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  • 7/9/2003

The man who stole a snake

 and the answer to prayer

A THIEF once stole a snake from a snake-catcher, and in his folly accounted it a rich prize. The snake-catcher escaped from the bite of the snake; the man who had stolen his snake was killed by it most miserably. The snake-catcher saw him, and recognized him.

'Well, well,' he remarked. 'My snake has robbed him of life. My soul was begging and beseeching God that I might find the thief and take my snake back from him. Thanks be to God that my prayer was rejected. I supposed it to be a loss, and it turned out a gain.'

FromTales from Masnavi, Jalal al-Din Rumi

Translated by A.J. Arberry

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