4umi Khalil Gibran : The Madman / The Greater Sea

The greater sea

My soul and I went down to the great sea to bathe. And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.

“This is the pessimist,” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet. There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejewelled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist,” said my soul, “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”

Further on we walked. And on a beach we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.

“And we cannot bathe before him,” said my soul. “He is the humane philanthropist.”

And we passed on.

Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it. But he went on tracing it again and again.

“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”

And we walked on, till in a quiet cove we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.

“He is the idealist,” said my soul, “Surely he must not see our nudity.”

And on we walked. Suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea. This is the deep sea. This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.

And my soul said, “Let us pass on. He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”

So we passed on. And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand. And I said to my soul, “We can bathe here, for he cannot see us.”

“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all. He is the puritan.”

Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.

“Let us go hence,” she said, “For there is no lonely, hidden place where we can bathe. I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my scared nakedness.”

Then we left that sea to seek the Greater Sea.

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 Khalil Gibran Introductory biography Spirits Rebellious The Broken Wings A Tear and a Smile The Madman How I Became a Madman God My Friend The Scarecrow The Sleep Walkers The Wise Dog The Two Hermits On Giving and Taking The Seven Selves War The Fox The Wise King Ambition The New Pleasure The Other Language The Pomegranate The Two Cages The Three Ants The Grave-Digger On the Steps of the Temple The Blessed City The Good God and the Evil God "Defeat" Night and the Madman Faces The Greater Sea Crucified The Astronomer The Great Longing Said a Blade of Grass The Eye The Two Learned Men When My Sorrow Was Born And When My Joy Was Born "The Perfect World" The Forerunner The Prophet The New Frontier Sand and Foam Jesus, The Son Of Man The Earth Gods The Wanderer Al-Nay The Garden of the Prophet Lazarus and His Beloved Satan My Countrymen I Believe In You Your Thought And Mine You Have Your Lebanon History and the Nation The Vision Visual art