Hazrat Inayat Khan told the following tale, which might seem rather un-mysterious and plain; there are no elephants and tigers, and not a dervish in sight. Nevertheless, it has a point for the traveller on the path.
It was a custom in a country where the people lived by farming the each man should receive as his portion a certain plot of land. Some took advantage of the privilege and others disregarded their inheritance.
Now one man, a good farmer, saw a field lying untouched and unclaimed, and he passionately desired it. He knew that by his labour it could become a fair and beautiful place. And going to the ruler of his country, he asked of him this field he had found lying waste and unclaimed.
The ruler replied, “You are a good farmer; you have in no way neglected that which you have, and for myself I feel very sorry that this field you have seen should lie forgotten. For I desire that my land should be a happy and rich country and that every part of it should be filled with prosperity. But if I should grant you this portion, what restraint could I have over dishonest and neglectful farmers? For it is rare to find a man such as you. Mostly the farmers are lazy and wasteful, thieving and dishonest, scarcely worthy to keep that possession and that liberty which they already have, but ready to snatch at what is not theirs by right.”
“But,” said the good farmer to the ruler, ” if a portion of land remains unclaimed, weeds will grow and all manner of harmful things may breed there. So there is a double loss to your country, for these harmful things spread to other enclosed and cultivated places, and the seeds of the weeds are blown everywhere by the wind.”
“This I know well,” said the ruler of the country, “but it is my duty to make my laws having regard for the worst of my subjects.”