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The birds of the world gather together to seek a king. They are told by the Hoopoe that they have a king — the Simurgh — but that he lives far away and the journey to him is hazardous. The birds should pass over seven valleys. As Hoopoe said, the valleys were as follows: the valley of the Quest, the valley of Love, the valley of Insight into Mystery, the valley of Detachment, the valley of Unity, the valley of Bewilderment, the valley of Poverty and Nothingness…

The birds are at first enthusiastic to begin their search, but when they realize how difficult the journey will be they start to make excuses… [In the end the thirty who persevere] are finally admitted and find that the Simurgh they have sought is none other than themselves. The moment depends on a pun—only thirty (si) birds (murgh) are left at the end of the way, and the si murgh meet the Simurgh, the goal of their quest.

Conference of the Birds, Farid ed-din Attar [Summary]

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