Bad Environment

Once Nasrudin’s calf was bitten by a mosquito. It started to run and kick.

The Mulla at once began to beat the bull.

‘Why do that?’ one of his neighbours asked.

‘People learn bad conduct from their associates’, said Mulla Nasrudin.

The World Of The Sufi Idries Shah, Octagon Press

A calf and a cow

Cooking by Candle

Nasrudin made a wager that he could spend a night on a near-by mountain and survive, in spite of ice and snow. Several wags in the teahouse agreed to adjudicate.
    Nasrudin took a book and a candle and sat through the coldest night he had ever known. In the morning, half-dead, he claimed his money.
    ‘Did you have nothing at all to keep you warm?’ asked the villagers.
    ‘Not even a candle?’
    ‘Yes, I had a candle.’
    ‘Then the bet is off.’
    Nasrudin did not argue.
    Some months later he invited the same people to a feast at his house. They sat down in his reception room, waiting for the food. Hours passed.
    They started to mutter about food.
    ‘Let’s go and see how it is getting on,’ said Nasrudin.
    Everyone trooped into the kitchen. They found an enormous pot of water, under which a candle was burning. The water was not even tepid.
    ‘It is not ready yet,’ said the Mulla. ‘I don’t know why—it has been there since yesterday.’

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

A candle being held in a person's hands

Lost: One Donkey

‘O People!’ shouted Nasrudin, running through the streets of his village, ‘Know that I have lost my donkey. Anyone who brings it back will be given the donkey as a reward!’

‘You must be mad,’ said some of the spectators to this strange event.

‘Not at all,’ said Nasrudin; ‘do you not know that the pleasure which you get when you find something lost is greater than the joy of possessing it?’

Caravan of Dreams Idries Shah, Octagon Press

A donkey in a field

I’ll take the Nine

In a dream Nasrudin saw himself being counted out coins. When there were nine silver pieces in his hand, the invisible donor stopped giving them.
    Nasrudin shouted, ‘I must have ten!’ so loudly that he woke himself up.
    Finding that all the money had disappeared he closed his eyes again and murmured, ‘All right, then, give them back—I’ll take nine.’

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

Stacks of gold coins

Tie up below!

The Mulla was aboard ship when a terrible storm blew up. All hands were ordered aloft to furl the sails and lash them to the masts.
    Nasrudin ran to the captain, yelling:
    ‘Fools! Anyone can see that the ship moves from below—and your men are trying to bind it up from above!’

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

The Gust of Wind  *oil on canvas  *77 x 63.5 cm  *signed b.l.: W. v. Velde f.  *ca. 1650 - ca. 1707

Adventures in the Desert

When I was in the desert,’ said Nasrudin one day, ‘I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty bedouins to run.’
    ‘However did you do it ?’
    ‘Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me.’

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

A jackal running in the desert.

Instant Reading

A certain famous Fakir was claiming in the village that he could teach an illiterate person to read by a lightning technique.

Nasrudin stepped out of the crowd.

‘Very well, teach me – now.’

The Fakir touched the Mulla’s forehead and said: ‘Now go home immediately and read a book.’

Half an hour later Nasrudin was back in the market-place, clutching a book. The Fakir had gone on his way.

‘Can you read now, Mulla?’ the people asked him.

‘Yes, I can read – but that is not the point. Where is that charlatan?’

‘How can he be a charlatan if he has caused you to read without learning?’

‘Because this book, which is authoritative, says: “All Fakirs are frauds”.’

Caravan of Dreams Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Shakespeare & Co bookstore
By Christine ZeninoFlickr: Shakespeare & Co Books; Paris, CC BY 2.0,

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