The Story of Sultan Mahmud and the Woodcutter

The Story of Sultan Mahmud and the Woodcutter: Story by Shaykh Fariduddin Attar

Once Sultan Mahmud was riding alone as he met an old woodcutter walking his donkey loaded with prickly shrubs for fuel. His donkey slipped, and woodcutter fell on the thorns causing scratches to his head.

The Sultan seeing the shrubs on the ground, the donkey upside down, and the man rubbing his head, asked: ‘O’ unfortunate man, do you need help?’

‘Indeed ,’ replied the woodcutter. ‘If you will help me I shall be obliged and you will come to no harm. You are a good omen for me.’

The Sultan got off his horse, helped the donkey to its feet, lifted up the shrubs and fastened it on its back.

Then he rode off to rejoin his army. He said to the soldiers: ‘An old woodcutter might along with a donkey loaded with brambles. Please give him the way so that he will have to pass in front of me.’

When the woodcutter came up to the soldiers he said to himself, ‘How shall I get through with this weak donkey?’

So he went by another way, but royal troops surrounded and compelled so he goes in direction to face the Sultan.

Once he saw Sultan, he exclaimed ‘O God, Today I had Mahmud for my porter!’

When he came up, Mahmüd said to him: ‘My poor friend, what do you do for a living?’

The woodcutter replied, ‘You know already. You don’t recognize me? I am a poor old man, a woodcutter by trade; day and night I gather brambles in the desert and sell them, yet my donkey syatves of hunger. If you wish me well give me some bread.’

‘You poor man,’ said the Sultan, ‘how much do you want for your firewood?

The woodcutter replied: ‘Since you do not wish to take it for nothing and I do not wish to sell it, I can sell it for purse of gold.’

Sultan’s soldiers exclaimed: ‘Your firewood is not worth a handful of barley!”

The old woodcutter said: ‘That is true but its value has increased a hundred time when a lucky man like the Sultan puts his hands to arrange my bundle of thorns they become bunches of roses.’

Sultan Mahmud was amused and bought them for a purse of gold.


● Download Ilahi Naama and Tadhkirat al Awliya- Biographies of Muslim Sufi Saints as eBooks by Faridudin Attar (فریدالدین عطار)


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