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Stories in a Nutshell

Cooking by Candle

A Sufi Story from The Middle East

Mula bet some friends he could survive a night on an icy mountain with nothing to warm him. Taking only a book and a candle for some light, he sat through the frigid night. When he came down to claim his winnings, his friends asked, ‘Did you take anything up there with you to keep warm?’

‘No,’ said Mula, ‘Just a small candle to read by.’

‘Aha!’ they exclaimed, ‘Then you lose.’

A week later he invited these same friends to a feast. They waited and waited for food. ‘Dinner’s not ready,’ said Mula, ‘Come and see why.’

In the kitchen they saw a huge pot of water under which a small candle was burning. Mula said, ‘Does this remind you of our bet? I’ve been trying to heat this pot of water over this candle since yesterday and it’s not warm yet.’