Ungrateful son of a donkey, part 1

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story


Ungrateful son of a donkey

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day, the Mullah’s donkey, Karakacan, gave birth to a foal. Believing himself the father, Mullah thought, Since now I have two donkeys, I shall send my younger son to a teacher to instruct him, so he will be taught, he will learn to read, and he will come to teach me.

So Nasruddin took the young donkey to the schoolteacher, Halil, and told him, “This, my son, wants to be educated. Please tutor him so that he will be less a fool than me.”

Halil replied in astonishment, “What are you asking me? This son of a donkey should be taught

Nasruddin just nodded.

“Well, pay me up front my proper tuition fee, plus room and board. Then I’ll gladly accept your son as a pupil and teach him everything I know.”

So Nasruddin counted out to Halil an exorbitant payment. The teacher took the reins of the donkey and told the Mullah, “Now go in peace. Do not worry, I will take care of your child and teach him well. I will treat him as if he were my own son.”

After Mullah left, Halil said to his wife, “That Nasruddin has gone completely out of his wits. I have never seen such idiocy. Everyone knows that you can’t teach the son of an ass not to be an ass.”

The next day, Halil took Nasruddin’s son of a donkey to the cattle market and sold it.

Nasruddin patiently waited a week, and then impatiently another three days, then he went to the teacher. When he arrived, he saw that his son was not anywhere to be found, so he asked Halil, “Where has your student gone?”

The teacher replied, “He is not here. I sent him not far from here, him and his friend, on an errand. But rest assured, he is progressing well in his studies and is very popular with the other students.”

“That’s good to hear. I was afraid he would misbehave with you as often as his mother has troubled me,” said the Mullah. “I’m going now, but I’ll return to check on him in ten days. “

Halil said, “Go ahead home and enjoy yourself. Your son has not told us he is lacking in any way. Rest assured he is in good hands.”

So Nasruddin walked home, and in ten days he returned to Halil’s house.

When he arrived he saw that his son was not there, so he asked, “Where has my son, your student, gone?”

Halil embraced the Mullah and said proudly, “Congratulations! Your son turned out to be one of my finest students. Simply brilliant. He was graduated with honors.”

Mullah was very pleased to hear that his son was a diligent student, and he asked the teacher, “When will I be able to see him? I have missed him all these weeks.”

Halil replied, “In fact, your son is no longer here. I sent him to another city to instruct other students of mine. Your son has become a very accomplished legal scholar and you should be very proud of him.”

“I am indeed a proud father, Halil, just as you must be a proud teacher of such an outstanding pupil. But I would like to be able to see him and talk with him about certain domestic affairs. The boy has not seen his father in months now, and I am certain he would like to see his mother as well.”

“Nasruddin, now that your son has become an authority on certain aspects of law, his time is truly at a premium. Go back home now, I will write him a letter to ask that you may come to him. Then I’ll write you a letter and let you know when and where you can meet him.”

Nasruddin said, “Okay then, I’ll just wait to hear from you.”

The Mullah returned home. He waited many days and weeks, but he saw no letter from the teacher and no greeting. He went to the teacher and said to him, “Well, Halil, here I am.”

The teacher said, “Just today I was going to write you a letter to give you a very nice message from your son.”

Mullah said, “Really? Come on, tell me what he wrote to you!”

Halil informed him, “It’s absolutely fabulous news. You won’t believe it.”

“Try me.”

“Your son wrote that last week he and his entourage moved to the capitol city. He has just been appointed the Sultan.”

This news well pleased Nasruddin, who said, “I shall now go and visit my son.”

The teacher replied, “All right, go see your son. He is in a city called Woden. But when you arrive there, do not tell anyone that you are his father, for he now holds significant title and prestige. If you go see him in court, definitely don’t identify yourself as his parent. It would be considered the height of rudeness. Also if you speak to him at the wrong moment, he’ll be sure to have you whipped within an inch of your life.”

Nasruddin became very angry and declared, “I’ll go see him, and talk to him about anything I like, and I am not afraid of him attacking me!”

So Nasruddin traveled to see the Sultan …

[continued next week]

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press


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