Minding the door

by rjs
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Published on: December 5, 2011

Minding the door

Once when Nasruddin was too young to attend school, but Leyla, his mother, had to go to the well, she pulled his ear and told him, “Mind you, do not leave the door for even a moment. Keep your eye on it.” Then she left, gossiping with her friends Turan and Setare, along the way to the well. Once they got going, they could keep chatting at the well with the other village women for most of a day.

Nasruddin and his donkey
Nasruddin riding his donkey

Nasruddin sat in a chair staring intently at the front entrance, for the first hour. He paced around the house keeping an anxious eye on the front door always for the second hour. Finally in the third hour, Nasruddin’s uncle, Mesut, came by and told Nasruddin to tell his mother that he and his wife and their new baby were coming that night to join them for dinner.

After Mesut left, Nasruddin found himself in a tricky situation. The boy was restless and thought he should find out what was keeping his mother so long or at least give her the message. However, he remembered his mother had admonished him to not leave the door, and he wasn’t about to suffer his mother’s wrath for disobedience. Before another minute passed, Nasruddin devised a solution.

Nasruddin’s mother was standing at the well, still gossiping with her friends, when one of the women pointed behind her and said, “Leyla — isn’t that your boy, coming down the road, there?”

Nasruddin’s mother was beside herself when she saw her son dragging something behind him, which she couldn’t make out clearly. “Nasruddin, you simpleton! I told you to attend the door while I was out!”

As Nasruddin trudged forward, they could all see that he had lashed the front door to his back. He called out, “No need to worry, Mother. I brought the door with me, so we can both keep an eye on it!”

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 more famous of the young Nasruddin stories. In devising a solution to his conflict — mind the door, or go tell his mother a message — Nasruddin is clever by half.

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