Food and Pens

Once upon a time there was a student. He used to go everyday to sit at the feet of a Sufi teacher, to take down on paper what the master said.

Because he was so fully occupied with his studies, he was unable to follow any gainful occupation. One evening when he arrived home, his wife placed a bowl before him, covered with a napkin.

He took the cloth and put it around his neck and then he saw that the dish was full of - pens and paper.

"Since this is what you do all day," she said, "just try to eat it."

The next morning the student went, as usual, to learn from his teacher. Although his wife's words distressed him, he continued to follow the accustomed pattern of studies, and did not go out looking for a job.

After a few minutes' writing, he found that his pen was not working well. "Never mind," said the master, "go into that corner and bring the box you will find there and put it in front of you."

When he sat down with the box and opened its lid, he found that it was full of - food.