200+ Mulla Nasrudin Stories and Jokes, p.1Rodney Ohebsion
200+ Mulla Nasrudin Stories and Jokes
Copyright 2011 Rodney Ohebsion
Mulla/Hodja/Hoca Nasrudin is the starring character in a vast number of amusing tales told in regions all over the world, particularly in countries in or near the Middle East. Each tale depicts Nasrudin in a different situation, and through his viewpoint they humorously reveal commentary and lessons on various life themes. The great allure of the Mulla Nasrudin tales is that they are funny as well as lesson filled, philosophical, and thought provoking.
The Mulla Nasrudin Character
Mulla, Hodja, and Hoca are titles from various areas of the world that in early times were used to signify a learned man.
The character Mulla/Hodja/Hoca Nasrudin is sometimes wise, sometimes foolish, and sometimes both. He is a unique spin on a wise sage or philosopher character.
Much of Nasrudin’s actions and can be described as illogical yet logical, rational yet irrational, bizarre yet normal, and simple yet profound. What adds even further to his uniqueness is the way he gets across his messages in unconventional yet very effective methods.
Origins and History
Mulla Nasrudin tales have been passed down for many centuries. It is thought that the Mulla Nasrudin character is based on a real man who lived in the 1300s. However, many countries claim to be the origin of the actual Mulla Nasrudin character and his tales, and it remains uncertain where the man lived and the stories started.
But whatever the origins of Mulla Nasrudin are, pinpointing them has become a trivial point. As generations went by, new stories were added, others were modified, and the character and his tales spread to broader regions. The types of themes and wisdom in his tales have become legendary products of a variety of people’s observations and imaginations. And although most of them depict Nasrudin in an early small village setting, the tales deal with concepts that have relevance to today’s universe and people.
Today, Mulla Nasrudin stories are told in a wide variety of regions, and have been translated into many languages. (It can only be assumed that some regions independently developed a character similar to Mulla Nasrudin, and the stories have become assimilated together.)
In many regions, Mulla Nasrudin is a major part of the culture, and is quoted or alluded to frequently in daily life. Since there are thousands of different Nasrudin stories, one can be found to fit almost any occasion.
Sufis also use Nasrudin stories frequently as learning and meditation tools, similar to the way Zen Buddhism practitioners use koans.
The Loan Request
Nasrudin struck up a conversation with a stranger.
Ar one point, he asked, “So how’s business?”
“Great,” the other replied.
“Then can I borrow ten dollars?”
“No. I don’t know you well enough to lend you money,”.
“That’s strange,” replied Nasrudin. “Where I used to live, people wouldn’t lend me money because they knew me; and now that I’ve moved here, people won’t lend me money because they don’t know me!“
The Moving Friend
“Nasrudin,” a friend said one day, “I’m moving to another village. Can I have your ring? That way, I will remember you every time I look at it?”
“Well,” replied Nasrudin, “you might lose the ring and then forget about me. How about I don’t give you a ring in the first place—that way, every time that you look at your finger and don’t see a ring, you’ll definitely remember me.”
Mad at the Fakir
A Fakir claimed that he could teach any illiterate person to read through an “instant technique.”
“OK,” Nasrudin said. “Teach me.”
The Fakir then touched Nasrudin’s head and said, “Now go read something.”
Nasrudin left, and returned to the village square an hour later with an angry look on his face.
“What happened?” asked the villagers. “Can you read now?”
“Indeed I can,” replied Nasrudin, “but that’s not why I came back? Now where is that scoundrel Fakir?”
“Mulla,” the people said, “he taught you to read in no more than a minute. So what makes you think he’s a scoundrel?”
“Well,” Nasrudin explained, “I was just reading a book that asserted, ‘All Fakirs are frauds.’“
Nasrudin and two other travelers stopped to eat the lunches each of them had packed for their journey.
One of the travelers bragged, “I only eat roasted salted pistachios, cashews, and dates.”
The other said, “Well, I only eat dried salmon.”
Then both men looked at Nasrudin, waiting to hear what he would say.
Seconds later, Nasrudin held up a piece of bread and confidently announced, “Well, I only eat wheat, ground up and carefully mixed with water, yeast, and salt, and then baked at the proper temperature for the proper time.”
Man Demands Justice
One day, a man ran into Judge Nasrudin’s room and said, “I was just robbed at the border of this village! It must have been someone from here, and I demand justice! The robber took everything from me—my shoes, my pants, my shirt, my coat, my necklace, and even my socks…he took everything, I tell you! I demand justice.”
“Well now,” Nasrudin replied, “I see that you are still wearing you underwear—so the robber didn’t take that, did he?”
“No,” replied the man.
Nasrudin responded, “Then I am sure he was not from here, and thus I cannot investigate your case.”
“How can you be so sure?” the man asked.
“Because if he were from here, he would have taken your underwear as well. After all, we do things thoroughly around here!“
Woman Demands Justice
A woman and man came into Judge Nasrudin’s room one day.
The woman complained, “I was just walking on the street the other day, when this man, whom I never met before, came up to me and kissed me! I demand justice!“
“I agree that you deserve justice,” Nasrudin said. “Therefore, I order that you kiss him and take your revenge.”
I Only Think of Others
Monk: “I have achieved an incredible level of disattachment from myself—so much so that I only think of others, and never of myself.”
Nasrudin: “Well, I have reached a more advanced state than that.”
Monk: “How so?”
Nasrudin: “I am so objective that I can actually look at another person as if he were me, and by doing so, I can think of myself!“
Sack of Vegetables
Nasrudin snuck into someone’s garden and began putting vegetable in his sack. The owner saw him and shouted, “What are you doing in my garden?”
“The wind blew me here,” Nasrudin confidently responded.
“That sounds like bull to me,” was the reply, “but let’s assume that the wind did blow you here. Now then, how can you explain how those vegetables were pulled out from my garden?”
“Oh, that’s simple,” Nasrudin explained. “I had to grab them to stop myself from being thrown any further by the wind.”
“Well,” the man continued, “then tell me this—how did the vegetables get in your sack?”
“You know what,” Nasrudin said, “I was just standing here and wondering that same thing myself!“
Nasrudin is Beaten Up
Nasrudin decided to wear elaborate Arabic clothing one day. When he came home, his wife noticed that the clothing had been torn up to shreds.
“What happened to you?” his she asked. “Did you get
“Yes,” Nasrudin replied.
“But why?” she inquired. “It’s not like people beat up others for wearing an outfit like that.”
“Well,” Nasrudin said, “tell that to a group of Kurds who are looking for an Arab to beat up.”
It was a cold winter day, and a heavily dressed man noticed Nasrudin outside wearing very little clothing.
“Mulla,” the man said, “tell me, how is it that I am wearing all these clothes and still feel a little cold, whereas you are barely wearing anything yet seem unaffected by the weather?”
“Well,” replied Nasrudin, “I don’t have any more clothes, so I can’t afford to feel cold, whereas you have plenty of clothes, and thus have the liberty to feel cold.”
Meal or Preaching?
The local religious leader invited Nasrudin over for dinner one night.
Nasrudin, not having eaten much that day, was famished when he got there, and eger to eat as soon as possible.
After two hours, however, the religious leader had yet to offer Nasrudin any food, and instead spoke nonstop about a variety of religious topics.
As Nasrudin grew more annoyed with each passing minute, he finally interrupted the man and said, “May I ask you something?”
“What?” the religious leader answered, eager to hear some religious question that would prompt him to continue talking.
“I was just wondering,” Nasrudin said, “did any of the people in your stories ever eat?”
Are You Asleep?
Nasrudin was lying on his couch with his eyes closed.
His brother-in-law went up to him and asked, “Are you asleep?”
“Why do you ask?” Nasrudin replied.
“I was wondering if you could lend me three hundred dollars,” said the other.
“Well,” answered Nasrudin, “let’s return to your fist question—‘Am I asleep.’ The answer is yes I am—so leave me alone!“
Son Searching For a Wife
Nasrudin, knowing his son was looking for a wife, asked him what type of wife he wanted.
“One who is intelligent and expressive“ the latter replied.
“OK,” replied Nasrudin, “I’ll help you find such a woman.”
So as part of his plan, Nasrudin led his son to the town square. He then slapped his son in front of all the people and exclaimed, “This is what you get for doing exactly what I told you to do!“
One young lady saw this and remarked, “Stop hitting him. How can you punish him for obeying what you said?”
When the son heard this, he turned to his father and said, “She seems like the right woman for me—don’t you think so?”
“Well,” replied Nasrudin, “she is certainly expressive and intelligent, but perhaps ther’e a woman out there who isan even better fit for you.”
So Nasrudin led his son the neighboring area’s town square and repeated the same scene. This time, a young lady saw this and said, “Go ahead and hit him. Only a fool would follow orders so blindly.”
When Nasrudin heard this, he said to his son, “The first woman, she was intelligent and expressive—but this woman is on an entirely higher level altogether. I think we’ve found your future wife.”
Nasrudin Plays Guitar
Nasrudin was at the town square one day, and a group of people asked him if he knew how to play the guitar.
Nasrudin didn’t know how, but he replied, “Yes, I do. I am a masterful guitar player—in fact, I am one of the best in the world!“
The people, expecting him to make such a boast, immediately produced a guitar and asked him to play it.
Nasrudin took the guitar and started playing only one string, and continued to play only on that one string. After a minute of this, someone finally interrupted him and asked, “Mulla! Guitar players move their fingers and play a variety of strings. Why are you only playing one of them?”
“Well,” Nasrudin replied, “those players keep on changing strings because they are searching for a specific one. I found it on my first try—so why should I switch to another one?”
Nasrudin Gets a Cow
One day, Nasrudin’s wife told him, “Let’s buy a cow so that we can have milk every day.
Nasrudin replied, “We don’t have enough space in our yard for my donkey and a new cow.”
But despite Nasrudin’s objection, his wife persisted until he finally gave in.
So he bought the cow—and just he predicted, it crowded his beloved donkey in the barn. This prompted Nasrudin to start praying one night, saying, “Dear God, please kill the cow, so my wife can’t bother me about it anymore, and so my donkey can live in peace.”
The next day, Nasrudin went into the barn and was dismayed to discover that his donkey was dead! He looked up and said, “God, I don’t mean to offend you or anything, but let me ask you this—after all these years, do you mean to tell me that you still can’t tell the difference between a cow and a donkey?”
“Stand On One Leg”
A group of robbers broke into Nasrudin’s house one night and demanded Nasrudin’s money.
“Sirs—” Nasrudin said “—if I could, I would gladly give you a million dollars; but unfortunately I am rather low on funds right now, and only have this twenty dollar bill in my pocket.”
And with saying so, Nasrudin took out the bill and handed it to the robbers.
They, however, were greatly angered, and decided to spend the night at Nasrudin’s house and punish him. “Stand on one foot for the rest of the night!” they demanded.
Nasrudin did as he was told, and the robbers went to sleep while one stayed on guard. After an hour, the guard said to Nasrudin, “Listen, I’ll let you switch to the other leg.”
“Oh, thank you,” Nasrudin replied. “You’re a much better person than the rest of your group. My money is actually in my shoes in the closet. You can go take it—but don’t give any to them.”
Man is Stuck in Tree
One day, a local man climbed up a rather tall tree.
Shortly thereafter, however, as he tried to make his way back down, he soon discovered that the trip down might not be as easy as the trip up. In fact, try as he might, he simply could not figure out a way to get down the tree without putting his body at great risk of falling to the ground.
He asked a few passers-by for help, but no one knew what to do.
A few local people gathered near him and tried to help, but he remained stuck.
Then Nasrudin walked by and devised a plan. He threw a rope up to the man and said, “Tie this around your waist.”
The people nearby wondered about what Nasrudin was doing. They asked him his plan, but he calmly replied, “Just trust me—this works.”
When the man had the rope tied around his waist, Nasrudin pulled on the rope. Upon his doing this, the man fell from the tree and hurt himself. The bystanders, horrified to see this happen, remarked, “What kind of a plan was that?”
“Well,” Nasrudin replied, “I once saved someone’s life doing the exact same thing.”
“Are you sure,” one man asked.
“Yes,” Nasrudin replied. “The only thing I’m not sure about is whether I saved him from a well or from a tree.”
The tax collector in Nasrudin’s town was corrupt and accepted many bribes. One day, the mayor asked the tax collector to present his records for examination.
Upon studying them and realizing that they were falsified, the mayor, infuriated with rage, shouted to the tax collector, “Not only are you fired, I also order you to eat these papers you have presented me while we all watch!”
So he did as he was ordered, while the court attendants watched in amazement as he ate all the paper. Soon the news of what had happened spread throughout the town.
About a week later, the mayor appointed Nasrudin as the town’s new tax collector. When the mayor asked him to present his records the next week, Nasrudin handed him noon-eh-lavash (fla
The mayor asked, “Why did you write your records on noon-eh-lavash?
“Well,” Nasrudin replied, “I saw what happened to the other guy, so I wrote these on bread just in case you would make me eat them as well.”
One day at the King’s court, the King turned to Nasrudin and said, “Mulla. Since you are constantly reminding us of how clever and wise you are, tell me this: can you teach your donkey to read?”
“Absolutely,” replied Nasrudin. “A task like that would present me with no problems whatsoever.”
“Don’t mess with me,” said the King. “Seriously, can you do it?”
“Yes, I mean it,” Nasrudin replied, “and I’ll tell you what: just give me fifty thousand dollars right now, and I’ll guarantee I’ll have this donkey reading within eight years.”
“OK,” said the King. “But that donkey isn’t reading by then, I’ll put you in prison and have you tortured daily.”
So they agreed, and Nasrudin left the court.
The next day, Nasrudin’s friend asked about what happened.
“Are you out of your mind?” he said. “You can barely teach your donkey to stand still, and now you’ve guaranteed that he’ll be reading within eight years. Nasrudin-I don’t see how you’ll be able to escape a long prison sentence for this.”
“Listen,” the Mulla calmly replied, “several years from now, our King will probably be dead or out of power. And even if he manages to last as our King for that long, odds are my donkey will have passed on by then. And in the unlikely event that neither he nor my donkey is gone by seven years time, I’ll still have an entire year to plan my way out of getting punished.”
Nasrudin Wants a Divorce
200+ Mulla Nasrudin Stories and Jokes by Rodney Ohebsion / Humor have rating 2.8 out of 5 / Based on17 votes