26. The Sultan's Seven Years


"Plunge your head into this basin of water," said the Sufi to the Sultan.
The Sultan found himself on a seashore.
A beautiful woman approached. "I must marry a shipwrecked man!" she said.
They married and had seven sons, living luxuriously for seven years.
"My wealth is gone," the woman said. "Provide for us!"
So the Sultan became a porter in the marketplace.
One day he bent down to wash his face in a basin of water — and found himself in his old palace.
"Seven years..." muttered the Sultan.
"No," said the Sufi, smiling. "It was only a moment."



Inspired byTales of the Dervishes by Idries Shah, free to read online at the Idries Shah Foundation.
Notes: This is on p. 35 in the book, and it is a long story in Shah; I have greatly abbreviated it here. The story is told in the context of a sultan who doubts the possibility of Mohammad's night-journey: Isra and Mi'raj.



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