Fatima the Spinner and the Tent by Idries Shah is a kids book, which I thought was a re-telling of Fatima in A Thousand and One Nights but this is a different Fatima.
In the story, she is taught by her father to spin and then she is ship wrecked and her father dies. She is taken in by a family who teaches her to weave. Then she is kidnapped and sold as a slave. Her new master teaches her to make ship’s masts. Then she is ship wrecked again in China. But the Chinese have a legend that says a foreign woman would on day arrive and make a tent for the Emperor. Of course, this is Fatima who uses all of the skills she learned (spinning, weaving, and mast-building) to make a tent. She marries a prince and is happy the rest of her days.
After she got ship wrecked on China: “She wept bitterly, for she felt that nothing in her life was working in accordance with expectation. Whenever things seemed to be going well, something came and destroyed all her hopes.”
“Why is it,” she cried out, “that whenever I try to do something it comes to grief? Why should so many unfortunate things happen to me?” But there was no answer.
How many times have we thought the same things and cried out to God with no immediate answer.
“So, she picked herself up from the sand and started to walk…”
Isn’t this what we all do?
Last page, “It was through these adventures that Fatima realized that what had appeared to be an unpleasant experience at the time, turned out to be an essential part of the making of her ultimate happiness.”
I couldn’t help but think of God here. It is so true. We go through life, learning things along the way, lessons He wants to teach us, and every thing combines for our happiness, something God desires for us.
I’m reminded of the song, Your Love Never Fails that says, “You make all things work together for my good.”
I love books like these, especially kids books. I love kids books I think because my mother never read to me so I get to read all these stories along the way. My oldest loved this story. It was the first book she picked out to read last night.
These stories are so essential for learning–stories that show how despite hardships it all works out in the end and these hardships all had a purpose–to give Fatima the skills she needed, which led to her happiness–or to extrapolate–which led to God’s purpose for her.
Everything we go through is for a purpose–His purpose. We just have to try and remember that in the midst of heartache.