Middle of the mat

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story

Middle of the mat

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin

Once when Mullah Nasruddin was traveling with Faik and Hussein, the three men realized they would have to shelter overnight together in the cold. Faik suggested, “We should all buy a mat and a blanket together.” Hussein agreed.

Mullah stated firmly, “I’ll buy the mat and share it with you, but not the blanket. And you must agree that I will not sleep at either end of the mat.” And he paid the other two for just his share of the mat.

Faik and Hussein could not obtain the mat without the Mullah’s contribution but, thinking they would not share the blanket with Nasruddin, they agreed. The three men bought the mat and the other two bought the blanket. 

Nasruddin stretched out in the center of the mat and promptly fell asleep. Now, if the other two wanted to share it, they either had to sleep on either side of him, holding their end of the blanket, or tear the blanket in half so that each man could have his own.

Nasruddin enjoyed the warmth and cover of the blanket, snoring snugly between his two companions, without paying so much as a copper.

Retold from Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin by Ron J. Suresha

Just in time for April Fools Day, 2021: now available in hardcover!

Mullah Nasruddin books both now in Hardcover!

“Uncommon Sense” & “Extraordinary Adventures” — acclaimed Mullah Nasruddin story collections now in Hardcover from Bear Bones Books

Just in time for April Fools Day!

Both of Ron J. Suresha’s acclaimed Mullah Nasruddin story collections are now available in hardcover!

Mullah Nasruddin (Nasreddin Hoca), the eight-centuries-old “wise fool” character originating from the Levant, is the subject of thousands of funny, wise tales, jokes, and anecdotes told across the Middle and Far East, and retold today around the world. 

These pithy stories and folk tales, extensively researched and carefully chosen from beloved authentic sources by an award-winning author, are certain to bring readers a smile, nod, or chuckle of self-recognition on every page.

Hundreds of Nasreddin Hoca’s most endearing, enduring stories, gathered here by an award-winning author in two volumes, will amuse, illuminate, and captivate readers with Nasruddin’s ageless, unique humor and universal humanity. 

#MullahNasruddin #NasreddinHoca


The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin:

Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero

ISBN: 979-8722301024

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Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin:

Naughty, unexpurgated stories of the beloved wise fool from the Middle and Far East

ISBN: 979-8723457614

Revised edition of *Extraordinary Adventures* now back in print!

Announcing the new Revised Edition of the acclaimed authentic story collection!

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin

 Order the book now from Amazon here.

Order the ebook from Amazon Kindle here.


~ Lambda Literary Awards, Finalist 

~ Rainbow Book Awards, Honorable Mention 

~ This acclaimed folklore collection details the escapades and exploits of the beloved 800-year-old Turkish “wise fool” Mullah Nasruddin (Nasreddin Hoca).   

~  Award-winning author Suresha has extensively researched to locate, collect, translate, and retell these 257 authentic, hilarious, outrageous folk tales and jokes, centuries-old “naughty Nasruddin” stories from the Levant and beyond, dozens gathered here in this volume in English for the first time.   

~  Some are relatively simple, straightforward “traditional” anecdotes and jokes depicting the Mullah as he daily interacts with his family, neighbors, donkey, community, and strangers during his myriad journeys.

~ Other stories may serve to disrupt our everyday expectations of normal behavior

~ Many bawdy, ribald tales, previously suppressed for moralistic reasons, explore taboo themes inappropriate for children.

~  Mature readers will be amazed, amused, and likely a bit affronted, by this thoroughly revised edition of the unadulterated account of the truly Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin.

Now back in print from Bear Bones Books!


Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin :
Naughty, unexpurgated tales of the beloved wise fool from the Middle & Far East
Revised Edition ~ collected & retold by Ron J. Suresha 
List Price: $20.00
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm) 
212 pages, b/w
ISBN-13: 9781982055677
ISBN-10: 1982055677
BISAC: Social Science / Folklore & Mythology
Bookstore Categories: Humor / Folklore / Middle Eastern Literature

Mature Readers Only.

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


Ungrateful son of a donkey, part 2

A Mullah Nasruddin / Nasreddin Hoca story


Ungrateful son of a donkey, part 2

Mullah Nasruddin
Mullah Nasruddin


[Continued from last week]

*    *     *

So Nasruddin traveled to see the Sultan in the great city of Woden, there was a very important king. Mullah entered the palace and came to the royal assembly.

He saw the king, bowed, and sat down among the people. Then he looked at the king, and whispered aloud, “Ahh, this is my son!”

Then he turned to other courtiers nearby, and said again, “Ahh, this is my son!” A few persons heard and reacted with shock.

The Mullah then spoke aloud, “Yes indeed, no doubt that is my son.”

Most of the courtiers heard it, but no one thought much of it, or perhaps they thought that the strange mullah was confused. But he continued repeating the same words, “This is my son.”

Shortly one of the courtiers came up to Nasruddin and asked him, “Pardon me, kind Mullah, what did you say?”

Nasruddin stood up, pointed to the Sultan, and announced, “This indeed is my son!”

This scandalized everyone in court, and the enraged Sultan declared, “Lock this madman up!”

Now Mullah was seized and bound with ropes on her arms and legs. As they were trying to subdue him, he said, “The children of donkeys have no gratitude. You, Sultan, are you not the son of my ass? Have I not made you and given you to the teacher so that he could teach you? Now you get a royal title, and I’m tied up. If you’ll let me go, I swear I’ll go right to your mother and cut off her tail!”

The Sultan became even angrier and ordered his men, “Take him out of here and execute him immediately!”

The vizier, a very wise man, intervened, He whispered to the Sultan, “It is better if you let this fool go, because clearly he does not know what he’s saying. No man with any brains can utter such words in your Majesty’s presence.” Thus Mullah was freed from his shackles, taken to the city limits, and released.

Finally he returned to Halil and told him, “Your words are true. The children of donkeys have no gratitude. The son of my ass got the kingship, and while in court he had his soldiers grab and restrain me. Now I am going to his mother and cut off her cursed tail. If you want it, I’ll give it to you for free. But first I must deal with the tail!”

The teacher replied, “Agreed. You must cut her tail off, because her son possesses no manners whatsoever. Then if you want to give me the tail, I’ll use it until I die.”

So Nasruddin went out to the stable, cut off Karakacan’s tail, and delivered it to the teacher.


Excerpted from

Extraordinary Adventures of Mullah Nasruddin
by Ron J. Suresha

now in print from Lethe Press


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


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


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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


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