Not in Stock

A man came into Nasrudin’s grocery store and asked the price of walnuts.

‘Two gold pieces per pound.’

‘That is a scandalous price!’ barked the customer. ‘Do you not have a shred of conscience?’

‘I am sorry,’ replied the Mulla, ‘but I don’t have such commodities in stock.’

The World of Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Payment in Kind

A travelling scholar knocked at Nasrudin’s door and asked for a glass of water. Respecting the sacred Eastern obligation of providing water, Nasrudin invited the man in. As soon as he crossed the threshold, the intellectual began a monologue of facts that lasted several hours. During this time, Nasrudin politely served water, tea, supper and confectionery. Finally, the guest seemed ready to leave.

‘If you give me something for my words of wisdom, I’ll be on my way.’

‘Unfortunately I have nothing left to offer. Come back tomorrow and I will have something for you then,’ said the Mulla, taken aback.

Next evening, the scholar returned. Nasrudin ushered him straight into the house and sat him down. The Mulla then began to tell stories of his own travels. After many hours had passed, the exhausted and hungry guest said:

‘What about my payment? You said that if I returned today you would give me something for yesterday’s conversation.’

‘I have paid you,’ replied Nasrudin. ‘I have paid you in kind.’

The World of Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press




Plans for Expansion

‘Friends,’ hollered Nasrudin to his neighbours one day,
‘who will give me a fair price for my land?’

‘But if you sell your land, how will you live, Mulla?’ they asked.

‘Simple economics,’ replied Nasrudin. ‘I will use the money to invest in another small patch which I will then add to what I once had. In this way, I’ll be expanding my farm!’

The World of Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Strict Sentences

The town judge, who had held the position for many years, was interviewing applicants for his replacement.

‘How can I be sure you have a sufficient knowledge of the law to pass sentence?’ he asked Nasrudin.

‘Simple, Your Honour. Just take your place in the dock and I will try you for your past deeds. You will soon see that I have what it takes to sentence a man to imprisonment for the rest of his days!’

The World of Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Sweet Revenge

Nasrudin sent his wife to borrow some sugar from their neighbours. When they sat down to eat the cake she had made, it tasted terrible. Meaning to play a joke on them, the neighbour had provided salt rather than sugar.

Vowing to get even, Nasrudin went into the chicken coop and gathered some droppings. These he ground and placed in a small snuff box. He then put a similar snuff box in his other pocket and left the house. He waited until he saw his neighbour and then took a pinch of real snuff from one box.

‘Could I have a little of that?’ asked the neighbour.

‘You, my friend, must have the very best!’ declared the Mulla, handing him the other box. The neighbour took a large pinch and sniffed.

‘What is this revolting stuff?!’ he choked.

‘I believe my wife bought it where you buy your sugar,’ replied the Mulla.

The World of Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

The Value of the Past

Nasrudin was sent by the King to investigate the lore of various kinds of Eastern mystical teachers. They all recounted to him tales of the miracles and the sayings of the founders and great teachers, all long dead, of their schools.
    When he returned home, he submitted his report, which contained the single word ‘Carrots’.
    He was called upon to explain himself. Nasrudin told the King: ‘The best part is buried; few know – except the farmer – by the green that there is orange underground; if you don’t work for it, it will deteriorate; there are a great many donkeys associated with it.’

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press


Quality and quantity

Nasrudin was taking a donkey-load of grapes to market.
    Groups of small children kept begging grapes: but he only gave them a very small handful each.
    ‘You are mean, Nasrudin!’ they shouted.
    ‘Not at all,’ said the Mulla. ‘I am doing this to illustrate the silliness of children. All these grapes taste the same. Once you have had some, you know what all the rest are like. So it doesn’t matter whether you have had many or just a few.’

The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

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