While in Tabriz we had heard a great deal about a certain Persian dervish, supposedly a performer of extraordinary miracles, and our interest was aroused. A little later in our journey we again heard about him from a certain Armenian priest, and we then decided, although he lived in a place a good deal out of our way, to change the route we had planned in order to see him and find out for ourselves who and what he was.
It was on the thirteenth day of a tiring journey, during which we spent the nights in the huts of Persian or Kurd shepherds or in small settlements, that we finally reached the village where this dervish lived.
We were directed to his house, which was some distance beyond the village. We immediately made our way there and found him near his house in the shade of some trees, where he usually spoke with the people who came to him.
We saw a man of fairly advanced age, dressed in rags, barefoot and seated crosslegged on the ground. Near him sat a number of young Persians who, as we discovered later, were his pupils. We approached, asked his benediction, and also seated ourselves on the ground, forming a half-circle round him. Our conversation began.
We put questions and he answered us, and in his turn he asked us questions.
At first he received us rather coldly and showed little inclination to talk, but later, when he found that we had come a considerable distance especially to talk with him, he became more cordial. He expressed himself very simply, in unpolished language, and at the beginning gave the impression, at least to me personally, of being an ignorant man, that is to say, uneducated in the European sense of the word.
The conversation with the dervish was conducted in Persian, but in a particular dialect which none of our company knew except myself, Dr. Sari-Ogli and one other who was not very fluent in it. Consequently Sari-Ogli and I asked the questions, immediately translating all that was said for the benefit of the others.
It was dinnertime. A pupil came bringing the dervish his food—rice in a bowl made out of a gourd. Continuing the conversation, the dervish began to eat. As we had eaten nothing since we had risen and started on our way early in the morning, we opened our knapsacks and began to eat also.