The Story Of The Two Streets

Mariam Ispahani (
9 May 1995 05:09:53 GMT

The Story Of The Two Streets

Once upon a time there was a town composed of two parallel streets. A
dervish passed through one street and into the other, and as he reached the
second one, the people there noticed that his eyes were streaming with tears.

"Someone has died in the other street!" one cried, and soon all the
children in the neighborhood had taken up the cry.

What had really happened was that the dervish had been peeling onions.

Within a short space of time the cry had reached the first street. The
adults of both streets were so distressed and fearful, since each community
was related to the other, that they dared not make complete inquiries as to
the cause of the furor.

A wise man tried to reason with the people of both streets, asking why they
did not question each other. Too confused to know what they meant, some
said: "For all we know there is a deadly plague in the other street."

This rumor, also spread like wildfire, until each street's residents thought
that the other was doomed.

When some measure of order was restored, it was only enough for the two
communities to decide to emigrate to save themselves. Thus it was that,
from different sides of the town, both streets entirely evacuated their people.

Now, centuries later, the town is still deserted and not so far away are two
villages. Each village has it's own tradition of how it began as a
settlement from a doomed town, through a fortunate flight, in remote times,
from a nameless evil.

Note: In their psychological teaching, Sufis claim that ordinary
transmission of knowledge is subject to so much deformation through editing
and false memory, that it cannot be taken as a substitute for direct
perception of fact. There is a similar story about a mad dog with rabies
that bit a child and eventually killed an entire town, when actually a dog
just barked at a cow. I cannot recall the author though.

This story was narrated by Sheikh Qalandar Shah, in his book,
"Asrar-i-Khilwatia" (Secrets of the Recluses). He belonged to the
Suhrawardi Order and died in 1832. His shrine is in Lahore, Pakistan. I
took it from the book, "Tales of the Dervishes" by Idries Shah.

Mariam Ispahani...(*_*)

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