A Tale Of Grapes And Greed


The Sufi order called Qadiri was founded by Abdul Qadir Gilani Al Amoli (1077–1166).  He was born at Nif, which lies to the south of the Caspian Sea.  The Qadiriyya Order is a large one and has many adherents in the Islamic world.

There is a teaching story that I came across recently that reminded me of some of the stories told by the Stoics.  It stands for the idea that the right thing must be done for the right reason; and that actions without pure motives remain worthless.

I have adapted this story from Indries Shah’s The Way of the Sufi.

A peasant once planted come vines out of a desire to create something beautiful and produce something of worth.  But the vines he planted were the type of vine that only bore fruit after many years.

The king of his country happened to be passing by the peasant’s vine plantings and noticed the care with which they had been prepared.  But he could not resist the chance to caution him.  He said, “You are never going to see the day when those vines bear fruit.  You know this, don’t you?”


“Maybe so,” said the peasant, drawing his breath in tightly.  “But I don’t think my work is wasted.  Even if I never live to see these vines fructify, my work will endure.  Those who come after me, at least, will be able to derive some benefit from them.”


The king thought about this for a moment, impressed with the man’s thoughtfulness.  Then he said, “So be it.  When and if these vines do produce fruit, bring them to me.  If both you and I can escape the feckless hand for Fortune, maybe we will both live to see that day.”

And with this the dialogue ended.

And as Fate would have it, the vines eventually did begin to bear fruit after many years of careful tending.  The peasant filled up many baskets of grapes, and brought them to the royal court.  He was then rewarded with a large sum of money for his trouble.

Rumors of this incident then began to spread.  People began to think that the king was offering lavish sums of money for grapes.

A foolish woman was among those who heard the story.  She filled up several large baskets with grapes of her own, and forcefully tried to make her way to the royal court.  He made demands to the king’s retinue:  “I heard that the king is offering money for grapes.  I have some here myself.  I want to sell them.”

When the king heard of this, he had the woman brought to him.  He looked at her, and after a long pause, said these words:

“Those who act based on arrogance, entitlement, and ignorance of the attendant facts are fools.  You know nothing of the circumstances by which you demand money.  You seek only money, and are animated only by greed.

Know this:  those who seek the path of sincere devotion are rewarded, while you are not.  Take your goods and return from where you came.”

Then he had her dismissed.


Read More:  Channeling Your Pain To Help Yourself And Others