The young prince who didn’t learn lesson: Story from Rumi’s Masnavi

The young Prince who didn’t learn lesson: Story from Rumi’s Masnavi


A young prince was placed under the tutelage of a renowned educator, whose primary focus was imparting valuable life lessons. On a particular day, the teacher emphasized two core principles: the importance of truthfulness and the necessity of temperance in managing one’s anger.

The following day, the teacher, testing the prince’s grasp of the lessons, requested him to recapitulate the teachings. The prince candidly admitted that he had not yet committed them fully to memory, expressing his need for more time.

With patience, the teacher granted the prince an extension, urging him to diligently complete his homework and acquire the knowledge by the next day. However, to the teacher’s dismay, the prince once again presented the same excuse on the subsequent day. While the teacher forgave this lapse once more, the prince’s continued failure to recall the lessons over three days provoked the teacher to frustration, leading him to administer a stern slap to the prince’s face.

Upon receiving the slap, the prince’s response was swift and telling. “Respected teacher,” he declared, “I have now comprehended the lessons.”

Perplexed by the prince’s sudden understanding, the teacher inquired, “Why, after days of struggling to learn, did you grasp the lessons immediately following my disciplinary action?”

The prince provided a profound insight, saying, “You instructed me to refrain from falsehood and to govern my anger. I promptly understood the first lesson, but I grappled with the second. It was only after your admonishing slap that I engaged in a self-assessment of my inner self, my nafs. It was then that I realized that even your stern rebuke did not trigger an angry response within me. Consequently, I learned the second lesson as well, by mastering control over my own anger.”


Mevlana Rumi Shrine [Museum] Entrance

Mevlana Rumi Shrine [Museum] Entrance

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