The Rich Man and the Monkey by Idries Shah

When a monkey meets a rich man, he complains that he is poor. ‘I own nothing, not even clothes,’ the monkey says. The rich man, who has a big house and vast estates, starts to feel guilty about possessing so much while the monkey remains destitute. So he decides to sign over all his possessions to the animal. Is this a wise choice? Or has the rich man been too hasty in giving everything away to a monkey?

For more than 1,000 years this story has entertained children, helped foster the ability to examine their own assumptions and think for themselves. Part of a rich body of literature from Central Asia and the Middle East, The Rich Man and the Monkey is one of many tales collected by the late Afghan author and thinker, Idries Shah.

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

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‘These teaching-stories can be experienced on many levels. A child may simply enjoy hearing them, an adult may analyse them in a more sophisticated way. Both may eventually benefit from the lessons within.’


‘Shah has collected hundreds of Sufi tales… In this tradition, the line between stories for children and those for adults is not as clear as it seems to be in Western cultures… the lessons are important for all generations.’