If this is the meat, where's the cat?
January 14, 2013 5:16 AM   Subscribe

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin

A website from author Ron J. Suresha which features his retellings of the classic Nasruddin stories as well as links to many other sites about the stories.

Use this thread to tell your favorite one!
posted by Daily Alice (28 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I may or may not have a small shrine to Al Khdir/nasruddin in my living room.
posted by The Whelk at 5:27 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I never get tired of Nasruddin stories. Thanks!!!
posted by Cygnet at 5:27 AM on January 14, 2013

Nasruddin was arrested for some crime or other (perhaps being a pernicious know-it-all), and the Governor sentenced him to death. "Wait!" the Mullah cried. "If you let me live for a year, I will teach your horse to fly!" The Governor agreed. Later, one of Nasruddin's friends came to visit him. "Nasruddin, this is crazy. What are you thinking?" The sage thought for a moment and said "a lot can happen in a year. The Governor could die. The Calife could issue a blanket pardon. There will be many chances for escape, and, if worst comes to worst, perhaps the horse will learn to fly."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:34 AM on January 14, 2013 [7 favorites]

There will be many chances for escape, and, if worst comes to worst, perhaps the horse will learn to fly.

This kind of reasoning is also known as "The Procrastrinator's Alibi".
posted by Skeptic at 5:37 AM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nasrudin Preaches
Nasrudin was scheduled to give a religious speech one day to an all-male audience, but had no particular topic in mind.

He thought of one, and began preaching:

“Gentleman,” he said. “We must stop allowing our wives to wear make-up. It is inappropriate, indecent, impure, wicked, and by all means sinful. Any man who let’s his wife wear make-up should be ashamed of himself!“

“But Mullah,” said one of the men, “your wife always wears make-up!“

“Yes, that’s true,” Nasrudin remarked. “And it looks great on her, doesn’t it?”

Across the River
Nasrudin was standing near a river. A man on the other side shouted to him, “Hey! How can I get across the river?”

“You are across!“ Nasrudin shouted back.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:44 AM on January 14, 2013 [15 favorites]

Nasrudin Stories on Everything2.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:47 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I told this story during a talk I gave for a 60 birthday conference for my PhD advisor that took place in Istanbul :

One day, a group of villagers came upon Nasreddin Hodja at the edge of Aks ̧ehir lake. To their surprise, they saw he was kneeling by the water, carefully spooning creamy yoghurt from a wooden bowl into the ripples.
“Hoja, for heaven’s sake!” they shouted in astonishment. “What are you doing with the yoghurt?”
“I’m putting starter into the lake,” he replied calmly. “There’ll be enough yoghurt for everybody.”
“You’re crazy!” the villagers told him. “This lake will never turn into yoghurt!”
“But if it did!”

Amusingly, I'd horribly rushed the result for the conference, so one important mistake remained, although only daddy caught it. Moral : Yoghurt starter doesn't work well in lakes.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:50 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yoghurt starter doesn't work well in lakes.

Unless they are lakes of milk, heated to the correct temperature!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:40 AM on January 14, 2013

Mullah Nasreddin was asked to come to a nearby town to preach, and on the day he arrived found a platform erected for him to stand on. He ascended the platform, and addressed the gathered crowd: "Do any of you know what I am about to say? Raise your hands if you do."

None of them knew, and so Nasreddin cried out, "What is this? How am I to preach to people who do not understand what I am talking about?" and retired to the room he was staying in.

The people were embarrassed, and they went to Nasreddin, saying "Give us another chance!" He agreed, and the next day ascended the pulpit once more, saying "Do any of you know what I am about to say?"

"Yes!" the crowd cried, raising their hands. Nasreddin smiled. "Excellent! Then there is no reason for me to go to the effort of preaching!" He returned to his room.

The people were baffled, and they went to Nasreddin, saying "Please, we invited you here to preach, will you not preach?", and Nasreddin agreed to give it one more try. Ascending once more, he asked, "Do any of you know what I am about to say?"

"Yes!" cried half the crowd, and "No!" cried the other half.

"Very well, then," said Nasreddin, "those of you that understand, explain it to the other half!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:55 AM on January 14, 2013 [12 favorites]

Nasrudin tales on Wikibooks:

A neighbor comes to Nasreddin Hoja.
"Would you lend me your donkey today, Hoja?" the neighbor asks, "I have goods to transport to the next town."
The Hoja answers: "I'm sorry, but I've already lent her to somebody else."
Suddenly the donkey is heard braying loudly behind a wall.
"You lied to me, Hoja!" the neighbor exclaims, "There is the donkey!"
"What do you mean?" the Hoja replies indignantly, "Whom would you rather believe, a donkey or your Hoja?"
posted by griphus at 7:09 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nasrudin went into a bank with a cheque to cash.
"Can you identify yourself?" asked the clerk.
Nasrudin took out a mirror and peered into it.
"Yes, that's me alright," he said.
posted by Lorin at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

"I wonder what I can do?" Nasrudin asked his friend
Wali. "People think I'm rude when I push my
barrow behind them shouting 'Mind your backs!'"
"No real difficulty about that," said Wali. "The English
are cultured and they don't like roughness, that's all."
The two met again a few weeks later. Wali said:
"How are you getting on with your barrow?"
"Your advice was no good. I tried a bit of culture, but
people still think I'm uncultivated."
"What form did your cultivated behaviour take?"
"Instead of shouting 'Mind your backs!', I yelled, at
the top of my voice so they'd be sure to hear:
"SHAKESPEARE!" They got quite annoyed.
posted by Lorin at 8:08 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love this thread. :D
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Some gems from /usr/bin/fortune:

  • Nasrudin walked into a teahouse and declaimed, "The moon is more useful than the sun."
    "Why?", he was asked.
    "Because at night we need the light more."

  • Nasrudin was carrying home a piece of liver and the recipe for liver pie. Suddenly a bird of prey swooped down and snatched the piece of meat from his hand. As the bird flew off, Nasrudin called after it, "Foolish bird! You have the liver, but what can you do with it without the recipe?"

  • posted by ceribus peribus at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

    Thank you.
    posted by benito.strauss at 9:32 AM on January 14, 2013

    "I'm surprised at the lack of modern adaptations or new Mullah tales on the web. The software development industry alone seems like it would be a goldmine for modern Mullah woes."

    Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine
    A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
    Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
    Knight turned the machine off and on.
    The machine worked.

    Master Foo and the MCSE

    Once, a famous Windows system administrator came to Master Foo and asked him for instruction: “I have heard that you are a powerful Unix wizard. Let us trade secrets, that we may both gain thereby.”

    Master Foo said: “It is good that you seek wisdom. But in the Way of Unix, there are no secrets.”

    The administrator looked puzzled at this. “But it is said that you are a great Unix guru who knows all the innermost mysteries. As do I in Windows; I am an MCSE, and I have many other certifications of knowledge not common in the world. I know even the most obscure registry entries by heart. I can tell you everything about the Windows API, yes, even secrets those of Redmond have half-forgotten. What is the arcane lore that gives you your power?”

    Master Foo said: “I have none. Nothing is hidden, nothing is revealed.”

    Growing angry, the administrator said “Very well, if you hold no secrets, then tell me: what do I have to know to become as powerful in the Unix way as you?”

    Master Foo said: “A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

    Upon hearing this, the administrator was enlightened.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:32 AM on January 14, 2013 [8 favorites]

    If my name wasn't pharaohmagnetic, I always wished it could be Nasreddin The Face.

    Anyway, here's my favourite (source):

    One windy day, Nasreddin found himself in a vegetable garden and began putting ripe vegetables in his sack. The owner of the garden saw him and shouted, "What are you doing in my garden?"

    "The wind blew me here," said Nasreddin.

    "That sounds incredible to me," the man replied, "but let's assume that the wind did blow you here. Now then, how can you explain how those vegetables were pulled out from my garden?"

    "Oh, that's simple," Nasreddin responded. "I had to grab them to stop myself from being thrown any further by the wind."

    "Well," the man continued, "then tell me this — how did the vegetables get in your sack?"

    "You know what," Nasreddin said, "I was just standing here and wondering that same thing myself!"
    posted by pharaohmagnetic at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

    This is the first I have heard of Nasruddin, and I love it. Thank you for this!
    posted by wenestvedt at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2013

    Thank you so much for this post! A book of Nasruddin stories was one of my prized childhood books, and this brings back very fond memories! Thanks everyone for sharing these stories, I don't have that book anymore and miss it.
    posted by circle_b at 10:19 AM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

    I'd heard the story of the man who taught a horse to sing from Niven's Mote in God's Eye. I had no idea Nasreddin was real!
    posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:10 AM on January 14, 2013

    aka "Fatwa Albert"
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:13 AM on January 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

    Nasreddin wanted to have meat for dinner, so he went to the market and bought three pounds of meat, then brought it home to his wife and told her to cook it for dinner. Nasreddin's wife cooked the meat, and while it was cooking it smelled so good that she couldn't resist eating it all herself. When Nasreddin came home in the evening, he was served a dinner of rice and vegetables but no meat. When he asked his wife what had happened, she said, "I'm so sorry, but the cat got it and ate it before I could stop him." Nasreddin grabbed the cat, put it on a scale, and discovered that the cat weighed exactly three pounds. He said to his wife, "If this is the cat, where's the meat? If this is the meat, where's the cat?"
    posted by Daily Alice at 11:43 AM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

    My uncle brought back a talking Nasruddin stuffed doll from Turkey, but I forget what it said.
    posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:05 PM on January 14, 2013

    One fine day Nasruddin went to market and purchased a large bag of very hot peppers. He sat down by the roadside and began to eat the peppers, one after another. His face became red, tears were streaming down his cheeks but he continued eating the peppers.

    A passerby, seeing the agony that the Mullah was enduring, asked him why he continued eating the peppers when they were causing such discomfort.

    The Mullah answered, "I'm looking for a sweet one."
    posted by stirfry at 1:39 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

    The cat and meat story really threw me because of a politically insensitive comment made by a religious leader in 2006.

    Sheik Hilali said: "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?

    He was referring to women who do not dress modestly and implying they were responsible for the attacks on them.

    Now if only he had weighed them (or some cats), the whole thing would have made more sense.
    posted by b33j at 1:45 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

    Ah, yes. I have a brass figurine of the Hoja on my kitchen shelf reminding me to rethink my reality.
    posted by BlueHorse at 8:14 PM on January 14, 2013

    While on a trip to another village, Nasrudin lost his favorite copy of the Qur'an.
    Several weeks later, a goat walked up to Nasrudin, carrying the Qur'an in its mouth.

    Nasrudin couldn't believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the goat's mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, "It's a miracle!"

    "Not really," said the goat. "Your name is written inside the cover."
    posted by estuardo at 8:57 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

    stirfry, I am now thinking of participating in AskMe relationship questions only by posting Nasreddin stories.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:19 PM on January 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

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