Monday, October 1, 2012

The Waters of Madness

Today’s post on Laudator, “Flight,” and an earlier post called “Escape” referenced there (link), brought to my mind a Sufi story published by Idries Shah in Tales of the Dervishes called “When the Waters Were Changed” (E.P. Dutton paperback, 1970, p. 21). The brief tale is presented on the web (here). I will just give you the first paragraph:

Once upon a time Khidr, the Teacher of Moses, 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.

Brigitte and I talk almost daily of “things in the air.” Of course we’re not alone. At one level one hears echoes of Tom Lehrer: “Just two things of which you must beware: Don’t drink the water and don’t breathe the air.” At another the air also carries the guiding suggestion to take flight, to seek escape.


  1. Tom Lehrer!
    (My favorite was the song about Alma Mahler-Werfel.)
    I suppose you can remember "Beyond the Fringe", too.

  2. Our knowledge of Tom Lehrer came from a record in the 1960s. It did not have "Alma" on it. And I've not been able to link Lehrer's name to "Beyond the Fringe." The sixties were like that Pete Seeger, Tom Lehrer, Joan Baez...

  3. Lehrer was not linked to BTF, but was a contemporary in that ancient time. We had a record, too: a 33 1/3.


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