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The seventh of my tales: the story of a Sufi’s ashes and the effect they had on a disciple
My unpublished stories
What you are about to read is an unpublished story of mine taken from the novel that I started writing in the summer of 2021. In it, a main story alternates with various small stories (for now from 3 to 5 per chapter) that the protagonist narrates at the end of the day, each with its own specific meaning and “why” within the plot. In September 2021 I launched a survey on the Middle East and Surroundings Telegram channel to understand how many were interested in the project and, to my great joy and surprise, there were many votes and all of them positive. Not wanting to reveal the whole work to you, I have chosen to show you only the stories, so that you can have something absolutely new and unpublished to read and I have an extra motivation to carry it on. My ambition is to write at least one chapter a month and thus make this column a fixed appointment, but in any case the stories of each chapter will be loaded all together and only and exclusively if the latter is completely finished.
Precisely for this reason you will already find on the site all the stories of the first chapter “The sand and the wayfarer”: “”The Tuareg and the voice of the desert“,”The Sand Child“, “Atlas“, “The island that is not there” and “Hannibal“. Today’s story instead belongs to the second chapter, which includes:”The tattoed girl“,” Sufi’s ashes “and”Antaeus“.
Enjoy the reading!
The ashes of the Sufi
On the threshold of the desert, there was a small zawiya managed with great care by a wise Sufi teacher. The latter spent his entire existence there, making sure, during the day, to always give a hot meal to travelers and, during the night, to fall into ecstasy through the remembrance of God.
The teacher was appreciated by all and many sent their children to him, so that he could teach them Islam and ensure them a bright path for the future. Among these there were also several who were so fascinated by the Sufi that they remained even after completing their studies, thus ending up forming a real brotherhood. One night, however, having finished his rituals, the master took his camel and headed into the desert. A disciple, intrigued by his strange behavior, decided to secretly follow him.
Arrived in the middle of a valley of dunes, the Sufi descended from the beast, went exactly to the center and began to rotate on himself, pronouncing “Allahu akbar” 3 times and on the third time he was suddenly struck by a solitary lightning bolt, instantly catching fire .
The disciple ran to try to save him, but when he arrived he found only an amphora full of hot ashes. Not knowing what to do, he decided to collect the object and return to the zawiya, in order to tell everyone what he had seen and to bring the remains of the man back to his house. Once back, it was established that the ashes should remain hidden inside the building and, to fully honor their teacher, they decided that they would dig a small hole in the floor and bury him there.
By virtue of what he had seen, the disciple was elected as custodian of the place and began to spend all his days there. Initially everything seemed to go well, but, one night, strange noises began to arrive from the hole in which the ashes were placed, followed by continuous plays of light that kidnapped the mind of man, thus taking away his sleep. This went on night after night, to the point that the keeper began to lose the light of reason, beginning to be obsessed with it, so much so that he pulled out the amphora every night to observe it.
With the passage of time, simply taking it out was no longer enough for him and so he began to build a small altar and enjoy that incredible play of lights and sounds like a prayer. Other days passed and the disciple’s sense was lost more and more, to the point that, completely absorbed and bewitched by the amphora; Having no more eyes than for her and no longer wanting to share her with anyone, he decided to steal her and run away.
But as he moved further and further away from the desert, the ashes of the Sufi began to speak: “Alas wretched, you had really go crazy! I thought I had given you a great gift in allowing you to observe my end; I was sure you would have freed my ashes in the desert showing absolute loyalty to the One, instead you took me and turned me into an idol. I did not want to spend my life underground and for this I tried to warn you with lights and sounds, but you transformed my call into prayer. When you finally went out taking me with you, I thought you had finally understood my request, but, instead of getting rid of the idol, you signed your sentence. “.
As soon as the ashes finished their speech, they broke the jar and flew to heaven, while the earth swallowed the idolatrous disciple.
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