How to catch Nasrudin

‘If you want your donkey to move faster, Nasrudin’, said a neighbour, ‘get some ammonia and rub it on its rump.’
    Nasrudin found that this worked.
    One day, feeling a little listless, he tried the same remedy on himself.
    The ammonia burned him so much that he started to run round and round his room.
    ‘What’s the matter?’ shouted his wife, unable to get a hold of him.
    ‘If you want to catch me, use the contents of that bottle over there,’ panted Mulla Nasrudin.

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

A Donkey

I believe you are right!

The Mulla was made a magistrate. During his first case the plaintiff argued so persuasively that he exclaimed:
    ‘I believe you are right!’
    The clerk of the Court begged him to restrain himself, for the defendant had not been heard yet.
    Nasrudin was so carried away by the eloquence of the defendant that he cried out as soon as the man had finished his evidence:
    ‘I believe you are right!’
    The clerk of the court could not allow this.
    ‘Your honour, they cannot both be right.’
    ‘I believe you are right!’ said Nasrudin.

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

A court room

The Sermon of Nasrudin

One day the villagers thought they would play a joke on Nasrudin. As he was supposed to be a holy man of some indefinable sort, they went to him and asked him to preach a sermon in their mosque. He agreed.
    When the day came, Nasrudin mounted the pulpit and spoke:
    ‘0 people! Do you know what I am going to tell you?’
    ‘No, we do not know,’ they cried.
    ‘Until you know, I cannot say. You are too ignorant to make a start on,’ said the Mulla, overcome with indignation that such ignorant people should waste his time. He descended from the pulpit and went home.
    Slightly chagrined, a deputation went to his house again, and asked
him to preach the following Friday, the day of prayer.
    Nasrudin started his sermon with the same question as before. This time the congregation answered, as one man:
    ‘Yes, we know.’
    ‘In that case,’ said the Mulla, ‘there is no need for me to detain you longer. You may go.’ And he returned home.
    Having been prevailed upon to preach for the third Friday in succession, he started his address as before:
    ‘Do you know or do you not?’
    The congregation was ready.
    ‘Some of us do, and others do not.’
    ‘Excellent,’ said Nasrudin, ‘then let those who know communicate their knowledge to those who do not.’
    And he went home.

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

Golestan Palace

Live Long and Prosper

When Tamerlane found his treasurer guilty of embezzlement, he had him executed and engaged Nasrudin as the man’s replacement.

But it was not long before a palace aide informed the King that his new appointee was distributing money to the poor. Much enraged, the ruler summoned the treasurer.

‘Do you want to end up swinging from the scaffold like your predecessor?’

‘Surely you would not hang a man who is simply trying to lengthen your stay on Earth,’ replied Nasrudin.

‘How will robbing my coffers earn me longer life?’ asked Tamerlane.

‘As I hand money to the poor and needy, I ask them to pray that our esteemed monarch will live long and prosper. If we did not pay for prayers in this way, who would enlist Allah’s help in keeping you alive for another day?’

The World of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Treasure Chest

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

Professional Fee

The mayor was trying to fasten his saddle-bags, but each time he positioned the bag it slipped to one side.

‘Nasrudin,’ he said, as the Mulla walked by, ‘you claim to understand everything. How can I solve this problem?’ Inspecting the load, Nasrudin saw that one of the bags was full of rice while the other was empty. ‘As a scientist,’ he said, ‘I can see that the laws of physics are working against you.’ He then removed the rice and divided it into three equal piles. He put one pile in each bag and, sure enough, the load was perfectly balanced.

‘Excellent,’ said the mayor, ‘but what about the third pile?’

‘That,’ replied Nasrudin, ‘is my professional fee.’

The World of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

A donkey in a field

How Long will I Live?

One night Tamerlane dreamt that he was on his death-bed and was destined for the burning fires of Hell. Much troubled by the nightmare, he called his astrologers.

‘How long shall I live?’ he asked each man in turn.

The first told the Emir that he would live for twenty years. The second, that he would live fifty years. The third that he would live a hundred years. And the fourth told the Emir that he would never die.

‘Executioner!’ roared Tamerlane, ‘behead these men. Three have given me too little time and the fourth is just trying to save his own neck.’ Then, turning to Nasrudin he said:

‘You have told my fortune on occasion. What have you to say?’

The Mulla calmly replied: ‘Great Emperor, it just so happens that I, too, had a dream last night in which an angel told me the exact day of your demise.’

‘And what did he say?’ Tamerlane anxiously asked.

‘The angel told me that you would die on the very same day as I,’ replied Nasrudin.

The World of Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press


Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: