Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mullah Nasreddin

Mullah Nasreddin is a satirical Sufi figure, sometimes believed to have lived around 13th century and considered a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool or the butt of a joke.  It is believed that the mystical effect of seven Nasreddin tales, studied in succession, is enough to prepare the individual for enlightenment.

Seeking and Finding
It was a dark autumn night. Nasreddin, down on his elbows and knees, was searching assiduously in the dust, under the street light.
A belated neighbour asked him,
"What are you doing
Nasreddin?"
"I am looking for my key."
The helpful fellow got down on his knees to give a hand. They searched at length, without result.
Tired, the man finally doubted,
"Tell me
Nasreddin, are you certain that you really lost your keys here?"
"Of course not," replied Nasreddin, "I lost them in my cellar."
"Then why on earth do you look for them in the street?"
"For there is more light here."

Smuggling common Sense
It used to happen when Nasreddin was still young and his beard was still black and cheeky, before his pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca.
Season after season, day in day out and even three or four times a day, he would ride his donkey through the toll gate up the valley. Time after time the customs officers would check his load, saddlebags and even his turban.
They never found more than loads of hay. They knew there had to be something but just couldn't find what.
This ploy continued under the nose of the border guards, for several years, to the despair of the captain.
Forty years later, the retired captain leaned over the table at the tea house in Aksehir, closer to the Mullah's now respectable white beard and asked,
"Just tell me Nasreddin, before we die in our old age and your skilled trick gets lost. What were you hiding? I checked you so many times, with my own hand, and your donkeys never carried anything other than hay. What was it that you smuggled?"
The Mullah stared at him with his round innocent eyes.
"Donkeys, what else my good man?"

Educating the Donkey
The wiser Nasreddin grew, the less food there was on his table. The more he taught the less he got.
Something had to be done to make both ends meet. Nasreddin thought that he could at least teach his donkey to eat less. So, he will spare some money.
Day after day, little by little, he would give the animal less and less barley.
The donkey did not seem to mind, on the contrary its temper improved, he became tame and slower, careful to keep on the road.
Seeing such good progress, Nasreddin went on with the diet until the donkey only had a handful of fodder and some water for the day. The villagers were impressed.
One morning Nasreddin looked into the stable and run to see his neighbour, lamenting:
"Misfortune! Everything was going so well and now, just when I taught him not to eat at all, the donkey died.

The Egg
Someone asked Nasreddin to guess what he had in his hand.
“Give me a clue,” said the Mullah.
“I'll give you several,” said the wag. “It is shaped like an egg, egg-sized, looks, tastes and smells like an egg. Inside it is yellow and white. It is liquid within before you cook it, coalesces with heat. It was, moreover, laid by a hen…”
“I know!” interrupted the Mullah. “It is some sort of cake.”

What could become what
Hakim went to a restaurant and ordered boiled eggs.
The crafty proprietor gave him a bill for five silver pieces.
Hakim protested that this was far too much.
'If I had kept those eggs and the hen had hatched them, they would have become chickens,’ said the restaurant man, ‘and their progeny, and theirs, and theirs, would have produced millions of eggs—worth much more than five coin. You have had your eggs cheap.’
The local judge was Nasreddin, and Hakim took his complaint to him. The restaurant man had to go along too, to defend his case.
Nasreddin at that time heard his cases at home, because he said that ‘justice always appears in life.’
When he had heard the two arguments, Nasreddin took some corn and boiled it. Then he let it cool a little, and planted it, spoonful by spoonful, in his garden.
‘Whatever are you doing?’ asked the two.
‘Planting corn, so that it will multiply,’ said Nasreddin.
‘Since when could something which had been boiled multiply like that?’ burst out the restaurant owner.
‘That is the judgement of this court,’ said Nasreddin. ‘Good day to you both.’

Tit for Tat
Nasreddin went into a shop to buy a pair of trousers. Then he changed his mind and chose a cloak instead, at the same price.
Picking up the cloak he left the shop.
‘You have not paid,’ shouted the merchant.
‘I left you the trousers, which were of the same value as the cloak.’
‘But you did not pay for the trousers either.’
‘Of course not,’ said the Mullah —‘why should I pay for something I did not want to buy?’

Mullah Nasreddin and the Misunderstanding 
Mullah Nasreddin immigrated to the USA and became a university professor. One day he arrived at the weekly university talk open to all the public. Typically these talks were given by visiting professors and attended by the university staff and their spouses, as well as few students and general public.
As Nasreddin entered the huge lecture theater the university president took him to the side and said, “You are giving the talk.”
The Mullah replied, “I’m not ready for a lecture. What happened to the guy who was supposed to give the talk?”
The president informed him that the visiting professor had been delayed because of a snow storm and he had to give the talk.
Nasreddin asked, “Why me and what’s the topic?”
The President told him, “You talk on the subject of sex because you are the only one who’s spouse is not here,” and before he could complain he pulled Nasreddin with him to the podium and they announced that professor Nasreddin was going to give a talk on sex and marital bliss.
So Nasreddin started to wing it and soon he was quite enjoying himself and got into a stride. Everyone really enjoyed the talk. Forty five minutes later he finished and received a standing ovation.
That evening when Nasreddin got home his wife asked how the day had gone? The Mullah said that he had given a talk.
“Really,” asked his wife, “What was the talk about?”
The Mullah did not wish to tell his wife that he had been talking about sex and marital bliss and perhaps reveled some information about their sex life and bedroom happening. So he replied, “I talked about sailing.”
His wife was incredulous. She said, “But you don’t know anything about sailing?”
“I know that, but they didn’t,” and that was the end of the conversation.
The next day Nasreddin’s wife bumped into a couple of ladies who had heard the talk. One of then told her, “I didn’t know your husband was such an expert in the subject.” Nasreddin’s wife said, “Oh, no he really isn’t such an expert. In fact he’s only done it twice, and the first time he lost his hat and the second time he fell over the side.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasreddin
http://www.amazon.com/Exploits-Incomparable-Nasrudin-Subtleties-Inimitable/dp/0863040403