We all love to give advice to friends who face unusual situations. We tell them to be flexible and break down problems into manageable parts. We encourage them to listen, ask questions, and above all, to be patient. However, when we have to deal with uncommon problems ourselves, we often realize how little our recommendations are worth.
has it that, one summer afternoon, precisely on his 60th birthday,
Hammed went out of his house, looked at the sky, took in a deep breath,
and sat down on the ground. When his wife returned from the market and
found Hammed sitting motionless on the ground, she ran to him and asked
him if he was sick.
To her surprise, Hammed answered that he was
waiting for a white butterfly to appear. His wife did not understand
what Hammed was talking about and was deeply alarmed. She tried to
reason with him and convince him to go into the house and have dinner,
but Hammed wouldn't listen. "It is written in the book," he explained.
the following day, Hammed's five sons and three daughters came to visit
him. One after the other, they attempted to convince their father to
stand up and resume his normal life, but Hammed refused to move. To
every question, he gave the same answer in a firm voice. He was waiting
for a white butterfly to appear because it was written in the book.
wife decided to ask friends and neighbours for advice. "One of them
will surely know," she told her children. Nevertheless, when she
inquired about the butterfly and the book, nobody was able to provide
any useful information. A week passed and, on the first day of autumn,
Hammed was still sitting on the ground in front of his house.
worried, Hammed's wife called her eldest son. "If your father continues
like this, I fear that he will fall sick and die," she said, "I want
you to run to the forbidden woods, find Krishna, and beg him for help."
Her eldest son obeyed and, three days later, he returned to the house,
accompanied by Krishna.
"We have tried everything," Hammed's wife
explained to Krishna, "we have asked him a hundred times to stand up."
Hammed's children confirmed that their father always replied that he was
waiting for a white butterfly to appear because it was written in some
One of the family friends shook his head and whispered to
Krishna, "I think that Hammed has lost his mind. Is there anything you
can do?" Krishna requested them to leave them alone, sat down on the
ground beside Hammed, and looked intently at the sky, without saying a
An hour of silence went by and Hammed, intrigued, turned to
Krishna. "What are you doing?" he asked. "I am waiting for a white
butterfly," answered Krishna without looking at the old man. After a
long silence, Hammed, puzzled, retook his questioning. "Why?" he wanted
to know. Krishna ignored him, but Hammed insisted. "Because it is
written in the book," said Krishna.
The sun descended in the
horizon and, when the night fell, Hammed turned again to Krishna. "How
long do you think that it is going to take before a white butterfly
arrives?" he inquired. Krishna must have been asleep at that point,
since Hammed had to repeat his question several times before he obtained
"That is also written in the book," retorted Krishna
in a low voice. "For the pure of heart, a white butterfly appears within
a day, but the waiting of the impure will be forever in vain." Since
darkness was complete, Krishna could no longer see Hammed, but shortly
after, Krishna heard him stand up and walk tiredly towards the house.
went away at dawn, leaving behind the presents that he had received
from Hammed´s wife and children. Before his departure, they all asked
him how he had managed to convince Hammed to resume his normal life. "I
just confirmed to him that a white butterfly was coming," said Krishna,
"and then I asked him if he was ready."
[Image by FreeCat under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]
Sunday, 2 September 2012
A free e-book presentation of my work “The 10 Principles of Rational Living” can be downloaded in this link