Cap of Invisibility
the land which is unseen to us, but in reality more real
than the real, there lived a boy, and his name was Kasjan.
His elder brother, Jankas, was hard-working and intelligent.
But he, Kasjan was neither hard-working nor idle. He was
neither intelligent nor stupid, but he used to apply himself
to any problem he could, as well as he could.
The two brothers, neither of whom seemed to be making great
progress in the Unseen Land, decided to seek their fortunes
together. They walked away from their home one afternoon,
and it was not long before darkness separated them, and
as for Jankas we shall hear presently. Kasjan came
suddenly upon a quarrel. Three men were arguing, it seemed,
about three items lying on the ground. They explained to
him the trouble. Their father had died and left them a conical
hat, the Kulah of Invisibility, a flying carpet, and a staff
which made the carpet fly when it was beaten with it. Each
one wanted all the items or at least first choice of them.
Their reasons were that they were the eldest, the middle
and the youngest sons, and each on this account claimed
They are all unworthy, thought Kasjan, but he
offered to adjudicate between them. He told them all to
withdraw forty paces and then turn around. Before they could
finish his instructions he had placed the Kulah on his head,
got on to the carpet and struck it with the stick. Carpet,
he commanded, take me to wherever my brother Jankas
Now not long before, his brother Jankas had been snatched
up by a mighty Anqa bird, which had deposited him on the
minaret of a mosque in Khorasan. Because Kasjan was thinking
at the time, however, that Jankas must have made himself
a prince at least, the carpet heard this thought and
flying with immense speed came lightly to rest on
the battlements of the kings palace of the city of
Balkh in Khorasan.
The king, who has seen the him alight, came out at once,
saying: Perhaps this is the youth who it is foretold
will help my daughter and yet not desire her.
Kasjan saluted the king and told him that he was seeking
his brother Jankas. Before you do that, said
the king, I want you to help me with your special
equipment and keen mind. The princess, it transpired,
used to disappear every night and return in the morning,
nobody knew how. This had been foretold and came to pass.
Kasjan agreed to help, and suggested that he should watch
by her bedside.
That night, through half closed eyes, he saw the princess
look to see whether he was asleep. Then she took up a needle
and stuck it in his foot, but he did not move, because he
was expecting some such thing. I am ready, said
the princess, and all at once a terrible spirit appeared
and took her on his shoulders, and they soared together
through the ceiling, without making any impression on it.
Rubbing his eyes, Kasjan immediately place the Kulah of
Invisibility on his head, sat on the magic carpet and beating
it with the stick, cried: Take me where the princess
There was a rushing and a roaring, and Kasjan found himself
in the Unseen Land beyond the Unseen Land. There was the
princess accompanied by the spirit. They walked through
forests of precious stones. Kasjan broke off a piece of
jade tree with diamond fruits. Then they walked through
a garden of unknown plants of unexcelled beauty. Kasjan
put a few of the seeds in his pocket. Finally they stood
by a lake whose reeds were shimmering swords. These
are the swords which can kill spirits such as me,
said the spirit to the princess; but only a man called
Kasjan can do it, so it has been foretold.
As soon as he heard these words, Kasjan stepped forward,
seized one of the swords from the reed bed and cut off the
head of the awful spirit. He seized the princess and dragged
her onto the carpet. Soon they were speeding back to the
palace of the king of Balkh in Khorasan.
Kasjan took the princess at once before the king, waking
him unceremoniously from his slumber. Your Majesty,
he said, here is your daughter, and I have released
her from the grasp of a demon in such-and-such a manner.
And he related all that had befallen them, producing the
pieces of jewel and seeds as proof. Released at last, the
princess offered to marry Kasjan. But Kasjan, asking for
a few moments leave, flew on his magic carpet to find his
Jankas was sleeping in a caravanserai, because he had only
been able to obtain employment as a teacher in a seminary,
and the pay was very low. When they returned to the court,
the princess was immediately smitten by the manly features
of Jankas, and she decided that she wanted to marry him
instead of Kasjan.
That is exactly what I was about to suggest,
said Kasjan and the king together. They lived happily ever
after; for the kingdom was handed over to Jankas and his
bride, while the king of Balkh and Kasjan together transferred
themselves on the magic carpet to the Unseen Land beyond
the Unseen Land, which now became their joint kingdom
sufi teaching-story is recorded by Idries Shah
in The Way of the Sufi 1968.