Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour)

“Once upon a time, there was a King…” 

What else?  If not a king, then a queen, or a chivalrous knight, or a young beautiful princess, anyone that strikes the imagination of the common people who never have seen secretive “noble” individuals.

There are no new stories to invent: they were all told by the many cultures that we don’t know the languages and had never read their stories. The most enduring stories, through the ages, are the most common ones. Do not invent stories; just tell it.

Once upon a time, there was a King.  The astrologer warned the King that all his children must be males or he will lose the kingdom.

The first child was a girl and she was executed.  The second child was a girl and did not survive the day.  The third child was a girl, and it was becoming such a habit that control got lax and the mother got to see, hold, and feed her daughter.

This time around it was out of the question that this girl dies. The Queen bribed the executioner to save the child and fled the castle with the kid and a few servants.

The King tracked the Queen down. In his journey, he had to conquer other kingdoms, burn, and maim.  One tiny kingdom resisted and the Queen refused to meet and negotiate with the invading King. The Queen of the steadfast territory was ready to burn her kingdom and to fight to the last willing men.

The daughter of the Queen finally decided to meet with the King, spent the night with him, and saved her Kingdom.

The Queen was beside herself and suspected the worst in the generosity of this cruel King.

“What do you think was the end of this story?” said grand mom to the listening grandchildren. The kids wanted an ending to the story but grandmother refused to offer any: that was a mystery. No one had a satisfactory happy ending.

As she married, Safiya told her old father-in-law the story and asked him what the ending was. He replied “I did not even know the story. Anyway, it could not be but a tragedy since incest was consummated.

The next day, the old man relented and told Safiya that there could be an alternative happy ending; in general, for one happy event there are two tragic events. 

The ending should be decided on who must be happy the daughter, the Queen, or the King.

Should the moral Queen die? (What morality is there in the destruction of an entire population?)

Should the law enforcer of a King die? (What kinds of laws are so lawful to execute the supposed “traitors” for a King’s personal satisfaction?)  Should the daughter die in order to let her parents live “happily”?

We try hard to find a happy ending at the detriment of our own, because morality and customs decided that parents, relative, and community take precedent to our happiness.

In Greek tragedies everyone dies; in Shakespeare’s tragedies everyone dies or goes mad.

There is lack of imagination on the outcomes of the ending and people still flip the last page to know how the story ends.

It is so easy to let everyone die so that custom, tradition, ignorance, and censure win.  And yet, all these stupid tragedies are considered work of art for the ages.

No wonder society did not progressed at the same pace as sciences: stories fundamentally lack courageous alternatives that defy acceptable “common sense” outcomes.

Note 1: This story, with minor alterations, is taken from “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by the Iranian Atiq Rahimi.

Note 2: I won’t let this post ends without a joke.

An Afghani army recruit is asked by the sergeant “what are you carrying on your shoulder Ahmad?” The soldier replied “This is my rifle.”  The sergeant screams “This is your mother’s honor Ahmad, your sister, and your wife.”

“I am hurling my deepest secrets at the magic stone…” (September 7, 2009)

The husband is in a coma and the wife has been hurling at him all her deepest secrets and miseries.  Her Man has but to listen to her this time around; the wife is convinced by now that he must be hearing her and meditating on her stories.

“You forbade me to see my aunt. You are all in the wrong. You know nothing of my beautiful and loving aunt.  She was married at the age of 12 to a dirty old man.  My aunt could not give him offspring and she was sent as slave to her in-laws.

Since she was sterile her father-in-law sexually abused of her, day and night, for years. One day she broke her father-in-law’s skull with an axe.  My aunt left a short letter that she committed suicide and disappeared.  I was 14 of age when I never saw her again.  I found her three years after my marriage; she is taking care of my two young daughters when all your coward brothers refused to aid me in my predicaments.”

“You see, my adolescent boy of a lover is a quick learner. I am teaching him properly.  You never wanted to learn.  You considered me as mere flesh; you would say “Hide your flesh woman”.  If I had tried to initiate you to the proper love making you would have broken my face.  You were and still are so naïve and stupid on the matter of the flesh.  You would say “It is my soul that gives me honor; it is my honor that protects my soul”.  Well, your soul is now overhanging in that pocket of perfusion administering serum to your lousy body. Now it is your body judging your soul.”

“You see, this eldest militia man who spit on my face because I lied to him when I said that I am a whore to avoid being raped, well he is a bastard.  My adolescent of a lover is being used as his sex slave; in the evening he shackles my lover’s feet with little bells to dance for him; this bastard is burning my lover’s body which is covered by bruises all over”

The fighting ceased for two days.

The dogs are howling: They are hungry.

There are no cadavers on the streets

My father-in-law told me a Hadith. He said “The Prophet Muhammad, before he started disseminating his message, was convinced that he is going mad. He told his first and rich wife Khadija that he was hearing voices coming out of stones and that a giant with head reaching to the sky was appearing to him. Khadija asked him to warn her when the giant re-appears. One night at home Muhammad screamed; the giant was standing in front of him.  Khadija approached Muhamad to her bosom and said “Is the giant still standing?” Muhammad said “yes”.  Khadija removed her shawl and let her long hair drop to her shoulders and said “Is the giant still around?”  Muhammad said “No, he left”.  Khadija then said “Don’t worry.  This is no demon. He is an angel.  If he were a demon (Shaitan) he would have not respected my nakedness.  My father-in-law resumed “It is Khadija that was the true prophet; she revealed to Muhammad the sense of his prophesy, cured his bewitching visions, and saved him from the satanic sham”

“I have been hurling my deepest secrets on the magic stone, my husband in coma. My aunt forbade me to divulge my secrets to the spiritual Hakim (the Wiseman) or the mullah because I am pretty much normal; my talking is dictated to me from Above. The black stone of patience is disintegrating.  I am not possessed by a demon.  The voices that come out of me have been silenced for thousands of years.    I am another prophet who has been revealed many secrets.  The All Powerful Al Jabbar, it is I.  The All Merciful Al Rahim, it is I.”

Note: This story, with minor alterations, is taken from “Stone of Patience” (Syngue sabour) by the Iranian Atiq Rahimi.




March 2023

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