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Upper page: From the Book


I am indebted to Robert M. Alter, who nearly two decades ago prophesied that a collection of crazy wisdom stories of the inscrutable Mullah was in my destiny.

“Story is the ship we sail across time,” Ursula LeGuin is quoted as saying. This project has been immeasurably enriched by my affiliation with the Connecticut Storytelling Center, whose director Ann Shapiro, as well as its many members and supporters, welcomed me to discover its storytellers and to share its outstanding folkloric resources.

One such unique and rare resource, a French volume dated late 19th Century, falling apart at the binding but perfectly legible and with simplistic illustrations in tableaux of the stories, has informed the work presented here.

Parts of the Foreword and Introduction were included in my article, “Nasruddin at 800,” published 2008 in Hearsay, the CSC newsletter. Learn more about the art of storytelling at the CSC website, <>.

In supporting the genesis of this project, many people have provided much-needed dabs of ammonia on the rear end of Nasruddin and his little grey donkey to propel them forward into existence in this collection. For their spark and spunk, I thank:

publisher Steve Berman, of Lethe Press

Steve Bhaerman, a.k.a. “Swami Beyondananda”

designer Toby Johnson

illustrator Sgott MacKenzie

Ralph Seligman, who copyedited the book

Oğuzhan “Ozzie” Özkan; Mehmet Ali, of Bears of Turkey; Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks

Diane Edgecomb, Peg Donovan

Rev. Mike J. Ader

Dave O’Neal, Kendra Crossen Burroughs, Jonathan Green, Peter Turner, and Sam Bercholz of Shambhala Publications

Jeff Shaumeyer and Isaac Borocz

Thomas Cornick

Jerry L. Wheeler, Dale Chase, William Holden, and Wayne Courtois

Stephan Niederwieser, Felice Picano, Robert H. Hopcke,  P.J. Willis, S. Harrington, Todd Smith

the staff of my auxiliary “offices” at Bean & Leaf, and Muddy Waters cafés in New London, CT

Joe Maulucci, webbear

Carol Karuna Lane, Kate Pavitra McGarry, Sharon Kumuda Janis, David M. Keepnews, and Sw. Anantananda

Daniel M. Jaffe

and Meir D. Amiel, Esq.

Ultimately, this work never could have been realized without the enduring support from my loving husband, Rocco.

Ti voglio bene assai.


New London, Connecticut

July 2010

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