Retold by Sydney Solis

Working with the Story

There was once a young girl named Fatima who was the daughter of a prosperous spinner. Her father taught her the ancient craft, and every day she would sit and spin fine threads of silk, dreaming of a man she may one day marry.

As she sat and spun she would sing, “Ah, life is good. Ah, fate is kind. How happy I am in this life of mine.”

One day her father said, “Come Fatima, I have business in the Middle Seas. Join me on this journey and perhaps you will find a young man worthy of your hand in marriage.

So Fatima joyously sailed with her father, dreaming of the man she would marry.

A terrible storm, however, swept up, picked up the ship like a toy boat and crashed it onto some rocks.

When Fatima awoke after the tragedy, she found herself washed up on the shore of some strange land. Her clothes were in tatters and the taste of salt was heavy on her lips. Worst of all, next to her was her father, dead.

Terrified, Fatima did not know what to do. But she heard a little voice inside that said.

“Fatima, Fatima all is well. Why things happen, no on can tell.”

So she picked herself up off the shore and began walking.

Soon she came to an elderly couple on the beach. Fatima told them of her lot and they told her that she was near Alexandria and that they were cloth makers.

“We have no child of our own. Please, come and live with us, if you wish!” they said.

Fatima accepted their offer and learned the trade of her new life. She became a fine cloth maker and once again was happy. She would often sit and sing, dreaming of the man she would marry.

“Ah, life is good. Ah, fate is kind. How happy I am in this life of mine.”

One day, Fatima was walking along the beach where she had washed up so long ago. As fate would have it, slave traders were there. They snatched Fatima up, threw her onto a ship and sent her off to Istanbul. She protested bitterly, but to no avail.

Until one day she found herself looking out dejectedly among the stench of human flesh around her at the slave trade auction.

“How can this have happened to me?" she cried. There was no answer, except for the little voice within that said,

“Fatima, Fatima all is well. Why things happen, no on can tell.”

It just so happened that it was a very slow day at the slave market, and a wealthy mast maker saw the beautiful Fatima and took pity on her. He bought her, thinking that she would make a good house servant for his wife and that would better her lot.
But when the mast maker returned home, he discovered that a ship full of his cargo had been lost at sea. He had lost a fortune, and so he had to let go all of his workers. Then he, his wife and Fatima had to sit down and be the ones to carve the masts from trees.

In time, Fatima became a fine mast maker. Happy in her third life, she would often sing as she worked, dreaming one day of the man who she would marry.

“Ah, life is good. Ah, fate is kind. How happy I am in this life of mine.”

Fatima was such a fine worker, that she became a trusted servant of the mast maker.

“Fatima,” he said to her one day, “I need you to sail to Java with this cargo of masts. Be sure to get a good price for them.”

“I most certainly will,” she cried proudly. Shortly she set off on her journey in charge of the cargo, dreaming of the good price she would get for her master.

But, as fate would have it, before she reached Java, a terrible typhoon swept up and crashed her ship across some rocks. All was lost, and Fatima found herself once again washed up on a strange shore, her whole world lost.

When she awoke, this time she cried out with a fist to the sky.

“Why is it that every time I think something’s going to work out it only ends in frustration?” But there was no answer. Only a little voice inside said.

“Fatima, Fatima all is well. Why things happen, no on can tell.”

Fatima once again picked herself up off the shore and began walking.

She met some people and discovered she was in China. Now, no one in China had ever heard of Fatima or her problems, but they had heard of a prophecy. That a stranger, a woman, would arrive in China and that she would make a tent for the emperor. So when Fatima wandered into a town, people immediately, using sign language, said she must go straight to the emperor.

When she got there, the emperor asked her if she could make a tent.

“I think so,” she said. “First I will need some strong rope.”

Strong rope? Nobody understood by what she meant.

So, Fatima, remembering her time with her father learning spinning, went out to the field, gathered some flax and spun it into strong rope.

“Now I will need some stout cloth,” Faitma said.

People rumbled among themselves, as they didn’t understand those words.

“What is stout cloth?” they cried.

So, Fatima, remembering her time among the cloth makers of Alexandria, spun some more flax into thread and wove it into stout cloth.

“Now I need some strong polls. About ten of them.”

Again, nobody knew what she was talking about, so Fatima herself went to the forest to cut down 10 trees, and because of her time among the mast maker in Istanbul, she fashioned 10 poles for the tent. Then she wracked her brain to remember, in all of her journeys she had seen tents. At last she settled on one and lo…. A tent was prepared for the emperor. He was very pleased.

“Because you have fulfilled this prophecy, Fatima, you shall have anything you wish," the emperor said.

Fatima thought about what she wanted.  “I will stay here. I wish to marry.”

She married a fine prince and she had many children and many grandchildren. And as she lived her life and watched them play, she would often sing to herself.

“Ah, life is good. Ah, fate is kind. How happy I am in this life of mine.”


Carol McCormick: Metamorphosis: Stories to Help Us Heal. 1997
Idries Shah : Tales of the Dervishes

Copy right 2009 The Mythic Yoga Studio, Sydney Solis, Boulder, Colorado


The best way I think to tell this story is during a Story Siesta - have children relax and simply listen to the story. Then do some yoga any way you want! See what parts of the story come up during asanas.

Asana - Warrior poses, Virabradrasana I, II and III. Remind children that this is their journey in life. Their vessel is their body. Strengthening the legs and core help us confront life's challenges with heart and courage. Boat pose, navasana. Ship crashing on rocks! Diaster does happen in the world. We are the transcendent eternal participating in duality, and in duality, what goes up must come down! The greater the work, the darker the other side of it! Ask children what pose might go well with Fatima spinning.

Meditation - Meditate on the breath. Have children count in three, and out three, to even out the breath. Steady is the route of life with yoga. The yogi is neither too elated that life is great, nor too sad when things don't go too well. The breath keeps us steady. Teach children proper breathing and ensure against chest breathing. Discuss the action of the diaphram and it's location in the body.

Reflection - How are you like Fatima? How have your wishes not turned out as planned? What good or what gifts have you learned from these thwarted plans? Where are you now as a result of the thwarted plan? What adventures have you had? What skills do you have? How can these skills help you confront life's challenges? What is that supreme happiness within?


Top of Page

Top of Page | The Lotus Home

Email Sydney | Go to Mythic Yoga | Go to Storytime Yoga
Mythic Yoga ™ and Storytime Yoga ™ are registered trademarks of Sydney Solis.
© Sydney Solis | All rights reserved.