Once upon a time, there lived in Basra an old man. He spent all his life taking care of his child till he became a strong young boy. The old man gathered all his money and decided to spend it on his son’s education. The young boy went to a university to study under great scholars of that time and gain a qualification.
The day had finally arrived for the son to return from his studies. The old man put a chair in front of house and started to wait.
When the son came and met his father, the old man looked into his eyes and found an arrogance and proud person in him.
"What have you learnt my son?" he asked.
"I have learnt everything that was there to be learnt, father", he said.
"But have you learnt what cannot be taught?" asked the father. "Go, my son and learn what cannot be taught", said the old man.
The young man asked his father about how to learn what cannot be taught.
"Go away to the mountains with these four hundred sheep and come back when they are one thousand", said the father.
The young man went to the mountains and became a shepherd. This was for the first time that he encountered a silence. He had no one to talk to. The sheep did not understand his language. In his desperation, he would talk to them but they would not respond. Slowly he began to forget all his worldly knowledge, his ego and his pride.
He developed a habit of taking care of his sheep. He used to locate good pastures for them and take them there to feed. When some sheep tried to go astray, he used to bring them back to herd. He tried his best to protect his herd from dangers and kept them away from locations where lions could attack them.
Gradually, he became quite like the sheep. This allowed him more time to think and observe the beautiful world built around him. With this observation and deep thought, great wisdom and humility came to him.
At the end of two years when the number of sheep had grown to one thousand, he returned to his father and fell on his feet. Father could see humility and humbleness in his eyes. "Now you have learnt what cannot be taught," said the old man.
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