His Parables and Poems
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Kahlil Gibran wished to write small books that could be read in one sitting and carried in the pocket. Between 1918 –1926, he wrote four such books, and these were his first in English: The Madman (1918); the Forerunner (1920); Sand and Foam (1926) and The Prophet (1923). Three are collections of parables and aphorisms, which in true Eastern style, draw on a world of kings, hermits, saints, slaves, deserts, talking animals, and wind that laughs. The Prophet, which was to become enduringly popular, is different; a prose piece which is longer and partly auto-biographical. In the story, a young man prepares to leave for his homeland; but first he must say goodbye to those he has lived amongst for the previous twelve years. The book is his farewell speech, touching on love, friendship, children, joy, sorrow and much else besides. Summing up the message of the book, Gibran said this: ‘The whole prophet is saying one thing: ‘You are far far greater than you know – and all is well.’