Gurdjieff—A Case of Dysentery

One day I arrived at Mr. Gurdjieffs for lunch, but told him I would not be able to eat the meal. To his questioning look, I replied that I had a kind of dysentery that made me get off the bus twice and stop two other times in cafés, all in less than an hour.

“Dysentery… a very well-known thing. Now you must help me!” said Mr. Gurdjieff, and without losing a moment, he tossed four large Spanish onions into my hands. They were quickly chopped up, then, under Gyorgi Ivanovitch’s direction, seasoned with salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar. A large bowl of it was put in my place, and as soon as we were seated, he suggested I eat the contents.

Taken aback and rather apprehensive at having to consume such a large portion of this honorable bulb, I was confronted with a real dilemma. But since I would have to suffer whether I ate it or not, I preferred to suffer obediently all the more, as it would have quite pleased me to prove Mr. Gurdjieff wrong. Whatever might happen, it was all the same to me. I downed it all, and on top of that, I did honour to the main meal like everyone else.

I expected the worst, awaiting the moment when the dreaded colic would strike; but to my great astonishment, the pressing urges disappeared as if by magic.

Whether it pleases the medical experts or not, I freely give this recipe to all those intemperate at the stool. But take note, if you are hypochondriacs or hypersensitive this is not for you!

This story may remind you of an interchange between Rene Zuber and Gurdjieff, which was recounted as follows:

One day I ventured a remark. “In fact, Monsieur, cooking could well be a branch of medicine?” which brought the response, “No, medicine branch of cooking.”