Is it better to be sane and live amongst mad people, or to be mad and fit in with the crowd? You decide.

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This story comes up time and again as a traditional Sufi tale, but it also has elements in common with those in Kahlil Gibran’s “The Wise King”. This is my version, crafted from a variety of sources.

Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese writer, poet, and visual artist, born into a Catholic family and was influenced not only by his own religion but also by Islam. In Muslim tradition, al-Khiḍr is widely known as the spiritual guide of Moses and Alexander the Great, a wali(saint), a prophet, and one of four immortals along with Enoch (Idris), Jesus, and Elijah. Khiḍr is associated with the Water of Life, which makes his appearance in this tale very appropriate indeed.