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STORY XIII. The Old Man and the Physician.


An old man complained to his physician that he suffered from headache. The
physician replied, "That is caused by old age." The old man next
complained of a defect in his sight, and the physician again told him that his
malady was due to old age. The old man went on to say that he suffered from
pain in the back, from dyspepsia, from shortness of breath, from nervous
debility, from inability to walk, and so on; and the physician replied that
each of these ailments was likewise caused by old age. The old man, losing
patience, said, "O fool, know you not that God has ordained a remedy for
every malady?" The physician answered, "This passion and choler are
also symptoms of old age. Since all your members are weak, you have lost the
power of self-control, and fly into a passion at every word."
Bad principles always produce bad acts.
Fools laud and magnify the mosque,
While they strive to oppress holy men of heart.
But the former is mere form, the latter spirit and truth.
The only true mosque is that in the hearts of saints.
The mosque that is built in the hearts of the saints
Is the place of worship of all, for God dwells there.
So long as the hearts of the saints are not afflicted,
God never destroys the nation.
Our forefathers lifted their hands against the prophets;
Seeing their bodies, they took them for ordinary men.
In you also abide the morals of those men of old;
How can you avoid fearing that you will act like them?
The morals of those unthankful ones dwell in you,
Your urn will not always return unbroken from the well.
Seeing that all these bad symptoms are seen in you,
And that you are one with those men, how can you escape?