BeeOasis Step 4
A long time ago, there was a man who ruled over the Arab peoples. His name was Raschid. Because he was the ruler and leader, he was called the caliph. One day Raschid made a great feast. The feast was held in the best room of the palace. The walls and roof shined with gold and precious stones. The table was covered with rare and beautiful plants and flowers.
All the most important men of Persia and Arabia were there. Many wise men, poets, and musicians had also been invited. In the middle of the feast, Raschid the caliph called upon the poet Abdul. He said, “Abdul, you are the best poet. Show us your skill. Describe this wonderful feast in a poem.”
The poet stood up and said, “Live, caliph, and enjoy yourself in your beautiful, safe home.”
“That is a good beginning,” said a wise man. “Let us hear the rest.”
The poet went on. “May each morning bring you some new joy. May each evening see that all your wishes have come true.”
“Good! good!” said Raschid the caliph, “Go on.”
The poet bowed his head and obeyed. “But when your death comes, you will learn that all your happiness was only a shadow.”
Suddenly, the whole room became quiet. All the guests stopped eating. Every conversation stopped in the middle of a sentence. One woman sneezed; then she covered her mouth and held her breath. Everyone watched and waited for the reaction of the caliph.
They feared his power and anger.
But Raschid’s eyes filled with tears. He was filled with sadness. He covered his face and cried. Then one of the officers, who was sitting near the poet, cried out. “Stop this! The caliph wanted you to give him happy thoughts, and you have filled his mind with sadness.”
But Raschid said, “Leave the poet alone. He has seen that I am full of pride. He is trying to open my eyes. This is the art of the poet, to help us see again what we can no longer see.”
Caliph Raschid was called Raschid the Just. He was the greatest of all the caliphs in Bagdad. In a wonderful book, called “The Arabian Nights,” there are many interesting stories about him.
This story is adapted from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin.