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G.I. Gurdjieff, "The Magicians Sheep"

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“The Magicians Sheep”
by G.I. Gurdjieff

“There is an Eastern tale that speaks about a very rich magician who
had a great many sheep. But at the same time this magician was very
mean. He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a
fence about the pasture where the sheep were grazing. The sheep
consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines and so
on, and above all, they ran away, for they knew that the magician
wanted their flesh and their skins, and this they did not like.

At last the magician found a remedy.
He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them, first of all, that they
were immortal and that no harm was being done to them when they were
skinned; that on the contrary, it would be very good for them and even
pleasant; secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who
loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world
for them; and in the third place, he suggested that if anything at all
were going to happen to them, it was not going to happen just then, at
any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about
it. Further, the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not
sheep at all; to some of them he suggested that they were lions, to
some that they were eagles, to some that they were men, to others that
they were magicians. After this all his cares and worries about the
sheep came to an end. They never ran away again, but quietly awaited
the time when the magician would require their flesh and skins.”



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