"In order to represent clearly to yourself and understand just why this peculiar craze, proper to him alone, arose in the individuality of that Persian king, you must know that at the period of the Tikliamuishian civilization, in the town of 'Chiklaral,' a learned three-brained being by the name of Kharnakhoom--whose essence later became crystallized into what is called an 'Eternal Ghassnamooss Individual'--invented the notion that any old metal you like, found in abundance on the surface of that planet, could easily be transformed into the rare metal 'gold'; and that all you needed to know for this was one very small 'secret.'
"This pernicious invention of his became widely spread there and having become crystallized in the presence of the beings of that time, passed from generation to generation, and gradually took the form of a maleficent, fantastic science under the name of 'alchemy,' the very name of that great science which had indeed existed there as a branch of genuine knowledge during long past epochs--when the consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer had not yet been completely crystallized in the presence of their ancestors--a science that could have been most useful and in fact essential for all three-brained beings there, even of contemporary times.
"Now at that period to which my tale relates, this Persian king needed for one or another of his undoubtedly ghassnamoossian aims a large amount of the metal called 'gold,' rare on the surface of the Earth; and as he had heard about this method, invented by the future Ghasnamooss Individual Kharnakhoom, he was eager to obtain gold by so easy a means.
"When this Persian king had definitely decided to obtain gold by means of alchemy, he realized then and there with the whole of his being that he did not yet know that 'little secret' without which it was absolutely impossible to fulfill this desire. So he began to ponder how to find out that 'little secret.'
"And this pondering of his led to the following conclusion:
"'Since the learned already have knowledge of every other kind of "mystery," there must be at least one of them to whom this mystery is known.'
"Having finally reached this conclusion, he began to wonder with an intensified functioning of 'being-astonishment' why such a simple idea had never entered his head before and, summoning certain of his faithful subjects, he ordered them to find out which of the learned beings of his capital knew about this 'mystery.'
"When it was reported to him the following day that not a single one of the learned beings of the capital knew this secret, he ordered further inquiries to be made among learned beings of his entire realm and, when after several days he received the same negative reply, he began once more to ponder, this time very seriously.
"His serious reflection first led his reason to the conclusion that one or another of the learned beings of his community undoubtedly knew this secret but of course, since 'professional secrecy' was strictly observed among beings of that fraternity, nobody was willing to reveal it.
"He then realized that it was necessary not merely to question, but to put pressure on the learned beings to compel them to reply.
"That same day, he gave appropriate instructions to his closest assistants in such matters, and they immediately began making 'interrogations,' using methods that had long been customary among power-possessing beings for interrogating ordinary beings.
"And when this eccentric Persian king finally became convinced that the learned beings of his community really knew nothing about this mystery, he began to look in other communities for learned beings who might know about it.
Beelzebub's Tales To His Grandson, by G. I. Gurdjieff, pages 297-298
Viking Arkana Edition, 1992.