Sufi Stories told by Idries Shah

God is Stronger

Ibotity had climed a tree when the wind blew, the tree split, Ibotity fell, and his leg was broken. "The tree is strong, for it has broke my leg," he said.

"It is the wind which is stronger than the tree" said the tree.

But the wind said that the hill was stronger, since it could stop the wind. Ibotity, of course, thought that strength was of the hill, to be able to stop the wind, which split the tree, which broke his leg.

"No" said the hill, explaining that the mouse was strong for it could burrow into the hill. But the mouse denied this: "For I can be killed by the cat" - and so Ibotity thought that the cat must be strongest of all.

Not so; the cat explained that it could be caught by a rope, and Ibotity thought that this, then, must be the strongest thing.

The rope, however explained that it could be cut by iron, which was therefore stronger. The iron, in its turn, denied being strongest, since it could be made soft by fire.

Ibotity now thought that the fire must be strongest, to soften the iron: which cut the rope, which bound the cat, which caught the mouse, which undermined the hill, which stopped the wind, which split the tree - which broke the leg of Ibotity.

The fire then said that the water was stronger; and the water claimed that the canoe was yet stronger, for it cleft the water. But the canoe was overcome by the rock, and the rock by man, and man by the magician, and the magician by the ordeal by poison, and the ordeal of God, so God is the strongest of all:

"Then Ibotity knew that God could beat the ordeal, which stopped the magician, who overwhelms man, who breaks the rock, which overcomes the canoe, which cleaves the water, which puts out the fire, which softens iron, which severs the rope, which binds the cat, which kills the mouse, which undermines the hill, which stops the wind, which splits the tree, which breaks the leg of Ibotity.