Donkey King

As the debt-collectors carted away the last of his possessions, Nasrudin got on his donkey and went to see the King. After several days’ ride he arrived at the palace gates, travel-worn and hungry.

‘What is your business here?’ demanded the palace guards.

‘I am a ruler!’

Bowing deeply, the guards rushed off to inform the King.

‘Bring him to me at once!’ said the monarch.

When Nasrudin was shown into the gleaming throne room, the King was taken aback by his ragged appearance.

‘You are a ruler?’

‘Yes, I am.’

‘As ruler of this great kingdom, I rule over the land as far as the eye can see. Excuse me for asking such an indelicate question, but what exactly are you the ruler of?’

‘Well,’ replied the Mulla, ‘I was once the ruler of the Kingdom of The Apple Orchard. Then I was ruler of The Melon Patch. More recently, I was ruler of My Home. But, now that my enemies have made off with most of my wealth and land, times are hard. These days, I am simply ruler of My Donkey.’

The King smiled.

‘You are the ruler of Your Donkey — I the ruler of this entire land. We rulers must stick together.’

The World of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Donkey carrying load

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