In Fritz (Finistere) Peters' charming, tender and quietly hilarious recollections of his adolescent years at Gurdjieff's Pricure school, the Great Man emerges full of warts and wonders, graces and grimaces, in part a Regular Fellow, in part a Shaman. He was ""strong, honest, direct,"" and often quite the opposite. He spoke, and he speaks a great deal here, apparently like a Hollywood Injun: ""Is true but must always look at all side before make judgment."" Gurdjieff and Peters enjoyed an oddly enlivening Socrates-Plato relationship. It did not fructify, however, and the bewildered author after numerous attempts at ""self-observation"" or ""essence-touching"" and a slight attempt at suicide, left for America. The portraits of the community (kids, disciples, visitors), of the daily Turkish bath, of a lady teacher always passing wind but with extreme politeness, of Gurdjieff as prankster, fox and father-confessor, all have a perfectly pitched plainness, a piercing sincerity to them, never once sentimentalizing or souping-up the eccentricities or the exoticisms. And the mystical firewater the Master squirts sometimes splashes tellingly: ""All people same-stupid, blind, human. If I do bad thing, this make you learn love other people, not just self."" Christ put it better, of course.