' The biggest fool '...


A man once made this bequest to his son: "Take these hundred gold
pieces, my son. You are to give them to the biggest fool you meet."
The man died, and the son set out to discharge his father's bequest.
Whenever he saw somebody acting stupidly, he would approach him to
check whether he had found a fool.

In the course of his search, he came one day to a palace, in
front of which a crowd had gathered. A bystander explained to
him, "The Grand Vizier has displeased the Emperor. The executioner
is going to behead him now, then the new Grand Vizier will be made to
step over the dead body of his predecessor before being installed in
his office." When asked the reason for this, he was told, "As an
admonition to the incoming minister."

A moment later, they brought out a man in handcuffs. Ignoring
his moans and groans, they forced him to his knees and cut off his
head. The new minister witnessed this scene, then trod on the corpse
of his executed predecessor to mount the Grand Vizier's throne of
office. Everyone started congratulating the new minister. The young
man mingled with the well-wishers.

When he came in front of the
Grand Vizier, he handed him the purse containing the gold
pieces. "What is your motive in giving me this money?" "Please take
it," said the youth. "It is a bequest of my late father's. Allow me
to discharge my duty." The minister then asked, "Do you mean to tell
me that your father's bequest was to give a hundred gold pieces to
the Grand Vizier?" "No," replied the young man, "not to the Grand
Vizier or minister.

My father's bequest was to give money to a great
fool. I have search high and low, but--forgive me saying so--I have
not come across a greater fool than you." "How do you know I am a
fool?" the minister asked, angrily. The young man explained: "I
witnessed this ceremony with my own eyes.

Your predecessor was
beheaded just a short time ago and you stepped over his body to mount
this throne of office. The very same calamity could befall you
tomorrow. One who saw this, yet took no warning from it, is not just
any old fool; he is The Fool himself. Praise be to Allah, the
bequest is fulfilled."


-Sheikh Muzaffer
as collected by James Fadiman & Robert Frager


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