of him.”

It so happened that shortly afterward another man also strayed into the Land of Fools. But instead of offering to help the people with the “monster,” he agreed with them that it must be dangerous, and by tiptoeing away from it with them he gained their confidence. He spent a long time with them in their homes until he could teach them, little by little, the basic facts which would enable them not only to lose their fear of melons, but eventually to cultivate melons themselves.

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