by Patzia

Story of the thief who was asked, “What are you doing at the bottom of this wall at midnight?” and replied, “I am beating a drum.”

Hear this parable – how a wicked thief was cutting a hole
at the bottom of a wall.
The owner of the house, half awake and ill,
heard the soft tapping of the pick,
And went on to the roof and hung his head down and said to him,
‘What are you doing here at midnight? Who are you?”
He answered, “A drummer, o honorable sir, I’m beating a drum.”
The sick man asked, “Where is the noise of the drum, O artful

The thief answered, “You will hear this noise tomorrow in the cries
of ‘Oh, alas!’ And ‘Oh, woe is me!'”

[1] Literally, “O Father of ways (ingenious expedients).”

from Mathnawi, Book III (p.157,2799-2805)

Painting – ‘Drum Beat’ by Sebastian R Makelele