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Monday, 03 September 2007

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Thank you, Jodie, for the source of this legend - and Equiano for the suggestion of a place to visit in Boston. I did in fact go there in March, but spent my time in other galleries - as ever, ars longa, vita brevis!

The story originally comes from the tales of Mulla Nasrudin, a legendary Sufi mystic, supposedly born in Anatolia in the 13th century. The stories are told in The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, by Idries Shah, but I first came across them when I was growing up and The Guardian published a daily comic strip called Tales of the Hodja by William Papas - family members used to fight to read it first. There's some more about Nasrudin, including links to more stories at http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sufism/Nasrudin

I like this telling of the story too.

Chilling little poem, isn't it? It says so much in such a short space. Very good.

This is a famous story (the one told in the poem I mean) though I have no idea where it originates from.

I am a fan of persian miniatures, particularly the shahnama (I hasten to add, a very ignorant fan, I just enjoy them at museums etc and read a bit about them occasionally). If you visit Boston, be sure to visit the Sackler Museum in Cambridge which has a glorious collection of islamic art, the miniatures mostly on loan from the Aga Khan. Lovely!

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