The duck and the cat

By Paulo Coelho

‘How did you enter the spiritual life?’ asked a disciple of the Sufi master Shams Tabrizi.

‘My mother said that I wasn’t mad enough for the madhouse or holy enough for the monastery,’ replied Tabrizi. ‘So I decided to devote myself to Sufism, in which we learn through free meditation.’

‘And how did you explain that to your mother?’

‘By telling her the following fable: someone placed a duckling in the care of a female cat. He followed his adoptive mother everywhere; then, one day, they came to the edge of a lake. The duck immediately plunged into the water, while the cat called out from the shore:

‘Come out of there at once, you’ll drown!’

And the duckling replied:

‘No, I won’t, Mama, I’ve discovered what is good for me and I know that I’m in my element. And I’m going to stay here even though you don’t understand what a lake is for.’

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