I can’t resist retelling this little story:
The tiny gnats who lived in the grass were being continually flattened by the South Wind and blown into the grass so that they could not fly.
The gnats went to King Solomon and told him they had a problem and asked him to pass judgement on their adversary and protect them from him.
“Of course,” replied Solomon. “Just tell me who it is who is oppressing you. Give me the offender’s name.”
“It’s the South Wind,” replied the gnats.
“I’d better see what he’s got to say for himself. He has to give his side of the story before I can make a judgement.”
Solomon shouted to his servants: “Summon the South Wind.”
And the South Wind rose up, very angry with great commotion and fuss and whirled into Solomon’s court. And he blew the gnats away and away, even deeper into the grass again as he arrived.
Rumi doesn’t say whether Solomon offered any judgement after this, because the complainants were nowhere to be seen and their voices had been silenced. And my guess is that the South Wind was making too much noise for anyone else to he heard anyway.
There are plenty of gnats in our society, and some of them are tiny and very easily silenced. However, remembering New Zealand’s secret weapon, sand-flies, I know that even tiny gnats have an ability to irritate and drive insane those who ignore them. It takes a while, but eventually we have to pay attention to them, and get Solomon to do the same.
Political irritant gnats today include PRIVATE EYE, POLITICAL SCRAPBOOK, and a large number of smaller ankle biters. Watching Parliamentary Question Time with all the braying and public-schoolboy jeering and bullying is sometimes like watching Rumi’s story enacted all over again.
Watch out, South Wind.