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Nasruddin Stories Retold

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Mullah Nasruddin Stories


Riding backwards?
Everyone knows that Mullah Nasruddin rides his donkey turning towards it's tail. He was going like that one day.
"Hodja! Why do you sit facing backwards?" asked someone.
" Leave it man! You can not understand! Who said I am sitting turning backwards? Am I coming from my home or not? And I am going to the market. I like my home more than the market. So I am turning towards my home. Simple!" said Mullah.
Once again backwards?
Mullah was riding on the donkey as usual! Sitting with his back towards where he was going!
"Hodja! Why do you sit like that?" asked people.

Leave it man! You can not understand! I am not sitting with my back towards where i am going. The donkey is going in the opposite direction" said Mullah.
Once again Backwards?
Mullah will sit on the donkey as always. With his face backwards.
" Hey! Mullah! That is teh wrong way!!" say people.
" Enough of it! The donkey says it wants to go that way! I said I want to go this way. Why pick up a fight with it? I let it go in it's way. And I am sitting in my own way. Truce. Any objection?" asked Mullah.




Yes! You are right!


Once Mullah became on his own effort, the judge in his own town. All kinds of funny cases used to be referred to him.

Mullah's son used to be next there when the cases were discussed and the judgment given.


One day a case came up.


“ What can I tell your highness? We have to after all go only to a tailor to get the clothes stitched. Not to a barber am I right? So, I went to this tailor. Of course he made a dress for me, there is no wonder in it!  But, the fun is , I have not even walked four steps after wearing the dress, it came apart in pieces. I don’t know how to tell! If I don’t, justice will elude me. So, I have to tell. Pardon me , I was standing in the middle of the road threadbare. Won't people laugh at you? Tell me if I have to pay this man for such a tailoring? “ lamented the complainant.


“ Yes1 You are right!” said Mullah.


Listening to it, the tailor came forward to tell his side of the story.


“ My lord! What he brought was an old piece of cloth. I said I can not stitch it. He wanted me to stitch it somehow. I was struggling with it and the man, instead of waiting patiently, started teaching me my own trade. Killed me with his suggestions! I pricked my fingers four times because of his disturbances. At best, I am not the reason for the dress getting torn. I have done my job. I must get my compensation. “ Said the tailor.


“Yes! What you say is right!” said Mullah.


Both the men were dumbstuck.


Mullah’s son came there slowly.


“ Father! There is no chance that both of them can be right!” said he.


“Yes! You are right!” said Mullah without a second thought!



Cat and the meat


Mullah may be rich in irony, not really with money1


He is known to impress people with his wit. He did the same and could extract two seers of quality meat. He was already tasting it in his daydreams while on the way back home. He even gave session to the wife on “How to cook meat and eat!”


Even before the cooking was finished, as usual somebody called and our Mullah had to go into the town.


Even before he could come back the wife called all her relatives and gained their good wishes in exchange of good cooked meat.


Mullah eager to eat the hard earned meat came home by the evening. What he could see on the plate were the usual roti and the onion. No signs of meat! “I brought meat, if I am right. What happened to that?” he could only mutter. “ your wily cat is responsible” The wife told a lie. No hesitation.


Mullah went and brought weighing scales. Ran around and managed to catch hold of the cat. He found it to be exactly two seers. He turned to the wife and could manage to ask a question.


“ Look. If all the two seers is the weight of the cat, where is the meat? If it is my two seers of meat, where is the cat?”

Could anyone answer the question?

Hen and the Zen


Mullah as usual was going around the market. No cash, so purchase. It is widow shopping today.

There was a bird on sale. It was really strange looking one, never seen before. Colors and all, it was a treat to the eyes.


“ Hundred liras! Hundred Liras!” the seller was announcing the price of the bird.


“ Hundred liras for  a tiny bird?” wondered Mullah. An idea struck him light the thunderbolt. 


He ran home and fetched his turkey, made a place next to the man selling the strange looking bird, and started shouting “ Two hundred Liras!”


People were laughing. There is no fool in the towns around who will buy the turkey for two hundred liras, they meant when laughing.


“ Then will you buy the other bird for one hundred liras?” asked Mullah innocently.


“ That is not a strange bird. It is a great bird. It is called a parrot.” Said the people.


“ What is so great about a parrot? “ Mullah asked.


“ So! You don’t know! A parrot is a bird which can speak exactly like a people. What do you think?” asked people.


Mullah went mad with  these words. He thought for a while. An idea struck him.


“ That parrot can only speak. My turkey even meditates.” He said with all the glee.



A rich man got a coffin made for himself. He was eager to show it to Mullah.


“ Hodja! What do you think of the carving?” he was trying to show off the richness of the woodwork.


“The mattress inside is made of velvet. Very expensive!” “ Indeed1” said Mullah.


“ it has to suit our status. Isn’t it? Now, tell me what is lacking in this?”


“ Only a person inside!!” Said Mullah slowly.




“ Don’t dig a new grave for me after my death. You bury me in an old one.” Sad Mullah.


“Why so?” asked people.


“ After you bury me Gods will however come to inquire about the sins and the good deeds of mine. If it is an old grave, they will think, they have already seen it and return without bothering me.” said Mullah



No Money


Mullah was to a certain amount of money some gentleman.


He never thought of repaying and the gentleman had to complain to the town judge.


“ Five hundred dinars. It is six months. He never gives. Never even tells he can’t repay. Get my money back to me. And do justice!” he asked.


Mullah came forward.


“ It is true that I owe him money. I don’t have the intention of evading him. I will have to sell a cow or a donkey and repay him. I will do it, but need a little time!” he said.


“ trash! He is not even having a cow or a donkey worth five hundred dinars. He is not having even proper food to eat.” Said the gentleman.


“ Honorable Justice Sir! Even after knowing so much about my poverty, if he demands his money like this, where from do I pay?” asked Mullah.


The justice saw to it that the loan was written off.

More Stories

More to come!