Lord, leave me alone

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

Lord, leave me alone

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Nasruddin’s mother, Leyla, thought her young son was basically a lost cause. She didn’t know what to do with him, so as a last resort she hired him as an errand boy to an innkeeper. The innkeeper instructed him, “Okay kid, go to the shore and wash out this old wineskin. But do it properly; otherwise, you will be punished!” So Nasruddin took the wineskin to the sea.

And there he washed the wineskin, for all his worth, and continued cleaning it out through the long morning. By the time the sun shone directly above, he wondered, How do I know if it is washed well enough? Who is nearby whose opinion I can ask about this?

There wasn’t a single person on the beach, but offshore there was anchored a fishing ship, with several of its crew on deck. Nasruddin waved the wineskin as a distress signal, and shouted, “Ahoy! Can you help me? Lord, can you bring me there?”

The ship was preparing to pull up anchor and head out to sea when the captain of the ship noticed the boy yelling to him.

“There, on the bank, is a child calling in distress,” the captain said. “We must rescue him! You, sailor, row with a sloop to the shore and fetch the boy.”

Finally, when Nasruddin was brought before him, the Captain asked, “What is the matter, boy?”

“Please tell me, kind sir,” Nasruddin enquired, “in your opinion, is this wineskin well washed?”

Although the captain was just one man, he had the strength of ten men. He put the boy over his knee and spanked him until he was nearly senseless. Weeping in pain, Nasruddin cried out, “What was I supposed to say?”

“You should have instead said: ‘Lord, let them go!’ Now we must regain the time back that we have lost because of you.”

They took Nasruddin back and dumped him in the shallow water, whereupon he threw the wineskin over his shoulder and left the shore. As he made his way across the fields, he chanted his new mantra: “Lord, let them go! Lord, let them run!”

He came upon a hungry hunter who was about to shoot at two rabbits. Nasruddin shouted, “Lord, let them run! Lord, let them go!” The rabbits naturally jumped up and scampered away.

The hunter shouted, “Oh, you bastard! I just missed getting them! You screwed up my hunt!” And he smacked him on the head.

Nasruddin asked, “What should I have said?”

“Obviously, what you should be praying is: ‘Lord, let them be killed!’ or “Lord, let them both die!’ ”

With the wineskin over his shoulder, Nasruddin headed onward, repeating, “Lord, let them be killed. Lord, let them both die.”

And whom did the boy next meet on the road? Two big bearish men in the midst of a heated dispute that had come to blows. Nasruddin fearfully spoke, “Lord, let them kill themselves.”

When the two adversaries heard this, they stopped fighting each other and turned upon him, saying, “You puny punk! Want to stir up some trouble for yourself?” And in cordial harmony they started smacking him around.

When Nasruddin could speak, he cried out, “Please stop — that is not what I meant! But what should I have said?”

“What should you say? You should say: ‘Lord, let them separate!’ ”

“Well, Lord, let them separate! Lord, let them part!” muttered Nasruddin to himself, as he left the men.

Before long Nasruddin passed by a church where a bride and groom who had just been married emerged. As soon as the bride heard the boy intoning the words, “Lord, let them separate!” she made her new husband defend their sacred marriage. The man took off his belt and beat Nasruddin with it as he screamed, “You miserable devil! You want me to be separated from my wife‽”

Nasruddin, who could no longer defend himself, fell to the ground like a dead man. When the bride had raised him again and he opened his eyes, she asked, “Why in the world would you have the lack of sense to say something like that to a new bride and groom?”

Nasruddin replied, “I have no idea why I say anything at all. So tell me, please: what words should I have said?”

“You ought to have said: ‘Lord, let them laugh forever’!”

Nasruddin doll from the Tokcapi Palace Museum inspects P.N. Boratov’s collection of his stories.

Nasruddin retrieved his wineskin and went off again, saying the phrase over and again to himself, hoping that he wouldn’t fail again. Then he passed by a house where they were holding a wake for a dead man, with relatives mourning, standing around holding candles. When the dead man’s relatives heard Nasruddin say, “‘Lord, let them laugh forever,” they attacked him. And he received in full what yet he lacked in abuse.

After they finished with him, Nasruddin realized that it was better to keep his mouth shut — though he could barely move his split, bloody lips to speak anyway — and return to the inn.

When the innkeeper saw the boy come in the evening, having sent him early in the morning to wash the wineskin, he demanded, “Tell me, you worthless shithead, where were you all this time?”

But Nasruddin could not utter a single word in his defense. So the innkeeper punished the boy with one more spanking and then sent him home.

 

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

a Lambda Literary Award Finalist

now in print from Lethe Press

~

Big fish, little fish

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

Big fish, little fish

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day, young Nasruddin’s mother, Leyla, was cooking and speaking to her husband, Yousef, as the child watched them unseen through a hidden crack in the door.

Leyla said, “Listen, my husband, I have prepared both a large fish and a small fish. We will hide the big fish under the wooden bench and serve the little one on the table to eat.”

Yousef understood. “So, when the boy then has eaten and gone to bed, we will take out the big fish and eat it all ourselves.”

A few minutes later, Yousef called Nasruddin in the other room, “Come on, boy, let’s eat dinner. We have nice small fish to share.”

He entered the room and sat down with his parents. When Leyla put the little fish on the table, Nasruddin grabbed it and held it to his ear.

Yousef shouted, “Hey, put that down, you little stinker! Why are you doing that?”

Nasruddin said, “Sorry father, but I have to ask the little fish for some very important information.”

“And what is this important matter about which you must ask the fish?”

“I want to ask him the name of the big fish.”

“What in the world are you talking about, boy?”

“I mean, the big fish in the Bible that swallowed Jonah,” answered the boy innocently.

Since it was a biblical question, they indulged his silliness. Yousef said, “Ask your query quickly!”

Nasruddin whispered a short question to the little fish, then held it to his ear, listening intently. After a moment, the boy replaced the little fish on the table platter and stared at it, arms crossed, with a petulant frown.

“Since you’ve already shared your question with us,” Leyla said, “why don’t you tell us the answer the fish gave you?”

The boy said, “Well, the fish replied that he himself did not know. But under the wooden bench, he informed me, there is a fish that is bigger, older, and wiser than him, and he said that I should ask his friend that question!”

 

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

A threat of justice

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

A threat of justice

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Once when Nasruddin was serving as a judge, two men presented their case to him.
The first one said, “Your honor, I loaned this man fifty silver coins a year ago and now he won’t pay me back.”
Nasruddin asked the second man, “Is this correct?”
“No, your honor,” the fellow answered blankly.
The Mullah turned to the plaintiff and said, “There is no debt.”
“Excuse me, your Honor, but by answering just once like this, would you relieve this man of his debt to me‽”
“All right, then, smartypants,” snapped the Mullah, “what do you recommend that I should do?”
“How should I know‽ I’m no legal expert. Do something to threaten or frighten him to get him to do the right thing. Tell him that I’m not kidding and that this is not a joke. I want the fifty silver pieces he owes me!”
Nasruddin stood up from the bench and put two fingers of both hands in his mouth to stretch out his lips, then used two more fingers to pull back his eyelids and stuck out his tongue. Walking ominously toward the second man with his face scrunched up in this grotesque contortion, he screamed, “Hey, you dope! I sure hope you’re scared. Now pay back the money you borrowed from this man!”

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

Hands are full

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

Hands are full

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Once, Nasruddin went on a long trip, and Fatima insisted that he carry a weapon, so he left heavily armed. In one hand he held a huge sword, and in the other he clenched a pistol.
Unfortunately, on the road the Mullah encountered a thief who stopped and robbed him. Not even the Mullah’s pants were left him.
When he returned home and told Fatima what had happened to him, she exclaimed, “Dolt! You were armed to the teeth! Why in God’s name did you not do anything to defend yourself‽”
In his own defense, he exclaimed, “How could I‽ I had my hands full. If I had had my hands free, I would have strangled him! But eventually I gave him as much a fright as he gave me.”
“How did you manage to do that?” asked Fatima.
“Well, after he’d gone about half a mile, I yelled the nastiest, fiercest insults at him. There wasn’t a curse word known to man I didn’t threaten him with. I’m sure his ears are still burning.”

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

Small consolation

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

Small consolation

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

One day as Nasruddin was traveling, he met on the road an elderly Turkman who halted him and asked, “Tell me, sir, are you a mullah?”

Nasruddin answered, “Yes, as it so happens, I am.”

The fellow clasped his hands and implored him, “Our small tribe has no imam. Please come with me to our village, and you can serve our tribe as our spiritual leader.”

Nasruddin agreed, and so the men continued on their journey. After they had walked for hours, they came to a crossroads, where they happened to meet another fellow, a rather brawny Turkman with an ink-black beard, riding a donkey. He asked the first Turkman, “Who is this man with you?”

Holding Nasruddin’s hand, the elder smiled and answered, “He is our beloved new imam. I’m taking him right now to our tribe, which has been without a religious leader for more than a year.”

The second Turkman jumped off his donkey and came up to the men. “You must surrender this mullah to us. My tribe hasn’t had an imam in nine years.” And he grabbed the mullah’s other wrist.

“Screw you, loser,” said the first man, pulling hard on Nasruddin’s arm. “We recruited him hours ago.”

“Let go of him, you filthy swine,” the second one yelled, yanking the Mullah’s arm in the other direction, “my tribe needs him more. Give him to us!”

As the men argued, they pulled the Mullah back and forth like a rope in a tug of war, wrenching his arms.

Finally, the second man pulled out a huge knife and yelled, “Enough! Release him, or I’ll slit his throat. That way, he’ll be of no benefit to either your tribe or ours.”

The Mullah, caught between a Turk and a hard place, trembled with fear.

The first man, not backing down in the least, said to the Mullah, “Don’t worry, effendi — I hereby swear, if this bastard kills you, I’ll murder his donkey to avenge your death!”

 

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

Proxy Protector

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

 

Proxy Protector

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Mullah Nasruddin was traveling one day with his old friend Hussein. When night fell, they stopped at a crossroads.
Hoping to spend the night alone with his donkey, Nasruddin told Hussein, “It’s been delightful but tonight I am planning to spend the night here under the starry sky. You need not stay with me if you want to travel on. Your town is not too far from here.”
“What are you talking about, Nasruddin‽ It’s still at least a half-day’s walk. I insist on keeping you company, and I assure you that I’d be only too happy to sleep here as well, rather than go home by myself in the dark.”
“Are you sure you’re sure? Have you appointed someone to protect your wife’s virtue in your absence?” Nasruddin asked.
“Yes, Mullah,” said Hussein, “I asked my good friend and neighbor Hamza to guard my wife’s virtue while I’m away.”
“But whom, may I ask,” inquired Nasruddin, “have you appointed to look after the virtue of your good friend and neighbor Hamza?”

Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

from Lethe Press

A Lambda Literary Award Finalist

~

The power of chalk

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

In memory of our fallen heroes: those who threw themselves under the chalklines because someone else was making up the rules of play in the insane asylum.

The power of chalk

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Once, Mullah Nasruddin was chalking a political slogan on the wall of a building in Konya when the corrupt local constable caught him and dragged him into jail. His queer appearance and illogical behavior led to his being certified insane, and so he was transferred to the regional mental asylum.
The asylum, of course, was filled with every sort of depraved and perverted lunatic. As soon as the Mullah entered the courtyard, the inmates crowded around him as if he were carrion and they were buzzards circling, ready to land. He could smell their soiled clothes and rancid breath as they came closer.
Finally, Nasruddin held up his hands to repel the sociopaths and shouted, “Stop, you fiends!” He pulled from his pocket his offensive piece of chalk. “Stand back, or else!” he hissed, brandishing the chalk as if it were a knife. The crazies halted in their spots.
Moving quickly, Nasruddin drew a line across the courtyard dividing the inmates evenly into two groups. Returning to the center he announced, “Pay attention, people! Here are the new rules. Now, does everyone clearly see the chalkline on the ground‽”
The men nodded and grunted their mutual assent.
“Good. So, the first and only rule of the game is this: on my call, all of you must jump under that line. The first man who makes it under, wins this chalk, and gets to make up the next game.” He walked to the periphery of the two teams, saying, “I will say when to begin. Ready, set, go.”
The casualties were severe as both teams went berserk and threw themselves repeatedly at the line and at each other.
Nasruddin was released. Nobody was quite sure whether it was because they could not allow further injuries of the inmates, or because his resourcefulness proved his sanity.

Excerpted from

XNS frcoverLamfinalsealExtraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press

~

Preface to Extraordinary Adventures, part 2

Preface, part 2

An excerpt from Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin

XNS frcoverLamfinalsealby Ron J. Suresha

Concluded from previous week

While researching the topic of taboo humor I discovered, in The Horn Book by folklore and humor scholar Gershon Legman, his stark condemnation of folk story and joke collections with all the bawdy or “objectionable” material expunged, which he calls “fakelore.” Despite my earnest efforts to locate such risqué stories with limited success, I naturally cringed at the implication that I had unwittingly committed some sort of literary and folkloric misdeed by excluding the naughty and nasty tales of my old friend, Mullah Nasruddin.
Given the immense volume of this character’s folklore, I was perplexed by the conspicuous absence of adult-themed stories among the hundreds I had indexed. The dearth of racy, earthy, profane, or ethnic material in the existing published folklore available to me seemed due in part to its exclusion from popular children’s presentations of the often-moralizing Mullah. My theory was that these “naughty Nasreddin” narratives were expurgated from popular representations of Nasreddin in an effort to “reform” the character, according to the moral codes imposed by both Islamist and Turkish nationalistic influences.
German Nasreddin scholar Ulrich Marzolph’s 1998 analysis, “What Is Folklore Good For?” asserts that “Early Turkish manuscripts comprised a large amount of sexual, scatological, and otherwise disputable material” about the “vigorous and vulgar” Mullah (1998, p. 7). With that concept in mind, I delved even deeper into scholarly texts in search of this taboo material.
Though the character’s Ottoman-Turkish name is Nasreddin Hoca, cognates such as Mullah or Sheikh Nasruddin, Djuha, Joha, Hodja, Abu Nuwas, and so on populate the folklore of many Asian, African, European, and other lands worldwide and share their narratives, so there are diverse cultural sources contributing to this collection. I refer to the character throughout the text as Mullah Nasruddin because that is how I first came to know him.
The most readily accessible bawdy Nasreddin stories employ scatological, ethnic, racial, and sexist humor. Tales involving Nasreddin’s wife and marital affairs are most prevalent, and many feature her as the sexual aggressor. The “young Nasruddin” tales often portray his pubescent sexual explorations and cunning sexual exploitation of women. Sexual stories involving Nasreddin’s donkey make up a third recurring theme. Oddly, storylines with overtly homosexual themes were most difficult to unearth: even putting out a call for such jokes among today’s Istanbul’s gay and bisexual men’s “bear” community yielded no results.
Other critical essays affirmed that these stories existed, although apparently not in contemporary English texts. Turkish scholar Seyfi Karabas observed that “erotic elements in Nasreddin Hoca narratives fulfill several important functions. To begin with, they point to various early stages in the development of Nasreddin Hoca as a trickster figure. Secondly, they serve to create humor in several ways” (p. 303). Aside from the issue of the trickster archetype, it is clear that examples of racy tales existed in the Nasreddin folklore corpus: the question was where.
A breakthrough in my research occurred with a fortunate connection early in 2014 with Hakkı Gűrkaş, a Nasreddin Hoca and Turkish Studies scholar teaching at Kennesaw College in Georgia, U.S.A. In his brilliant, wide-ranging dissertation, he refutes the characterization of Nasreddin as a trickster figure, namely due to the lack of any sort of shape-shifting powers ascribed to him. That point aside, Karabas sagely concludes that “awareness of the importance of sexuality in the life of human beings is one of the more persistent themes that help unify the whole corpus of the Nasreddin Hoca narratives. Hence, Nasreddin Hoca should not be laundered” (p. 305).
But changing social forces of eight hundred years has taken Nasreddin Hoca’s dirty laundry to the river and thrown it religiously against the rocks. This character purification began with linguistic and cultural changes brought in the transition from the Islamic Ottoman era to modern secular Turkish nationalism, and continued through the advent of printing and selective exclusion of objectionable material from published story collections. Over the centuries, Nasreddin “transformed into a charming and subtle philosopher,” according to Marzolph, “whose major preoccupation would be to confront his surroundings with apparently strange questions or unconventional solutions to common problems” (p. 7).
Gűrkaş explains the significance of the censored material: “These stories bring back into discourse what the official culture has marginalized and repressed. These stories are anti-hegemonic. The grotesque imagery deployed in these stories mocks and ridicules the absolutist morality and degrades the official culture that relies on it” (p. 178).
In the spirit of intellectual freedom and restoration of the adulterated folklore, presented here are more than 265 authentic Nasreddin Hoca stories, many of which appear here in an English trade publication for the first time. From the first volume, I rewrote over a dozen tales, according to verified alternate sources: for instance, the long tale “Four brays of the donkey” here is “Four farts”; this version of “God’s arrears to Nasruddin” has a Jewish protagonist; the sexual overtones in “The hens in the hammam” here are stated more fully. Some stories are not particularly naughty, but come from reliable sources newly available and are worth including here among the first and final sections of the Mullah’s adventures.
All narratives herein are based on published texts listed in the Sources; none of the tales presented in this or the first collection are my original or creative invention. Whenever multiple tellings of a joke or anecdote were available, they were incorporated into this work. However, for some stories I had to rely on a translation of one or two versions and my ability to interpret its cultural context and narrative arc. I have tried to convey the bawdy wit and folk wisdom of the Mullah as may have been presented and received, centuries ago, halfway around the world, by the original storytellers and listeners.
As in the previous collection, here I employ the literary device of naming the Mullah’s family, friends, neighbors, and donkey as a way to situate him in his community. Readers may take issue with the intensity and frequency of the colloquial profanity and slang invective in some dialogue; the foul language, however, is comparable to that as translated from authentic sources, albeit adapted to contemporary usage.
As exhaustive as this work may have been, this sequel and its predecessor do not represent the entire Nasreddin corpus. There are dozens of stories untranslatable from Turkish, German, Arabic, and other languages that remain inaccessible in English. Additionally, a handful of stories effectively translated, but requiring overlong cultural, religious, or wordplay explanations, must be left for another’s work.
This collection leads with “The learned and the ignorant,” a tale that proclaims its moral imperative, “Those who know should teach those who don’t know,” which represents a common creed of folklore and literature. In researching, collecting, translating, and publishing these stories, I have acquired not only the authority to disseminate the work but also a keen sense of duty. For far too long the social forces that repress sexual and other “undesirable” story elements have hidden this cache of some of the most amusing, witty, and outrageous folklore in the world.
I close this introduction with the words of the great American poet, Walt Whitman: “The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.” Doubtless the Mullah would agree.

doublestar-crescent smile

Works cited
Gűrkaş, Hakkı. Nasreddin Hodja and the Akşehir Festival: Invention of a Festive Tradition and Transfigurations of a Trickster, from Bukhara to Brussels. Ph.D dissertation. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University, 2008.
Karabas, Seyfi. “The Use of Eroticism in Nasreddin Hoca Anecdotes.” Western Folklore 49: 3 (July 1990), pp. 299–305. Long Beach, Calif.: Western States Folklore Society.
Legman, Gershon. The Horn Book: Studies in Erotic Folklore and Bibliography. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1964.
Marzolph, Ulrich. What Is Folklore Good For? On dealing with undesirable cultural expression. Journal of Folklore Research, 35: 1 (Jan.–Apr. 1998), pp. 5–16.
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. New York: New American Library, 1980.

Preface to Extraordinary Adventures, excerpt 1

Preface, part 1

An excerpt from Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin

XNS frcoverLamfinalsealby Ron J. Suresha

Coming from an ethnically diverse family with strong oral and literary folklore traditions, I became well acquainted early on with the stories of the famous Turkish folk character, Mullah Nasruddin; a simple man of renowned humor and inscrutable wisdom, known for more than eight centuries in his native land as Nasreddin Hoca.
Sometimes my mother would tell a joke or story about the “wise fool” Mulla Nasaruddin (as he is called in Jewish folklore), usually to make a point about my contrary behavior. She would often ask, for instance, “Why do you always answer a question with another question?” to which I could be reliably predicted to retort, “Oh really, do I‽”
In my twenties, while living in several ashram (residential yoga center) communities in the U.S.A. and India, my teachers would often tell, with great relish and humor, Sheikh Nasruddin “wisdom stories” as part of their regular lessons and lectures on spiritual life.
For more than two decades, Sufi writer Idries Shah’s collections of Mullah Nasruddin stories were my only sources in English. Then, in 1999, while on my first trip to Istanbul, I acquired five Turkish-published volumes of Mullah stories in English, which were illustrated with cartoon tableaux depicting the adulterated punch-line moments from the most popular stories. Shortly after, I began to discover additional Nasreddin Hoca folklore sources online.
While compiling the first book, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, I volunteered to help reorganize the storybook collection of the Connecticut Storytelling Center in New London, where I encountered several antiquarian Nasreddin volumes in various languages. Since then I have continued to gather and collate printed books and manuscripts in English, Hebrew, Spanish, German, French, Turkish, and Hindi, as well as material published online, all of which are included in the Sources following the text of this work.
The revised 2013 edition of Uncommon Sense is an anthology of more than 365 authentic individual stories, anecdotes, jokes, jests, and quips arranged biographically into seven parts with seven sections of seven stories each. While certainly many pieces could be considered bawdy, abusive, or ethnic, the material was generally suitable for a collegiate adult readership, including hundreds of stories entirely appropriate for children. Sgott Mackensie’s watercolor cover illustration of the bewhiskered, turbaned Mullah, happily riding his beloved donkey backward in a rural setting, reflected the book’s broad appeal and presented it as a “PG-13” collection appropriate for teenagers with parental guidance. The positive critical reviews to the first book made it absolutely clear, however, that a second volume featuring the X-rated material would be a welcome addition to world literature.
While researching the topic of taboo humor I discovered, in The Horn Book by folklore and humor scholar Gershon Legman, his stark condemnation of folk story and joke collections with all the bawdy or “objectionable” material expunged, which he calls “fakelore.” Despite my earnest efforts to locate such risqué stories with limited success, I naturally cringed at the implication that I had unwittingly committed some sort of literary and folkloric misdeed by excluding the naughty and nasty tales of my old friend, Mullah Nasruddin.
Given the immense volume of this character’s folklore, I was perplexed by the conspicuous absence of adult-themed stories among the hundreds I had indexed. The dearth of racy, earthy, profane, or ethnic material in the existing published folklore available to me seemed due in part to its exclusion from popular children’s presentations of the often-moralizing Mullah. My theory was that these “naughty Nasreddin” narratives were expurgated from popular representations of Nasreddin in an effort to “reform” the character, according to the moral codes imposed by both Islamist and Turkish nationalistic influences.
German Nasreddin scholar Ulrich Marzolph’s 1998 analysis, “What Is Folklore Good For?” asserts that “Early Turkish manuscripts comprised a large amount of sexual, scatological, and otherwise disputable material” about the “vigorous and vulgar” Mullah (1998, p. 7). With that concept in mind, I delved even deeper into scholarly texts in search of this taboo material.
Though the character’s Ottoman-Turkish name is Nasreddin Hoca, cognates such as Mullah or Sheikh Nasruddin, Djuha, Joha, Hodja, Abu Nuwas, and so on populate the folklore of many Asian, African, European, and other lands worldwide and share their narratives, so there are diverse cultural sources contributing to this collection. I refer to the character throughout the text as Mullah Nasruddin because that is how I first came to know him.
The most readily accessible bawdy Nasreddin stories employ scatological, ethnic, racial, and sexist humor. Tales involving Nasreddin’s wife and marital affairs are most prevalent, and many feature her as the sexual aggressor. The “young Nasruddin” tales often portray his pubescent sexual explorations and cunning sexual exploitation of women. Sexual stories involving Nasreddin’s donkey make up a third recurring theme. Oddly, storylines with overtly homosexual themes were most difficult to unearth: even putting out a call for such jokes among today’s Istanbul’s gay and bisexual men’s “bear” community yielded no results.

 

Concluded next week

Works cited
Gűrkaş, Hakkı. Nasreddin Hodja and the Akşehir Festival: Invention of a Festive Tradition and Transfigurations of a Trickster, from Bukhara to Brussels. Ph.D dissertation. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University, 2008.
Karabas, Seyfi. “The Use of Eroticism in Nasreddin Hoca Anecdotes.” Western Folklore 49: 3 (July 1990), pp. 299–305. Long Beach, Calif.: Western States Folklore Society.
Legman, Gershon. The Horn Book: Studies in Erotic Folklore and Bibliography. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1964.
Marzolph, Ulrich. What Is Folklore Good For? On dealing with undesirable cultural expression. Journal of Folklore Research, 35: 1 (Jan.–Apr. 1998), pp. 5–16.
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. New York: New American Library, 1980.

Forewarning, from Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin

by rjs
Comments: Comments Off
Published on: April 30, 2015

Forewarning

doublestar-crescent smileFrom Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah NasruddinXNS frcoverLamfinalseal

As in my first collection of Nasreddin Hoca folklore, The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin, every single story included in its sequel, Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin, is completely authentic, taken from published works listed in the Sources.
That said, the adult reader is hereby warned that taboo topics of tales within this collection include: bestiality, animal cruelty, scatology, ethnic prejudice, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, marital infidelity, bigamy, homosexuality / bisexuality, sodomy, pederasty, pedophilia, incest, blasphemy, apostasy, treason, violence, torture, homicide, and war.
   Readers are cautioned of the inappropriateness of this book for children.
Rule of thumb for parents and librarians: if the child can understand the meaning of the word unexpurgated, as in the subtitle to this book — Naughty, unexpurgated stories of the beloved wise fool from the Middle and Far East — the child is certainly mature enough to read on. Otherwise, strict parental supervision is strongly advised.

doublestar-crescent smile

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