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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Aim of the Nightingale (Shah)

A nightingale who happened to have no home of his own decided that he would try to settle in a certain forest. The birds who were already there, however, had their own ideas about the matter, and soon drove him out.
    One day, sitting disconsolately by the dusty road nearby, he was spied by another nightingale, who stopped to ask why he looked so forlorn.
    "I tried," said the first bird, "to make my home among other birds, but they pecked, and they mobbed me, and they flapped at me until I had to leave yonder forest."
    "Perhaps you were boastful," said the other nightingale. "When, in a similar situation, I sought a tree of my own, all the birds first collected and asked me what I was doing, why I was singing."
    "Yes, those birds did the same with me," said the first nightingale.
    "And what did you say?"
    "I said: 'I am singing because I simply cannot help it.'"
    "And then?"
    "And then they attacked me, as I have described."
    "Ah," said the other bird, "that was your mistake. They thought that you had no self-control, that you might be mad and that you might try to make them behave in a similar manner. When I was asked the same question, I said: 'I am trying to please you with my song.' That was an aim which they could understand."

Idries Shah, The Magic Monastery

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