Reflections: Fables in the Sufi Tradition
. Penguin Books . Baltimore
PR6069.H28 R4 1972a (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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The book starts with an excellent story and strong comment: Do you imagine that fables exist only to amuse or instruct, and are based upon fictions? The best ones are delineations of what happens in real life, in the community and in the individual's mental processes (2). Themes that occur in many of the items include these: many people do not want to learn and to activate intelligence; they want to follow authority; they want to be congratulated and not challenged; humility is a means, not an end; do not announce your humility. This is often a book of proverbs with short commentary. Many readers might find Shah unpleasantly critical and even supercilious. Some of the best stories in the book include Original Perfection (19), The Lizard and the Spider (23), The Intelligent Man (33), Why He Was Chosen (37), The Reason (39), The Toads in the Castle (40), The Donkey and the Cactus (44), and Contradictions (72, a response to Aesop's The Traveler and the Satyr). Challenging remarks are on 26, 35,49, 55, 56, 81, 120, 131, and 145. I was disappointed in this book. I wanted more and better stories and fewer remarks.