Later than You Think

by rjs
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Published on: August 4, 2013

Later than You Think

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinDeciding for once to fast all thirty days of the month of Ramadan, Nasruddin devised a method to keep track of the days. Every day he put a pebble in a pot, figuring that when the time was up, he’d just count the pebbles.

Unknown to Nasruddin, his little daughter, Hafiza, noticed his daily habit of putting a pebble in the pot. To be helpful, she went around the garden and collected lots and lots of rocks, and added one or many to the collection whenever she liked.

Two weeks later, the Mullah’s friends Sedat and Ismail stopped by and asked him how many days remained in the fasting month. Nasruddin emptied his pot and counted the stones, then hesitantly returned with the information: “It seems that forty-nine days have passed.”

“How can that be? There are only thirty days in a month!” said Sedat.

“I’m not exaggerating in the least,” Nasruddin asserted. “In fact, I was being conservative in stating that number. It is actually much later than you think. Truth is, today is the one hundred and forty-ninth day of Ramadan!”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero.

Your Daily Nasruddin

Another popular Nasrudding story. The premise is that the young girl accidentally – but playfully – tries to help her Papa by adding more pebbles to the pot, without her father being any wiser for the matter. Note that Nasruddin actually admits to lying the first time he recounted the pebble count.

Predicting a Contrarian

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Published on: August 2, 2013

Predicting a Contrarian

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinOnce Nasruddin was talking with some friends when his son, Ahmet, came running and told him that his mother-in-law Hayat had fallen in the river. Nasruddin sighed and turned to go upriver.

His friends stopped him, saying, “Nasruddin, if your mother-in-law fell in the water in that direction, shouldn’t you head downstream to rescue her?”

Nasruddin replied, “Listen, I know my wife’s mother, and Hayat is undoubtedly the most contrary person on the face of this earth. If the usual place to look for most people is downstream, then the best place to look for her is upstream.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

Your Daily Nasruddin

Nasruddin’s contrary nature guides him in understanding his mother-in-law’s behavior. In some versions of the story, Nasruddin is called on to rescue his wife (for which the mother-in-law serves as surrogate).

As Strong as He Ever Was

by rjs
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Published on: February 18, 2013

As Strong as He Ever Was

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinThere is no difference between my youth and old age!” declared Nasruddin at the teahouse one day. “I’m just as strong as I was twenty years ago.”

“Is that so‽” Hamza replied, always willing to challenge the Mullah on his boasting. “This is a boulder in the city garden that most men couldn’t even budge. If you are indeed as fit as a man of half your age, let’s see you pick it up.”

Hamza led Nasruddin, with the rest of the men trailing behind, to the rock. The Mullah glanced at it casually and said, “That is nothing. I could lift it now just as easily as I could when I was a young man.”

Hamza said, “Have at it, Nasruddin. Let’s see you move it so much as an inch.”

“Fine,” said Nasruddin. He spat on his hands and braced himself to raise the rock.

He heaved, and he huffed, and he hacked, but the rock showed no signs of locating to a new address. After some minutes of this embarrassed exertion, Nasruddin staggered back, sweating and panting, his face flushed.

“Nasruddin, you said you could have hoisted up the rock with the sheer strength of your youth, which has not diminished with the years,” Hamza commented. “Apparently those were empty words!”

“You cannot accuse me of deceptive boasting. Truth is,” Nasruddin admitted, “twenty years ago I couldn’t have lifted that huge rock, either.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

The vigor and stamina of our youth soon enough fades, but the memory of what strength we actually possessed disappears even faster.

 

God’s Way, or Mortal’s Way?

by rjs
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Published on: January 30, 2013

God’s Way, or Mortal’s Way?

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

. . . continued from previous entry. . .

Süleyman, the walnut seller, was furious at first when he arrived at his vendor stall, but when the kids described Nasruddin’s fall, Süleyman laughed along, and everyone helped Nasruddin collect the nuts and put the stand in order. Nasruddin even bought a bag of walnuts to placate Süleyman, for the kids to share.

“Children, I will give you all the walnuts in this bag. But tell me first — how do you want me to divide them: God’s way, or mortal’s way?”

“God’s way,” the four boys chimed together as one.

Mullah opened the bag and gave two handfuls of walnuts to the first boy, one handful to the next boy, just two walnuts to the third boy, and none at all to the last!

All the children were baffled, but the fourth boy pouted and complained, “What sort of distribution is this?”

“This is God’s way of distributing gifts among his children. Some will get lots, some will get a fair amount, and nothing at all to others. Now, had you asked me to divide the nuts by the usual mortal’s way, I would have handed out an equal amount to everybody.”

. . . to be continued . . .

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

One of the most popular Nasreddin jokes around, one that my Guru relishes telling, and another fine example of how Nasruddin makes the illogical seem obvious.

The Mullah here shifts from being a fool riding backward who fell on his ass to being the teacher.

Contrary to our boundless expectations, you’d think God would be fairer. Not so much, actually.

God is randomness and chaos just as much as harmony and balance.

And I know for sure that the Mullah ended up giving the boys more nuts.

A Perfectly Good Reason to Fall

by rjs
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Published on: January 28, 2013

A Perfectly Good Reason to Fall

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

. . . continued from previous entry. . .

By the time the donkey seemed to be slowing down, Nasruddin’s turban was nearly dragging the ground, and he knew he would lose it if he didn’t try to catch it from slipping off his head. So cautiously Nasruddin took one hand off the donkey and, as he was trying to grab the end of his turban, he lost his balance and tumbled off to the left, landing with a resounding crash right into a market stand of walnuts, scattering the nuts for yards around.

Some small boys nearby clustered around the walnut stand, laughing and pointing at Nasruddin, who appeared dazed, but unhurt.

“Why do you laugh?” Nasruddin snarled. “Before I was on the floor, and once again as you can see I am on the very same floor. In Allah’s name, tell me: what’s so funny?!”

As Nasruddin slowly picked himself off the ground, he almost lost his footing as he stepped on the walnuts clattering about him, which caused the kids to almost split their sides all over again. They laughed until finally Nasruddin stood up fully, rubbing his rear. “That’s quite enough!” roared Nasruddin, silencing the peals of laughter. “Don’t get carried away with the idea, now!”

Nasruddin composed himself as he tried to regain his dignity, saying, “Clearly you never considered that I might have had a perfectly good reason to fall.” The doubtful kids could hardly contain their sniggering, as Nasruddin dusted himself off, straightened his coat, and rewrapped his turban. Süleyman, the walnut seller, who had been at the other end of the market and heard the commotion, came into view.

“Besides,” Nasruddin said to the kids as he started quickly gathering walnuts that had scattered everywhere, “I was going to get off anyway, sooner or later.”

. . .  story continued here . . .

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

Another example of how Nasruddin makes the inevitable seem impossible at times.

Of course, we had all along planned to get down off our high horse (or donkey, &c), even as we were riding high, moving forward, and enjoying the view. Now what I didn’t expect was to have been thrown off the beast so soon!

Don’t Ask Me — Ask the Donkey

by rjs
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Published on: January 26, 2013

Don’t Ask Me — Ask the Donkey

. . . continued from previous entry. . .

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinNasruddin rode his little grey donkey, Karakacan, sitting backward as usual, facing his students.

As he was about to make a point, suddenly there was a series of loud pops and bangs — one of the boys, Mehmet, had set off firecrackers! The frightened donkey bolted with Nasruddin clinging to its backside and the kids running behind them, laughing and yelling. As the terrorized donkey galloped into the village, the Mullah held on for dear life. His turban came undone, but he dare not take one hand off to tuck it back in.

By the time the donkey entered the market with Nasruddin bouncing and bumping on its rear end, shouting for it to stop, his turban waving like a long banner from his bald head, and the kids shrieking as they followed, the whole market turned to witness the spectacle and laugh.

Nasruddin’s son, Ahmet, saw him riding backward at full donkey speed and called out, “Oh Father, you are going ass-backward!”

Nasruddin called out to Ahmet, between bumps, “It’s not me . . . that’s sitting on . . . my donkey backward . . . it’s the donkey . . . that’s facing . . . the wrong way!”

The donkey kept running in circles, but Nasruddin could not get it to stop. On their next circling around the market square, someone yelled, “Hey Nasruddin, where are you going in such a hurry?”

Nasruddin yelled back, in a shaken, desperate voice, “Don’t ask me — ask my donkey!”

. . . to be continued . . .

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

This story is classic Nasruddin, riding backward on his donkey (or a horse in certain versions). Asked why he travels backward, Nasruddin will deny that it is he who is facing the wrong direction. Asked where he is destined, Nasruddin can only reply, “Don’t ask me, ask the donkey.” And in all honesty, the Mullah does not know where he is headed, so the most logical (though still incredibly foolish) response is to refer the questioner to the animal who is wildly dragging the man behind him throughout the marketplace.

Why Nasruddin Rode His Donkey Backward

by rjs
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Published on: January 23, 2013

Why Nasruddin Rode His Donkey Backward

NSR donkey closeOne morning, Nasruddin was leading his donkey out from the stable, on his way to teach at the school, for that is another one of the things that Nasruddin did for work in those days. Seeing Nasruddin appear on the street, some young students approached him to ask whether they might instruct them and hear their lessons. Nasruddin readily agreed, and invited them to the schoolhouse.

Nasruddin mounted his donkey from the left, put his right foot in the stirrup, and heaved himself up. Naturally this put him facing backward toward the ass’s rear. As they set off, Nasruddin commented, “Remember, kids: a donkey of your own is better than a shared thoroughbred mare.”

As they walked on, Nuri asked why the Mullah mounted his donkey that way.

Nasruddin said, “Because, my child, the donkey is left-handed.”

Ismail objected, “But Mullah, donkeys don’t have hands.”

Nasruddin replied, “Well, left-footed, then,” then nudged Karakacan with a shout — “Ugh-r-r-r,” which, as you might happen to know, is Turkish for “Giddyap!” — and a shove.

“In any case,” Nasruddin continued speaking to the students, “what usually happens is that I want to go in one direction, and this stubborn beast wants to go in the exact opposite way. So this is our compromise.”

. . . to be continued . . .

+

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

There are few Nasruddin stories as iconic as this one, yet there is no one standard telling for this most basic of Nasruddin jokes. Usually this is explicated before the Hoca’s students, but sometimes villagers or strangers will ask the same question of the Mullah, “Nasruddin — where are you going?”

Several reasons for Nasruddin’s unconventional way of mounting, then riding, his little grey donkey (sometimes it’s a horse) are given among story variants. The most popular reasons  are:

~ I mounted the horse this way (backward) because the horse is left-footed (or left-hooved).

~ I’m not the one facing the wrong way — it’s the donkey!

~ The animal and I want to go in opposite directions, so this is our compromise.

~ If I ride my donkey facing backward, I can face my students as they follow me and ask their endless questions.

~ Don’t ask me — ask the beast!

A donkey wholesaler, or a donkey retailer?

by rjs
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Published on: January 15, 2013

A Donkey Wholesaler, or a Donkey Retailer?

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinEvery Friday on market day, Nasruddin arrived at market with an excellent donkey, which he sold almost immediately, for his prices were far below the usual asking price.

One day Musa approached him, “I cannot for the life of me understand how you do it, Nasruddin. I sell my animals at the lowest possible price. My servants force farmers to give me fodder free. My slaves look after my donkeys without wages. And yet I cannot match your prices. How do you do it?”

“Simple,” replied Nasruddin. “You steal fodder and labor. I merely steal donkeys.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

This shows what profit is to be made by cutting out the middlemen. You have to hand it to Nasreddin to figure out how to accomplish what the slave-owner could not.

There’s No Pleasing Anybody

by rjs
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Published on: January 12, 2013

There’s No Pleasing Anybody

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinNasruddin and his son, Ahmet, were taking a trip with Karakacan, their faithful little grey donkey, the son riding while the Mullah walked alongside. As some strangers encountered them on the road, one man admonished Nasruddin’s son, “Look at you, a healthy young man, letting your aging father walk. Why, the old man looks like he’s about to have heatstroke. That’s today’s youth for you — indolent and disrespectful.”

After they passed out of sight and earshot of the men, the boy felt very ashamed and got off the donkey. He insisted that his father ride while he walked, and so they went and everything was fine for a while.

Farther along they met a group of women sitting by the road. They clucked their tongues and complained loudly, “Look at that — the lazy father rides the donkey and makes the little boy walk, on a hot day like this. How cruel and unfair is that‽”

Embarrassed by the women’s comments, Nasruddin pulled his boy up to ride on the donkey with him, and they traveled like that for a while in silent dread of the next encounter.

Before long they approached some villagers, and one piped up, “What a shame! I feel sorry for that abused little donkey — carrying both of those grown men in this blazing heat. They are surely going to break its back. The poor beast looks almost ready to collapse.”

After this group passed, Nasruddin stopped the donkey, dismounted, and helped Ahmet get off. He grasped both his son’s hand and the donkey’s rein and declared, exasperated, “Now nobody can complain,” and they resumed their journey.

At the next village, they walked by a shop where several men were standing. When the men saw the trio trudging along on eight legs, they laughed and pointed, taunting them, “Look at those stupid fools — walking in this heat with a perfectly good donkey they could ride! Don’t they have any brains at all‽”

Nasruddin turned to Ahmet and said, “This just goes to show you, my boy, about the wicked criticism of people whom you don’t know. Everyone has an opinion and is quick to share it with you — but there is no pleasing anyone in this world. Therefore, you may as well just do as you wish.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

In one version of this story, the Mullah and his son carry the donkey – until someone comes along and criticizes them. I would have included this variant in the published story, but I’m certain that someone would disapprove.

I Was Right All Along

by rjs
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Published on: January 6, 2013

I Was Right All Along

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinOne afternoon the Mullah, fiercely brandishing a large metal spoon, chased Fatima out of their house and down the street, screaming at the top of his lungs, “Don’t try to stop me! This is the last straw! Just let me get my hands on you! I’ll show you what’s what —!”

Since nosey neighbors are never far away, some folks heard the screams and rushed out to intercept Nasruddin, trying to stop the fight. The men took Nasruddin into Hamza’s house to calm Nasruddin down, and the women took Fatima to her friend Turan’s to comfort and protect her.

As it so happened, Hamza was hosting a wedding party for his cousin. Nasruddin was seated at the dining table, where many trays of delicious baklava, a sweet pastry with pistachios and honey, were to be served the wedding guests. Naturally since the Mullah was so distraught, they encouraged him to help himself to the baklava on the tray in front of him. Nasruddin ate the baklava, one consoling piece after another, as he complained at length about his wife, saying, “If I had caught that woman — I would’ve turned her around — this indeed was the last straw — how she abuses my tolerance —” He finished one tray and moved on to the next, continuing his rant. “She should be punished like a child — I cannot live like this any longer,” and so on and on he went, gobbling down chunks of baklava.

Hamza said, “We’ve never seen you so upset. What happened?”

“We were discussing something and had different opinions. The disagreement turned into an argument which turned into a row, and we ended up exchanging punches.”

Just then the women brought Fatima and the hosts did everything to calm and reconcile her and Nasruddin. Soon the Mullah and his wife were sitting together, laughing and gorging themselves on the heavenly sweet baklava and enjoying themselves.

Nasruddin said, “My dear Fatima, please remind me to lose my temper more often — then life really would be worth living!”

Hamza brought the newlyweds to introduce them to the Nasruddins and said, “This serves as a fine example of how married couples can learn to get along, no matter what. Now tell us, Nasruddin, what were you and Fatima fighting about that made you so angry?”

“We were arguing about —,” Nasruddin explained between big bites of baklava, “the reason that we had not been invited — to this wedding! She maintained that it was because your servants forgot to write out our names on the invitation list, and I felt certain that you were trying to avoid us because of the last nasty fight we had at one of your relatives’ weddings. Obviously, I was right all along.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

This is a favorite among Fatima stories. This retelling includes elements from several versions of a domestic dispute that ends well. In some cases Fatima is abused quite openly, in others the action is limited to threats of violence only. Domestic aggression is a recurring theme in Nasruddin tales, which originate from a time when there was far less regard for women in Persian/Turkish culture than there is now.

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