When the Waters Were Changed 

It was on BBC World Service, for all its sins that I recall a reporter (whose name I know not) who replied to a question that surpasses me that she could not imagine if everywhere in the world was the same. As someone who liked to travel, and had a career that allowed her to, she appreciated the diverse, colors, sounds, and ways of life that she has been privileged to see.

If someone behaves differently, does this make them unacceptable, and as a result everything they do? Whatever contribution they have to make will their opinion count?

Could you imagine a world where everyone dressed the same, thought, and behaved the same, had the same likes and dislikes? If we all perceived the world in the same way, if there was something wrong with it, who would see about putting it right?

From ‘Tales of the Dervishes’ by Idries Shah

When the Waters Were Changed

Once upon a time Khidr, called upon mankind with a warning. At a certain date, he said, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded, would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.

Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells went dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw the waterfalls again begin to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men.
He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned.

When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought that he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

At first, he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day.

Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving and thinking in a different way from everyone else.

He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had miraculously been restored to sanity.