The Importance of Gourd Crafting

This has to be my all time favourite Rumi poem, and the moral of the tale is just so true:-

The Importance of Gourd Crafting

There was a maidservant
who had cleverly trained a donkey
to perform the services of a man.

From a gourd,
she had carved a flanged device
to fit on the donkey’s penis,
to keep him from going too far into her.

She had fashioned it just to the point
of her pleasure, and she greatly enjoyed
the arrangement, as often as she could!

She thrived, but the donkey was getting
a little thin and tired looking.

The mistress began to investigate.
One day she peeked through a crack in the door
and saw the animal’s marvelous member
and the delight of the girl
stretched under the donkey.

She said nothing. Later, she knocked on the door
and called the maid out on an errand,
a long and complicated errand.
I won’t go into details.

The servant knew what was happening, though.
“Ah, my mistress,” she thought to herself,
“you should not send away the expert.

When you begin to work without full knowledge,
you risk your life. Your shame keeps you
from asking me about the gourd, but you must
have that to join with this donkey.
There’s a trick you don’t know!”

But the woman was too fascinated with her idea
to consider any danger. She led the donkey in
and closed the door, thinking, “With no one around
I can shout in my pleasure.”

She was dizzy
with anticipation, her vagina glowing
and singing like a nightingale.

She arranged the chair under the donkey,
as she had seen the girl do. She raised her legs
and pulled him into her.

Her fire kindled more,
and the donkey politely pushed as she urged him to,
pushed through and into her intestines,
and, without a word, she died.

The chair fell one way,
and she the other.

The room was smeared with blood.

Reader,
have you ever seen anyone martyred
for a donkey? Remember what the Qur’an
says about the torment of disgracing yourself.

Don’t sacrifice your life to your animal-soul!

If you die of what that leads you to do,
you are just like this woman on the floor.
She is an image of immoderation.

Remember her,
and keep your balance.

The maidservant returns and says, “Yes, you saw
my pleasure, but you didn’t see the gourd
that put a limit on it. You opened
your shop before a master
taught you the craft.”

12 thoughts on “The Importance of Gourd Crafting

  1. When I first started reading Rumi years ago this poem shocked me, and touched me, personally. I just found this blog looking to share this poem with a friend.

    Thank you,

    T

    • Thanks for the comment T, like yourself I was shocked by this poem on first reading, but on further readings I came to understand the message it carries…

      • I’m still shocked. Is that something that was done back then? I mean…there are so many ways that don’t include bestiality to share the same lesson.

        I find it to be quite horrid. It’s the same reason I don’t trust women with big dogs or horses. Lol.

  2. I have many translations without added comments, with the original numbering of the verses and it’s real (I had to check it out, didn’t believe it at first).

    Book V, verse 1335, Masnavi.

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