Rowdy, ecstatic, and sometimes stern, these teaching stories and fables reveal new and very human properties in Rumi’s vision. Included here are the notorious “Latin parts” that Reynold Nicholson felt were too unseemly to appear in English in his 1920s translation. For Rumi, anything that human beings do–however compulsive–affords a glimpse into the inner life. Here are more than 40 fables or teaching stories that deal with love, laughter, death, betrayal, and the soul. The stories are exuberant, earthy, and bursting with vitality–much like a painting by Hieronymus Bosch or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The characters are guilty, lecherous, tricky, ribald, and finally possessors of opened souls.
Barks writes: “These teaching stories are a kind of scrimshaw–intricately carved, busy figures, confused and threatening, and weirdly funny.
“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”—Rumi