You are about to return from the little Egypt to the greater Egypt

I went and bought myself a ticket and I sat down in the very first row
They pulled the curtain but then when they turned the spotlight way down low
Little Egypt came out a-struttin’ wearin’ nothin’ but a button and a bow
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

She had a ruby on her tummy and a diamond big as Texas on her toe
She let her hair down and she did the hoochie-coochie real slow
When she did her special number on the zebra skin I thought she’d stop the show
Singing, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying

She did her triple somersault and when she hit the ground
She winked at the audience and then she turned around
She had a picture of a cowboy tatooed on her spine
Said, Phoenix, Arizona 1949

Yeh, let me tell you people Little Egypt doesn’t dance there anymore
She’s too busy mopping and a-takin’ care of shopping at the store
‘Cos we’ve got seven kids and all day long they crawl around the floor
Singing ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying, ying-ying


3 thoughts on “You are about to return from the little Egypt to the greater Egypt

  1. Dear Tailor, I’ve just read the book The King’s Son, based on the Sufi story of the same name ( ). In this, Prince Dhat descends from Sharq (the East) to Misr (Egypt), falls asleep, forgets and leads a mundane life; then is reawakened by a strange message, retrieves a precious jewel from the clutches of a monster, and returns home once more in peace and splendour, his trial complete.

    To my mind, many of Idries Shah’s offerings, especially the teaching stories, have a quality about them that reminds me of the kind of fairytale that army recruitment drives spin about travelling the world and enjoying skiing holidays; whilst especially the more didactic materials teach us about drill, respect and the like. Having said that, Shah does scatter more direct materials throughout his books. This book The King’s Son, however, contains a concentration of striking material and comes as quite a shock. To continue the analogy: it seems to bring to one’s attention to the dilemma faced by the heart, face to face and having to choose between ego and spirit, or life and truth, and leads one into the cut and thrust experienced in real battle.

    1. Dear Etienne,

      Fascinating. I think “army recruitment” is a really good way of describing Shah’s teaching stories. We are told that the military are now minding the state of Egypt for the interim until an election is held and there is both anxiety and hope within the People of the Book (I include Muslims in that category) regarding what will come of that. But actually the (ultimate) solution is not in a fluxes and changes of government but, rather, following Prince Dhat, the return/reawakening from the “lesser” army recruitment drive to the “greater” army recruitment drive. The jewel itself is obtained by means of these movements, in the sense that a symphony’s composition is both realised/comprehended/grasped through its movements and the symphony itself is these movements.

      But each story is different and I’m interested to understand, following your blog’s note regarding Robert Cecil on the story, where the “scattering” figures within the Egyptian situation (the one on TV and the one in your book).

      Meaning to say — nice revamp of your site too!


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