At Least One of Them

A Naughty Nasreddin story

At Least One of Them

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day, Nasreddin went out hunting and shot two quails. He brought them to his wife and told her to prepare the fowls, because he wanted to invite his wealthy friend Aslan to dinner to impress him.

So Fatima took the birds, and she plucked and prepared them. As she was roasting the quails, the smell was irresistibly delicious. Since Fatima had very little self-control, she could not stop herself from tasting the quail to make sure it was just as delectable as it smelled — just a little piece, so that Nasreddin would never notice. So she tasted the quail, and tasted it again, and again, until she finally had eaten both quails. When she realized what she had done, she became very upset and did not know at first what she should do.

At noon, when the two men arrived, Fatima called Nasruddin aside. She gave her husband a knife and asked him to grind it so that she could cut the bread, which he proceeded to do.

Meanwhile she went to Aslan and whispered to him, “Just thought I ought to warn you. My husband has a very bad habit. Every time he invites someone to dinner, he cuts off the ears of the guest. Can’t you see how keenly he sharpens his knife over there?”

“God save me!” Aslan yelped with fear and quickly ran out the door.

Fatima immediately went to the kitchen to grab the empty platter, then rushed to her husband still grinding the blade of his knife, and shrieked, “Hoca, your friend has stolen the two quails and gone!”

Immediately Nasreddin ran out into the street after his friend brandishing the knife in his hand, crying out, ‘Please, please, my friend, be fair: at least, let me have just one of them! Only one will be plenty!”

Aslan looked back, saw the huge knife in Nasreddin’s hand, and then ran away even faster, shouting back, “If you can catch me, then you will undoubtedly have both!”

Excerpted from the forthcoming Naughty Adventures of Nasreddin.

 

Sources

AaTh 1741. Marzolph 572.

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