Four Men and the Interpreter

Four people were given a piece of money.

The first was a Persian. He said: ‘I will buy with this some angur.’

The second was an Arab. He said: ‘No, because I want eanab.’

The third was Turk. He said: ‘I do not want eanab, I want uzum.

The fourth was a Greek. He said: ‘I want stafyli.’

Because they did not know what lay behind the names of things, these four started to fight.

They had information but no knowledge.

One man of wisdom present could have reconciled them all, saying: ‘I can fulfil the needs of all of you, with one and the same piece of money. If you honestly give me your trust, your one coin will become as four; and four at odds will become as one united.’

Such a man would know that each in his own language wanted the same thing, grapes.

– taken from Jalal-Uddin Rumi’s Mathnawi