This is a Ramadan story from Persia; an area now known as the countries of Afghanistan and Iran.
There was a King of Persia who liked to ask his four advisors riddles. The King did not always know the answer but he asked anyways to hear what his advisors had to say.
One day, just before the beginning of Ramadan, , he asked his four advisors, “What melody is the sweetest?”
The first advisor immediately said, “Ah, your Majesty, that is a very simple riddle. It is the flute. “
The second advisor shook his head in disagreement. ” The melody of a flute is sweet. But far from being the sweetest! The sweetest is without a doubt the melody of a harp.”
The third advisor laughed and said, “The flute and the harp are ok but have you ever hear the sound of a violin? That is, by far, the sweetest of all.”
The King looked at his fourth advisor who remained silent and said: “It looks as if my wise fourth advisor is not yet ready to give his answer. I will give you a few days to think.”
Days passed and the month of Ramadan started. The King and his advisors stopped doing riddles and spent more time in prayer and meditation.
On the 10thday of Ramadan the fourth advisor invited the King and the other three advisors over for Iftar*.
The fourth advisor took them into the dining room and the 4 other men were so surprised. The tables were empty. There was no food, just empty plates.
Before they could ask any question 3 men came in playing the flute, the harp and the violin. The three musicians played together, beautiful melodies.
The King and the three other advisors were hungry and did not really know what was happening. It was almost time to eat…but no food in sight!
Finally, many servants came out of the kitchen, carrying pots and plates full of food. The servants made a lot of noise as the ladles hit the pots and the plates hit the tables … the King smiled and said, “I think I get your point and I agree! The sweetest melody is the melody of silverware hitting a plate when you are hungry. As the proverb says: the most delicious meal is the meal that you eat when you are hungry.“
*After sunset each day, the fast is broken by a meal, called the Iftar.