In which I share not one story, but a whole group of them together

Tradition has it that the Mulla Nasrudin is a tall, short, fat, skinny wise fool.  If you tell a story of Naruddin, it’s best to tell at least six more.

Nasrudin the Wise (Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran and beyond)

The Power of Education
Nasruddin was ferrying a scholar across a river said something ungrammatical to him.

"Have you never studied grammar?" scoffed the scholar, and the Mulla admitted that he had not.

"Then half your life has been wasted," said the scholar looking pityingly at him.

Sometime later Naruddin turned to his passenger, and asked, “Have you ever learned to swim?” and the scholar admitted that he had not.

"Then your whole life has been wasted," said the Mulla. "We're sinking." 

The Letter
One day Nasruddin’s neighbor asked him to write a letter for him, addressed to a friend in Baghdad.

"Sorry," said the Mulla. "I have no time to go to Baghdad."

"Who is asking you to go to Baghdad!" asked his neighbor. "All I want you to do is write a letter for me!"

"I know," said Nasruddin. "But my handwriting is so bad that no one there will be able to read my writing and finally they will send for me. And as I've told you I've no time to go to Baghdad." 

The Philosopher
Mulla Nasruddin once took up a job as a coachman and one day he had to drive to a disreputable part of the town. "Keep your eyes open," his employer advised him as he alighted from the coach at his destination. "This place is infested with thieves."

Some time later, the man checked on his employee.

"Is everything all right? What are you doing now?" he shouted from a window of the house he had gone into.

"I'm sitting here wondering what happens to a man's lap when he gets up," the Mulla shouted back.

A little later the employer again shouted from the window, "What are you doing now?!"

"I'm wondering what happens to a fist when the fingers are unclenched," shouted Nasruddin.

His employer was impressed. "My coachman is no ordinary fellow," he boasted to his hosts. "He is a philosopher!"

Half an hour later he again poked his head out of the window and shouted, "What are you doing now?"

"I am wondering who stole the horses," replied the Mulla. 

A horse race was about to be held and the contestants were being lined up.  Mulla Nasruddin came with an ox and entered it in the race.

"Have you gone mad?" said the organizers. "What chance does an ox have against horses?"

"You talk that way because you do not know my ox," said Nasruddin. "When it was a mere calf it could run almost as fast as a pony. Now that it is older it should be able to run even faster."

The Remedy
One day the Mulla met an acquaintance in the street. The man looked worried and Nasruddin asked him what was troubling him.

"I have this terrible dream," said the man. "Every night I dream there's a monster hiding under the bed. When I get up and look there's no one there. I can't sleep afterwards. I am on my way to the doctor's house now. He says he can cure me for a hundred dinars."

"A hundred dinars!" exclaimed the Mulla. "I can rid you of your problem for five!"

The man immediately took out 5 dinars and gave them to Nasruddin.  "Now tell me what to do," said the man.

"The remedy is simple," said the Mulla, pocketing the money. "Saw off the legs of the bed."

Catching Himself
One evening, the Night watch caught Nasruddin in his garden, prying open the window of his own bedroom.

“What are you doing, Nasruddin?” asked the watchman. “Have you been locked out?”

“Quiet,” whispered Nasruddin. “My family tells me I walk in my sleep. I am trying to catch myself and see if it’s true.”

The Tip
The Mulla Nasruddin visited Seattle one time, and there he found coffee carts on every corner. 

He stood in line for a coffee, and when it was his turn, he ordered a fancy latte with chocolate swirls on top.

The barista looked at Nasruddin, this tall, short, fat, skinny wise fool.  She sneered at him.  She took a cup, poured in some coffee, and handed it to him.  Then, she charged him five dollars for it.

Nasruddin took the cup.  He tasted the coffee.  “It’s delicious!” he declared.  Then he gave the barista five dollars for the coffee, and put twenty dollars into the tip jar.

The next morning, the Mulla returned to the same coffee cart.  The barista recognized him, and brought him to the head of the line.  She made for him an exquisite latte with chocolate swirls and a little paper umbrella.  Then, she charged him five dollars for the drink.

Nasruddin took the cup and tasted the coffee.  “It’s delicious!” he declared.  Then he gave the barista five dollars for the coffee, and put ten pennies into the tip jar.

When he started to walk away, the barista called him back.  “Why did you give me a small tip today for a better coffee?” she asked.

“Ahhh,” said the Mulla.  “Yesterday’s tip was for today’s coffee.  Today’s tip was for yesterday’s coffee.”


  1. Replies
    1. Interestingly, I could never remember the punchlines to jokes (especially when I was younger) but I've never had trouble remembering at least a hundred Nasruddin stories. Something about the cataloging system in my brain, I guess.


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