A Sufi was sitting at a crossroads one morning when a young man came up to him and asked whether he could study with him.
'Yes, for one day,' said the Sufi.
Throughout the day, one traveller after another stopped to ask questions about man and life, about Sufism and Sufis, or to beg for help -- or just to pay respects.
But the Sufi wanderer merely sat in an attitude of contemplation, his head on his knee, and he made no answer at all. One by one, the people went away.
Towards evening a poor man with a heavy bundle approached the pair and asked the way to the nearest town. The Sufi immediately stood up, took the man's burden on his own shoulders and conducted him a part of the way along the right road. Then he returned to the crossroads.
The young man asked:
'Was that man, miserable peasant though he looked, really a saint in disguise, one of the secret wanderers of high rank?'
The Sufi sighed and said:
'He was the only person whom we have seen today who really sought the object which he claimed to want.'