[WISE Sayings, all of instructional value; and, in the right context, both attributable & useful to (ta-da!) The Sufis (and their individual students) — edited by Benny Raymond]
The priest entered his donkey in a race and it won. The priest was so pleased with the donkey that he entered in another race and it won again. The local paper read:
PASTOR’S ASS LEADS
The bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the priest not to enter the donkey in any more races. The next day the local paper headline read:
BISHOP SCRATCHES PRIEST’S ASS
This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the priest to get rid of the donkey. The priest decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent. The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline:
NUN HAS BEST ASS HERE
The bishop fainted deadaway. Afterward, he informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10. The next day the headlines read:
NUN SELLS ASS — $10!
This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it out onto the prairie where it could run free. The next day the headlines read:
NUN LETS ASS RUN WILD
Alas, the bishop was buried the next day.
EDITOR Benny Raymond comments:
THE Sufi moral of this tale, first told without the newspaper-headlines as a teaching tool in moorish Spain, is that being concerned with public opinion can bring you grief and misery, and even shorten your life. This often is the unintended actual result for human institutions such as the church or the ulema, which begin with benevolent purposes and then collapse into epimethean observation and informant-behavior.
THE Noted Sufi teacher of legendary old Squawbunion County, in south-central Minnesota, Naml al-Haddad, is supposed to have said in this connection, and to a neighbor farmer sometime in the latter half of the 20th century:
“WATCH Your own ass!”
THE Phrase is an interesting variation on the contemporary cautionary phrase in the Moroccan dialect of Arabic: shef rasek, or “watch yer head!”
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[14 August 2007]