Preface by Ann Shapiro

Upper page: From the Book


by Ann Shapiro

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin is a collection of tales of the Persian folk hero, Nasruddin, retold by Ron Suresha.

These hilarious, and at times, ribald folk tales of the Turkish wise fool take the reader to another time and place, and share the spiritual lessons of Nasruddin. The stories are set up chronologically, starting with his youth, introducing us to his friends, his marriage and his own children, his work, old age, and finally, his death. As Suresha writes, “. . . by opening the listener’s heart with laughter, the tales create a space for wisdom to enter.”

Traditionally, the tales are told in groups of seven. Suresha upholds this oral custom by grouping the written short, bare bones, and joke-like stories also in groups of seven. His modern retelling breathes fresh life into the stories while respecting their roots.

One of the joys I experienced reading the book, was discovering variants of stories I already knew from other cultures. Nasruddin stories always provided a twist from the versions I was familiar with, and made me laugh out loud many times.

Suresha’s introduction and foreword provide the reader with wonderful background knowledge of Nasruddin, not only as a funny (and he is funny!) character, but also as an important spiritual leader, whose stories offer many ideas to meditate on. The book also includes a helpful glossary and a bibliography that story enthusiasts will enjoy.

The teaching stories included in this volume help to build bridges between cultures by exemplifying Arabic wisdom and universal human humor.

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