A penny less to pay

Sitting near some stepping-stones across a river, the Mulla saw that ten blind men wanted to cross the stream. He offered to help them over for a penny each.
    They accepted and he started to take them across.
    Nine were safely delivered to the further bank. But, as he was making his way with the tenth, the unfortunate man tripped and was carried away by the flood.
    Sensing something amiss the nine survivors began calling out: ‘What happened, Nasrudin?’
    ‘A penny less to pay,’ said the Mulla.

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Stepping stones across river

Child Psychology

Nasrudin’s wife was in labour, but the midwife was unable to deliver the child. Finally, in desperation, she turned to the Mulla.

‘You are meant to be a wise man. Is there anything you can do to help?’

‘If only you had asked before!’ exclaimed Nasrudin and rushed off to the bazaar. He returned a few minutes later carrying a top, which he started spinning on the floor.

‘Have you gone completely mad?’ squawked the midwife.

‘Have patience,’ replied Nasrudin calmly. ‘When the child sees the toy he will jump out and play with it!’

The World Of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Spinning top

Tit for tat

Nasrudin 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 Mulla —‘why should I pay for something I did not want to buy?’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

The roof of Hafez's tomb

Why we are here

Walking one evening along a deserted road, Mulla Nasrudin saw a troop of horseman coming towards him.
    His imagination started to work; he saw himself captured and sold as a slave, or impressed into the army.
    Nasrudin bolted, climbed a wall into a graveyard, and lay down in an open tomb.
    Puzzled at his strange behaviour, the men – honest travellers – followed him.
    They found him stretched out, tense and quivering.
    ‘What are you doing in that grave? We saw you run away. Can we help you?’
    ‘Just because you can ask a question does not mean that there is a straightforward answer to it,’ said the Mulla, who now realized what had happened. ‘It all depends upon your viewpoint. If you must know, however: I am here because of you, and you are here because of me.’

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

Horses

Circumstances alter cases

The rain was pelting down. Aga Akil, the most sanctimonious man in town, was running for shelter. ‘How dare you flee from God’s bounty,’ thundered Nasrudin at him, ‘the liquid from Heaven ? As a devout man, you should know that rain is a blessing for all creation.’
    The Aga was anxious to maintain his reputation. ‘I had not thought of it that way,’ he muttered, and slackening his pace he arrived home soaked through. Of course he caught a chill.
    Soon afterwards, as he sat wrapped in blankets at his window, he espied Nasrudin pelting through the rain, and challenged him: ‘Why are you running away from divine blessings, Nasrudin ? How dare you spurn the blessing which it contains ?’
    ‘Ah,’ said Nasrudin, ‘you don’t seem to realize that I do not want to defile it with my feet.’

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

A rainstorm

Anachronism

‘Why are you sitting at the crossroads, Mulla?’
    ‘One day something will happen here, and a crowd will gather. When that comes about, I may not be able to get close enough—so I’m putting in my time now.’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

The roof of Hafez's tomb

I Should Know

Late one night, a burglar broke into Nasrudin’s house. Under the cover of darkness, he began to pick up the Mulla’s possessions and stuff them into a sack.

‘Brother,’ said the Mulla, ‘I am compelled to warn you that the things you are taking may seem valuable at night but will prove worthless by daylight. I should know.’

The World Of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Empty burlap sack

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