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The Fox and the Lion

A retelling of a Sufi wisdom tale.

Once there was a woman who prayed to understand what path she should take in life. One night, after praying, she dreamed of walking in the woods. The next day, she journeyed to the woods, searching for the answer to her prayers. It was quiet and peaceful. Then she saw a patch of red fur: It was an injured fox, lying in the shade of a large tree. Before she could reach the fox, she heard the nearby bushes rustle and out came a lion, with a fish in its mouth. Frightened, the woman hid herself and watched as the lion laid the fish near the fox, turned around, and left the way it came. As she watched the weakened fox eat the fish, she said to herself, "There is my answer! The Great Provider—who takes care of the fox—will also take care of me. I do not have to do anything. I will be taken care of, if I just have faith."

The woman went back home, happy to have her answer. And, indeed, she did not do anything. She did not go to work. She did not feed herself. She did not even bathe. She became hungry sitting in her house, so she went to town to see if she would be provided for there. Yet no provisions came. People avoided her. She grew weak from hunger. She fell into a restless sleep and dreamed that she was back in the woods.

"Oh, Great Provider! " she implored in her dream. "You took care of the little fox, but you will not provide for me?"

The Great Provider replied, "You are mistaken. I do not want you to be the fox. I want you to be the lion."

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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