The Story Of The Wise Hakim


A certain Sultan Kamal was on a ship with some of his best courtiers. One of the courtiers who had never taken a voyage before and was a child of the mountains, had never seen the coast. He sat in the empty belly of the ship and screamed, cried, trembled, and wailed. All were kind to him and tried to calm his fears, but their kindness reached only his ears and not his fearful heart.

Sultan Kamal could hardly bear to hear the courtier's cries any more, and the voyage through blue waters under the clear blue sky was no longer a pleasure for him. Then the wise hakim, the physician, approached him and said, "Your Highness, with your permission, I can calm him down!"

Without a moment's hesitation, Sultan Kamal gave his permission. The hakim ordered the seamen to throw the courtier overboard. They did, only too gladly. The courtier thrashed about in the water, grabbed for air, clutched the side of the ship, and begged to be taken on board again. So the seamen pulled him out of the water, and from then on he sat very quietly in a corner. No one heard another word of fear from him. Sultan Kamal was amazed and asked the hakim, "What was the wisdom in such an action?"

The hakim answered, "He had never tasted the salt of the sea, and he did not know how great the danger was in the water. So he could not know how wonderful it is to have the sturdy planks of the ship under him. Only he who has faced danger can know the value of peace and composure!"

Note: The story above originally told by Sadi of Shiraz, a famous Persian poet, is an example of ancient anxiety therapy. Warning: Please do not try such therapy in this Century!