Saturday, April 12, 2014

This too shall pass

Today, thanks to Sheldon Cooper of "The Big Bang Theory" (episode 20 season 7 The Relationship Diremption), I learned a very nice little story.
As Sheldon says, the Persian poet Attar of Nishapur (c. 1145 - c. 1221) records the fable of a powerful king who asks an assembled group of wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad (and vice versa). After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words "This too will pass" etched on it, which has the desired effect.
(Picture: ring with the "this too shall pass" inscription is on sale on Amazon)

Googling around, I learned that the story is actually narrated by other authors too, and its true origin remains uncertain. The sentence and in general the story of an "Eastern monarch" was included in a speech given on September 30, 1859, by Abraham Lincoln before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in Milwaukee:

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

This sentence is quite epic and really gives the indeed effect!

Update
According to one blog visitor, the story comes from Iran and it has been a popular saying inside Iranian prisons for decades and many prisoners have this sentence tattooed on their arms



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million for providing a new motto for my life... brilliant, and very consoling indeed, and something to hold on to at all times.

eddie said...

Yeah, I like that too :)
unfortunately it works in the opposite direction too :(

Anonymous said...

Yep, but that doesn´t make it less true... that´s life in a nutshell, really. I doubt there´s a more accurate and so short a description for it.

eddie said...

I definitely agree :)

seriusmofen said...

hi there. this is calling from Iran where the story is originated. loved that you heard and liked the story. more to say this has been a popular saying inside Iranian prisons for decades and many prisoners have this sentence tattooed on their arms. best to you. Farshad

eddie said...

Hello Farshad, thanks for your contribution. What you said is very interesting and I will put it in the post right now!
Regards,
eddie

seriusmofen said...

Hello Eddie, shared your post on my facebook wall. Thanks again

eddie said...

Thanks to you for your comment!
Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing extra research to make the saying more interesting and poetic.

eddie said...

You're welcome!
keep following the blog!

Anonymous said...

yes, I am Iranian, we say it very often in Persian.

eddie said...

Thanks for your comment!