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Sufi Stories - The Banquet - Cooking by Candle

The Banquet
A Sufi Story from the Middle East

Once upon a time, a poor man dressed in rags came to the palace to attend the banquet. Out of courtesy he was admitted but, because of his tattered clothing, he was seated at the very end of the banquet table. By the time the platters arrived at his seat, there was no food left on them.

So he left the banquet, returning several hours later dressed in robes and jewels he had borrowed from a wealthy friend. This time he was brought immediately to the head of the table and, with great ceremony, food was brought to his seat first.

"Oh, what delicious food I see being served upon my plate." He rubbed one spoonful into his clothes for every one he ate.

A nobleman beside him, grimacing at the mess, inquired,

"Sir, why are you rubbing food into your fine clothes?"

"Oh," he replied with a chuckle, "Pardon me if my robes now look the worst. But it was these clothes that brought me all this food. It's only fair that they be fed first!"
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Cooking by Candle
A Sufi Tale from the Middle East

Once upon a time, Mula bet some friends he could survive a night on an icy mountain with nothing to warm him. Taking only a book and a candle for some light, he sat through the frigid night. When he came down to claim his winnings, his friends asked,

"Did you take anything up there with you to keep warm?"

"No," said Mula, "just a small candle to read by."

"Aha!" they exclaimed, "Then you lose!"

A week later he invited these same friends to a feast. They waited and waited for food.

"Dinner's not ready," said Mula, "Come and see why!"

In the kitchen they saw a huge pot of water under which a small candle was burning. Mula said,

"Does this remind you of our bet? I've been trying to heat this pot of water over this candle since yesterday and it's not warm yet!"

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