Monday, January 22, 2018

Storytime: Body and Soul

I thought, in light of ongoing world events, we could use a little Monday morning help keeping body and soul together.

I learned this story from Patricia McMahon, many years ago. We both were attending Tuesday night storytelling with Brother Blue in a basement bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Those were formative days for me, learning to listen and tell stories from some of the best storytellers around. It was before storytelling had become a buzzword; storytelling venues were few and far between and so this was sacred and rarified time. I went one night every week crammed in with others who were hungry for story. It was nourishing in the deepest of ways.

Patricia was one of my favorite storytellers. Every time she got up I knew I would hear something well-crafted and interesting. For the most part she was working her way through a novel, telling it eight-minutes at a time, but every now and then she'd tell something different. This is one of those something different stories.

Patricia heard Body and Soul from another teller, who had heard it from another teller, and so on. She knew it as a Sufi story and so I tell it as such. I've not been able to find a definitive source for this story, but there is a reference to a similar Arabian story in The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Sufi Mysticism, by Hazrat Inayat Khan. I like the version I learned from Patricia and now tell, because it explains how to best keep body and soul together using tools we all have available to us all of the time.

I hope you enjoy this story.

(c)2017 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. Ahhhhhhhhh. What a perfect story for this time. Thank you, Laura. I am grateful to all who are helping remind me right now about the importance of keeping body and soul together. May this story continue to bless and do its work.

  2. Fyi, the closest I ever came to finding a source was a two sentence description in an article in some free new-age-y newspaper that mentioned a Sufi story about how bodies and souls were originally made separately. I deemed that good enough for the purposes of calling it a Sufi story when I recorded it.


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