White halvah

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

White halvah

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day, Nasruddin was walking in the market with his son, Ahmet, when he pointed to a white halvah and asked, “Boy, do you know what that is?”

Ahmet answered, “That is a pot with white onions.”

The Mullah said, “If I taught that to God, surely He would deny me His grace!”

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

An eggplant by any other name

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

An eggplant by any other name

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day, Hamza brought Mullah Nasruddin a small eggplant, saying, “Mullah, I wonder what this might be. Please tell me.”

He took the eggplant and turned it around and over in his hands, examining the odd purplish thing. After several minutes of this inspection, he said, “Hamza, my friend, I cannot tell you. But let us take it to my son, Ahmet. He will know better than me.”

They took the eggplant to Ahmet and showed it to him. He, too, looked at the thing from every angle before finally declaring, “You ridiculous old farts! What’s so hard about figuring it out? Obviously, this is a baby starling whose eyes have not yet opened.”

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

forthcoming November 2014 from Lethe Press

 

 


Predicting a Contrarian

by rjs
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Published on: August 2, 2013

Predicting a Contrarian

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinOnce Nasruddin was talking with some friends when his son, Ahmet, came running and told him that his mother-in-law Hayat had fallen in the river. Nasruddin sighed and turned to go upriver.

His friends stopped him, saying, “Nasruddin, if your mother-in-law fell in the water in that direction, shouldn’t you head downstream to rescue her?”

Nasruddin replied, “Listen, I know my wife’s mother, and Hayat is undoubtedly the most contrary person on the face of this earth. If the usual place to look for most people is downstream, then the best place to look for her is upstream.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

Your Daily Nasruddin

Nasruddin’s contrary nature guides him in understanding his mother-in-law’s behavior. In some versions of the story, Nasruddin is called on to rescue his wife (for which the mother-in-law serves as surrogate).

Don’t Ask Me — Ask the Donkey

by rjs
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Published on: January 26, 2013

Don’t Ask Me — Ask the Donkey

. . . continued from previous entry. . .

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinNasruddin rode his little grey donkey, Karakacan, sitting backward as usual, facing his students.

As he was about to make a point, suddenly there was a series of loud pops and bangs — one of the boys, Mehmet, had set off firecrackers! The frightened donkey bolted with Nasruddin clinging to its backside and the kids running behind them, laughing and yelling. As the terrorized donkey galloped into the village, the Mullah held on for dear life. His turban came undone, but he dare not take one hand off to tuck it back in.

By the time the donkey entered the market with Nasruddin bouncing and bumping on its rear end, shouting for it to stop, his turban waving like a long banner from his bald head, and the kids shrieking as they followed, the whole market turned to witness the spectacle and laugh.

Nasruddin’s son, Ahmet, saw him riding backward at full donkey speed and called out, “Oh Father, you are going ass-backward!”

Nasruddin called out to Ahmet, between bumps, “It’s not me . . . that’s sitting on . . . my donkey backward . . . it’s the donkey . . . that’s facing . . . the wrong way!”

The donkey kept running in circles, but Nasruddin could not get it to stop. On their next circling around the market square, someone yelled, “Hey Nasruddin, where are you going in such a hurry?”

Nasruddin yelled back, in a shaken, desperate voice, “Don’t ask me — ask my donkey!”

. . . to be continued . . .

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

This story is classic Nasruddin, riding backward on his donkey (or a horse in certain versions). Asked why he travels backward, Nasruddin will deny that it is he who is facing the wrong direction. Asked where he is destined, Nasruddin can only reply, “Don’t ask me, ask the donkey.” And in all honesty, the Mullah does not know where he is headed, so the most logical (though still incredibly foolish) response is to refer the questioner to the animal who is wildly dragging the man behind him throughout the marketplace.

Peace Follows Renunciation?

by rjs
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Published on: January 14, 2013

Peace Follows Renunciation?

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinA gnarly band of bandits came upon an abandoned monastery in the countryside and decided to inhabit the place. Hoping to cash in on the Sufi reputation as respected teachers of immense insight, they put on stolen white tablecloths, intending to pose as dervishes in order to catch, confuse, and rob hapless travelers. The group began to beat a rhythmic dirge that was sure to catch the attention of some hapless sucker.

As it so happened, the Mullah and his son were traveling in the countryside at that time and came across the converted dervish retreat center. Nasruddin told his son, “Look, night will be falling soon, and this appears to be a highly advanced sect. Let us ask for their hospitality and stay the night.” The pseudo-monks in their white outfits welcomed them in and immediately began the evening service, which seemed to entail mostly of jumping and spinning around in a circle while chanting these words. The fake dervishes encouraged him to participate, so Mullah handed over the rein of his little grey donkey to his son and began to jump and spin about and sing along with their peculiar chant.

The dervish impersonators intoned, “I surrender all attachment to everything!”

The Mullah obediently repeated the words as he gyrated, “I surrender all attachment to everything!”

Next they chanted, “I forsake all desire for physical possession of anything!”

The Mullah repeated as he spun around, “I forsake all desire for physical possession of anything!”

The fake monks then shouted, “I renounce my addiction to the illusion of ownership!”

The Mullah breathlessly and obediently repeated the words, “I renounce my addiction to the illusion of ownership!” louder and louder, as he whirled round and around.

The false dervishes then began chanting faster, “I give away my saddlebag and little grey donkey!”

The Mullah obediently repeated the words, “I give away my saddlebag and little grey donkey!” as he turned, faster and faster as the tempo increased, until finally he was spinning and shrieking at such a hysterical frenzy that he fainted and passed out on the floor.

When Nasruddin finally came to in the morning, his saddlebag and little grey donkey — and the dervishes — were nowhere in sight. The Mullah awoke his son and started to cuff him, saying, “What did you do, you little fool? You were left in charge of the animal!”

“But Father,” said Ahmet, “when one of the dervishes came and led away the donkey, I ran to you, and you kept saying, “I give away my donkey and saddlebag,” so often and with such fervor and in front of so many witnesses that I understood that you meant to give them away.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

Like Nasreddin in this story, so often we fervently spin our hopes for a better tomorrow into a fantasy of unrealistic expectations, which just confuses us all the more, until finally we collapse in a heap on the floor, helpless to defend ourselves against those who would take our livelihood away from us (the donkey and saddle), while our children watch on in silence.

 

There’s No Pleasing Anybody

by rjs
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Published on: January 12, 2013

There’s No Pleasing Anybody

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah NasruddinNasruddin and his son, Ahmet, were taking a trip with Karakacan, their faithful little grey donkey, the son riding while the Mullah walked alongside. As some strangers encountered them on the road, one man admonished Nasruddin’s son, “Look at you, a healthy young man, letting your aging father walk. Why, the old man looks like he’s about to have heatstroke. That’s today’s youth for you — indolent and disrespectful.”

After they passed out of sight and earshot of the men, the boy felt very ashamed and got off the donkey. He insisted that his father ride while he walked, and so they went and everything was fine for a while.

Farther along they met a group of women sitting by the road. They clucked their tongues and complained loudly, “Look at that — the lazy father rides the donkey and makes the little boy walk, on a hot day like this. How cruel and unfair is that‽”

Embarrassed by the women’s comments, Nasruddin pulled his boy up to ride on the donkey with him, and they traveled like that for a while in silent dread of the next encounter.

Before long they approached some villagers, and one piped up, “What a shame! I feel sorry for that abused little donkey — carrying both of those grown men in this blazing heat. They are surely going to break its back. The poor beast looks almost ready to collapse.”

After this group passed, Nasruddin stopped the donkey, dismounted, and helped Ahmet get off. He grasped both his son’s hand and the donkey’s rein and declared, exasperated, “Now nobody can complain,” and they resumed their journey.

At the next village, they walked by a shop where several men were standing. When the men saw the trio trudging along on eight legs, they laughed and pointed, taunting them, “Look at those stupid fools — walking in this heat with a perfectly good donkey they could ride! Don’t they have any brains at all‽”

Nasruddin turned to Ahmet and said, “This just goes to show you, my boy, about the wicked criticism of people whom you don’t know. Everyone has an opinion and is quick to share it with you — but there is no pleasing anyone in this world. Therefore, you may as well just do as you wish.”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

 

 

 

Your Daily Nasruddin

In one version of this story, the Mullah and his son carry the donkey – until someone comes along and criticizes them. I would have included this variant in the published story, but I’m certain that someone would disapprove.

Preventive Measure

by rjs
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Published on: August 10, 2011

Preventive Measure

One morning, the wise fool Mullah Nasruddin woke up, yawned, and put on his dressing-gown, as he did every day.

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

He decided that he would bathe early, and needed water for his bath, so he called for Ahmet, his son. He handed him a large earthen vase and told him to go fill the container at the nearby well. The boy took the vessel and turned to go, but just then Nasruddin swatted him across the back and yelled, “And don’t break it!” which nearly made Ahmet drop the fragile vessel.

Faruk, Nasruddin’s nosy neighbor, who watched the whole thing, reproached

Nasruddin after his son left. “Nasruddin, why were you so harsh with your child? Why did you punish him before he’s broken anything or done something wrong?”

Nasruddin regarded his neighbor and said, “Don’t be foolish. It wouldn’t do any good to reprimand him after he broke the vase, would 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

Although corporal punishment for children is no longer acceptable in many if not most families, this story’s humor comes from the Mullah’s anachronism. He wants the child to be careful with the water jug, but in striking the child before he does anything wrong – in fact, which could cause the child to drop the vase – Nasruddin has reversed precaution and punishment.

And of course it’s always funny when a fool like Nasruddin calls someone else foolish.

Take a Lamp

by rjs
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Published on: June 15, 2011

Take a Lamp

Once Nasruddin instructed his son Ahmet to go outside to see if the sun had risen. When the boy returned from outside, he said, “I cannot tell for sure — it is still too dark to tell if it is sunrise yet.”

“You young fool,” said Nasruddin, “why didn’t you take a lamp with you?”

Excerpted from The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero

Your Daily Nasruddin

To wake up early enough to find and light a lamp (nowadays we’d say flashlight) to see if the sun has risen means you have deprived yourself of sleep to engage in foolish behavior. It is guaranteed that more than a day full of foolishness is coming your way, indeed this day of confusion may never end for you.

The stories in which Nasruddin instructs his boy, or is instructed as a boy himself, are of great interest as wisdom stories. Often logic is reversed in the transmission of the teaching, which engages the listener or reader intellectually by providing the mind with a paradox to chew on.

When a person engages in time-wasting, worthless activity, we say that it is like “taking a lamp to see if the sun has risen.”

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