with astonished dismay on the new world round about me, my mother
spoke to the wet-nurse, saying, “How does my child?”
And the wet-nurse answered, “He does well, Madame, I have fed him
three times; and never before have I seen a babe so young yet so
And I was indignant; and I cried, “It is not true, mother; for
my bed is hard, and the milk I have sucked is bitter to my mouth,
and the odour of the breast is foul in my nostrils, and I am most
But my mother did not understand, nor did the nurse; for the language
I spoke was that of the world from which I came.
And on the twenty-first day of my life, as I was being christened,
the priest said to my mother, “You should indeed by happy, Madame,
that your son was born a Christian.”
And I was surprised,—and I said to the priest, “Then your mother
in Heaven should be unhappy, for you were not born a Christian.”
But the priest too did not understand my language.
And after seven moons, one day a soothsayer looked at me, and he
said to my mother, “Your son will be a statesman and a great leader
But I cried out,—”That is a false prophet; for I shall be a
musician, and naught but a musician shall I be.”
But even at that age my language was not understood—and great was
And after three and thirty years, during which my mother, and the
nurse, and the priest have all died, (the shadow of God be upon
their spirits) the soothsayer still lives. And yesterday I met him
near the gates of the temple; and while we were talking together
he said, “I have always known you would become a great musician.
Even in your infancy I prophesied and foretold your future.”
And I believed him—for now I too have forgotten the language of
that other world.
Read Kahlil Gibran's Poems:
The Three Ants | Said a Blade of Grass | And When My Sorrow was Born | The Pomegranate | When My Sorrow Was Born | The Two Hermits | The Scarecrow | The Astronomer | War | The Blessed City | The Sleep-Walkers | The Eye & The Fox | The Great Longing | The Wise King | Ambition | The Good God and the Evil God & The Grave-Digger | The Perfect World | The Seven Selves | The Other Language | The Greater Sea | The Wise Dog | The Two Learned Men | My Friend | Crucified | Night and the Madman | Defeat | Faces | God