Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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The Story of the Toe

One day Mevlana's cook, Ateshbaz-i-Veli, was preparing dinner for his master in the tekke kitchen. The meat was tough; the meal took much longer than anticipated to prepare; and soon the supply of stovewood was gone. Not wanting dinner to be delayed, the cook prayed to God for faith, mercy and a miracle, and put his left foot into the fire for fuel. The pot of meat continued to bubble and boil, and soon gave off a delicious aroma. That aroma quickly drew Mevlana into the kitchen. when the cook saw his master enter, both his faith and his attention faltered for amoment, and an overwhelming pain shot through his toe. He quickly pulled his foot from the fire and covered the burnt left toe with his right. Since that day, in the Mevlevi sema, whenever the semazen stands or bows, the right toe is placed over the left, to "cover doubt" and in remembrance of Mevlana's most faithful servant.