An amazing story

From Marzieh Gail: Summon up Remembrance (Oxford: George Ronald, 1987) pp 269-270

"They spoke of the feasts they were enjoying, and the delicious foods. [Abdu'l-Baha] said: 'Food that is prepared with love and eaten with love gives great delight. When we were in Baghdad there was a poor man who lived off in the desert, and he eked out a living by gathering thorns and selling them in the city. He was a very devoted believer, and many a time he had invited me to eat a meal with him in his home. Finally we agreed to come to him, with some of the believers. He lived about 20 miles out of Baghdad. It was a hot day and we walked the whole distance and at last reached his house -- a small, humble dwelling made of reeds put together in the form of a triangle with a little entrance to it. He lived there all alone with his wife, a very old woman, out on the lonely wastes. He invited us into the hut. We found it very confined, and so hot that we all went outside again. But then there was nothing to shield us from the blazing sun, so we had to go back in and make the best of it.

Then the man dug a little hole in the ground, set fire to a bundle of thorns, and, fashioning some lumps of dough as we looked on, and, without yeast, he threw them on the fire and covered them over with ashes: this was his bread. A few minutes later he pulled the lumps out of the fire. The outside was burnt black, and the inside was plain dough. Then he brought us some dates and served them with the bread. And we all enjoyed that primitive food, because he was a true believer and had great love in his heart. He had strong faith, and he was blissful because we had come to his home. The meal we ate in that poor dwelling tasted so good that I still relish it in memory.

To sum it up, the world is full of delicate foods and rich things to eat, but whatever is served with love and eaten with love tastes the best. We spent the night with him, and went back to Baghdad the next morning. He rejoiced to have us, and we rejoiced to be with him, because he loved much.'"

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