Masnavi 0S

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STORY IX. The Gardener and the Three Friends.
A voice came from heaven to Moses, saying, "O Moses why didst thou not
visit me when I was sick?" Moses inquired the meaning of this dark saying,
and the answer was, "When one of God's saints is sick, God regards his
sickness as His own; and, therefore, he who desires to hold companionship with
God must not forsake the saints." 1 This is illustrated by a story
of a gardener who saw three friends walking in his garden, and making free with
his fruit. Knowing he could not prevail against them while they remained
united, he contrived by tricks to separate them, and then proceeded to chastise
them one by one. And this caused one of them to make the reflection that he had
acted very foolishly in deserting his friends.