The Caliph and his wife

Paulo Coelho

The Arab Caliph sent for his secretary:

“Lock up my wife in the tower while I’m away,” he ordered.

“But she loves Your Majesty!”

“And I love her,” answered the Caliph. “But I respect an old traditional prover­b of ours that says “keep your dog thin and he will follow you; make him fat and he will bite you.”

The Caliph went off to war and returned six months later. On arriving, he called for his secretary and asked to see his wife.

“She has abandoned you,” was the secretary’s answer. “Your Majesty quoted a beautiful proverb before leaving but forgot another Arab saying that goes: “If your dog is tied up it will follow anybody that opens its cage”.

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  1. Marie-Christine says:

    Then it was not meant to be

  2. Juliane says:

    Hay un chiste en andalucia ” para ver quien te quiere mas,mete tu mujer y tu pero en el maletero del coche.Una hora despues abre lo.Quien va a saludarte con mucho alegria?? Pues evolucion va lento

  3. Anca says:

    haha, no worries Pandora, this gives the green card to use dog stories when talking about men also :)

  4. Breda says:

    The words in the ‘Caliph and his Wife’ are very coarse in their description of the Calips’ wife and an attitude of ‘ownership ‘towards women, eventhough I do get the deeper meaning!!
    I am respecting my ‘Zahir’ needs to be far away at present from me-I am hoping it won’t take 20 years- as in Savitas’ story… : (

  5. orly says:

    manipulations- prison for a woman is not the solutions!!!!!!men u should learn that rule
    we love u but u just cant be our owner!!!!!!
    love and respect is the nomber one in relation!!!
    its sad to see that till today in some countries- women r not having a word- they cant vote- they cant do nothing but what their man- orders them!!!they r slave -with no rigtes!

  6. Pandora says:


    Women are not DOGS!


  7. I don’t agree with that proverb, giving into that proverb is making a preconceived idea, thought about a person or wife in this case.

    Treat someone like an imbecile and more often than not, they will act like one.

  8. Irina Black says:

    Tradition.There do exist indestructible chains.Every person has his own chain,which linkes him to others.What is it made of?Everybody decides for himself.There are things,which can not be breaken-there are the best for “chaining” somebody.

  9. Alexandra says:

    About the Caliph, or people like him, I guess I would have done same thing as his wife…He deserved that…ha ha ha

  10. Marie-Christine says:

    Then it was not meant to be

  11. Alexandra says:

    Well, thats provers.Yesterday I saw in tv a case of an old lady killed by her own dog, a big shepherd dog,tied.I know that kind of dog need much space, large yard, better being free to run at his own will on fields.More, a big size dog need taming, because one day might get aware of its own power, and than God help.I cant understand people that buy a dog without searching information about the race .

  12. austere says:

    And there is a song by Sting- Set them free.


  13. Savita Vega says:

    “If you love something, set it free.
    If it is yours, it will come back to you;
    if it doesn’t, it never was.”

    Since childhood, I have loved these words. When I was very young, I had a sort of laminated poster – don’t know where I got it – which depicted a bird, perhaps a falcon of some sort, spreading its wings and taking flight. Written across the top of that image, were these words. It always hung on the wall in my bedroom. When I moved away from home, my father, I suppose, must have been deeply touched by that phrase. He kept the poster, although I did not know it then. Years later, he had it framed; now it hangs on the wall in his living room.

    It is frequently a great fear of parents, especially who live in these small rural communities (such as the one I grew up in), that their children will move away somewhere, in search of opportunity and adventure, never to return. The parents will be alone in their old age, with their children and grandchildren living hundreds of miles away, in some large city where life is more exciting.

    I did that. At the very first opportunity, I left this small rural community behind and headed for the city. At first, my father was resistant to the idea, but in time, he mellowed. “Whatever makes you happy, makes me happy,” he began to say. That must have been when he hung that poster on his living room wall. And true to the saying written upon it, I did return, some twenty years later, after my own daughter was born and at the time when I realized that my own father was growing old, alone.

    If he had tried to force me to stay, however, I’m sure that, as soon as I escaped, there would have been no end to my journey. I would never have come back to him in his old age. Freedom is everything to me. It always has been. No other word better encompasses the essence of the spirit that resides within me. There are many things that I can sacrifice or renounce, if necessary, but freedom is not among them. Some would claim that this is because I am a Sagittarius. I don’t know – maybe it is. I just know that I cannot abide being chained, or tied, or kept in a cage of any kind.

    When I was younger, I think that my father must have associated that drive within me with rebelliousness. In time, perhaps, he came to realize that it wasn’t rebelliousness – it is just who I am. When he began to accept that, I began to return more often, of my own free will. At first, once a year, every year, I came home to visit him for a month. Then that once a year became twice a year, once in December, once in August. Then, finally, I said, “Okay, I’m moving back to Texas.” Now my daughter and I live only twenty miles away from him, which may seem far still, yet it is very little in comparison to two or three thousand.

    And I may not remain here forever – I feel certain that other adventures still await – but, for now, my father is old and my daughter, very young. I have made this choice of my own free will – the choice to return to him in his old age – and in this choice, I am content.

    And thank you so much, Paulo, for sharing these wise sayings, which touch me deeply, as I am a great lover of dogs. There is nothing that breaks my heart so much as to drive by a house and see a dog on a chain. Pitt Bulls are quite popular in this area – I have several myself – and often people keep these animals tied up with wide leather collars and chains so thick and heavy that a grown man can scarcely lift their weight. These creatures live out their whole lives within the circumference of that small circle. Not infrequently, due to this confinement, in combination with ill treatment from their heartless owners, they become vicious. Anything that comes within that circle, they attack. By nature, they are as docile as lambs, and yet they are made into man-eating monsters by the insanity of confinement, in combination with constant abuse and harassment.

    As I write this, one of my own, a twenty-pound pup named Kali, lies slumbering (and snoring loudly) in the chair beside me. She comes and goes from my house as she pleases and, like the others, lounges in the yard or roams about in the forest at will. There are no fences around my twenty-something acres to keep my dogs here. But they know where the boundaries are. They may go out to play and hunt in the day, much like a pack of wolves, wild and free, but they never fail to return to me. When they do, is is with much love and affection. Our respect for one another is mutual.