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Nasreddin Hodja is Turkey’s (and perhaps all of Islam’s) best-known trickster (wise fool). Nasr-ed-Din means “Victory of Faith”, Hodja means the “Master” or “Teacher”. His legendary wit and comical trickery were possibly based on the exploits and words of a historical imam.
Nasreddin reputedly was born in Turkey in 1208 and died in the Islamic year 683 (1284 or 1285). As many as 350 anecdotes have been attributed to the Hodja, as he most often is called. His stories have been translated into many languages. Because he was able to see the funny side of everyday life, his jokes are still alive today.
Here are some of his stories for you to read.

Submitted:Mar 19, 2010    Reads: 493    Comments: 4    Likes: 3   

Eat, Coat, Eat
The Hodja was invited to a banquet. Not wanting to be pretentious, wise old saying she wore his everyday clothes, only to discover that everyone ignored
him, including the host. So he went back home and put on his fanciest coat, and then returned to the banquet. Now he was greeted cordially by everyone and invited to sit down and eat and drink. When the soup was served to him he dunked the sleeve of his coat into the bowl and said, "Eat, coat, eat!"
The startled host asked the Hodja to explain his strange behaviour "When I arrived here wearing my other clothes," explained the Hodja, "no one offered me anything to eat or drink. But when I returned wearing this fine coat, I was imediately offered the best of everything, so I can only assume that it was the coat and not myself who was invited to your banquet."
Playing the Saz:
At a gathering in the coffee house, they asked Nasreddin Hodja if he knew how to play the saz. Our Hodja, never one to disappoint his friends, said that he did. So, they gave him a saz and asked him to play. Nasreddin Hodja took the saz, placed it on his lap, then picked one string and started to play that string. He was not moving his fingers up and down, left or right; he was constantly plucking the same string, at the same spot.
`Hodja Effendi, what kind of music is this?' protested the patrons of the coffee house.
`The real saz players move their fingers about, play different strings. You held on to one string and you are not letting it go!'
'They are moving their fingers about because they are all looking for this very spot,' was the Hodja.s explanation, `I found it in my first attempt, why should I let it go?'
Old Inn
Nasreddin Hodja was in Konya for some business. He had to stay overnight, so he found a cheap old inn. At night, as the Hodja was trying to sleep, a heavy rain storm started. The old inn was shaking and creaking all over.
The noise of the storm mixed with the noise of the squeaking wood and trembling windows was so loud that the Hodja was afraid that the worn-out dwelling was going to tumble down, or else the roof was going to cave in. He brought his concerns to the attention of the innkeeper.
The innkeeper was an impish man. He immediately came up with a reassurance that he thought the Hodja could not challenge.
"Hodja Effendi, no need to worry. The house is chanting the ninety-nine names of Allah. All this praying and praising makes it tremble with devotion." "That.s exactly what I am worried about." the Hodja said, "It is so devoutly praying that pretty soon it will want to go down on the ground and prostrate!"
Restoring The Moon
One night the Hodja looked into his well and saw there the reflection wise old sayings of the full moon.
"Oh no!" he exclaimed. "The moon has fallen from the sky and into my well!" He ran into his house and returned with a hook attached to a rope. He then threw the hook into the water and commenced to pull it up again, but it became stuck on the side of the well.
Frantically the Hodja tugged and pulled with all his might. The hook suddenly came loose, and the Hodja fell over backwards, landing flat on his back. Scarcely able to move, he looked up into the sky and saw the full moon above him.
"I may have injured myself in doing so," he said with satisfaction, "but at least I got the moon back into the sky where it belongs."
The Pita Bread
The chief of police of Aksehir was a corrupt man who had made a fortune by receiving bribes. One day Timur asked him to bring his books in for xamination. Nasreddin Hodja was present at this interview as well. When Timur saw the improbable amount of possessions listed in the chief's accounts, he got very upset. He ripped each page of the accounts and made the chief of police eat them. Nasreddin Hodja watched in horror.
Next, Timur asked the Hodja to collect the taxes of Aksehir and present them to him accompanied by a good list of how much is collected from whom. Nasreddin Hodja took this task very seriously, collected the taxes and kept accurate accounts. Then he asked his wife to bake a large pita bread. When the pita was ready, the Hodja wrote his numbers on it and presented it to Timur along with the collected money.
'Hodja, what is this?' asked Timur, `Why are your numbers on a pita bread?' `Great Timur, I did so just in case you would make me eat my accounts too.'
Full House
One of Nasreddin Hodja's neighbours asked the Hodja for some advice on how to manage his large family in his tiny little house.
"Hodja Effendi," he lamented, "our quarters are so small, we can't all fit in. Me and my wife, my mother-in-law, 3 kids... We are cramped up in our puny cottage. You are a wise man, you would know of a solution, please tell me what to do!"
"How many chickens do you have in the barn?" Hodja asked.
"Why, Hodja Effendi, I have 5 chickens and a rooster." "Take them all into the house!"
"Mercy!" the poor peasant protested, "Hodja Effendi, the house is small without the chickens."
"Try it!" Nasreddin Hodja insisted, "You will be grateful to me."
The neighbour was not convinced but he didn't dare question the wisdom of the Hodja. He took the chickens and the rooster inside the house. The next morning he ran to Hodja's house.
"Hodja Effendi, it is worse now. Me, my wife, my mother-in-law, 3 kids, 5 chickens and a rooster! We can't fit in at all!" he bemoaned.
However, Nasreddin Hodja was not moved.
"You have a donkey, don't you?"
"Yes, Hodja Effendi, I have one old donkey." answered the man.
"Take the donkey in!" said the Hodja.
No matter how much the neighbour objected, Nasreddin Hodja maintained that it was for his best and the hopeless man did as he was told. The next morning, he ran back to Hodja's house, this time more despairingly than ever. "Hodja Effendi! It is not possible. The wife, the mother-in-law, the kids, the chickens, the rooster and the donkey! We had a terrible night. There is no room to breathe."
"If I remember correctly, you had two lambs, did you not?"
"Oh, no! Hodja Effendi, don't tell me to take the lambs in. There is no room!" "Don't worry, my friend," the Hodja assured the desperate man, "You will thank me in the end."
The neighbour, hoping the Hodja knows something that he doesn't, took the two lambs in that night. The next morning he was at Hodja doorstep, wretched.
"Hodja Effendi, what are you doing to us? The house is packed full. My mother-in-law is threatening to kill me, my wife is threatening to leave me. This is not working at all."
Nasreddin Hodja considered for a moment, then he said: "Now, take all the live stock out of the house. Chickens, rooster, donkey and lambs; all back to the garden, back to the barn, back to the shed. Take them all out!"
Next morning, the neighbour was once again at Hodja's house. "Ahh, Hodja Effendi, you are indeed a wise man. You solved my problem. Now, our house is so large, so roomy, so much space for everyone, kids can play, we can sleep, everyone is happy." he said, "Thank you and may Allah bless you!"
First Sermon
On his first day as the village's imam, Nasreddin Hodja was seated on
the raised bench, preparing to give his sermon. The congregation was quite anxious to hear what he had to say. But The Hodja didn't really have a sermon ready.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?' he asked.
`No, Hodja Effendi, we don't,' they replied.
`If you don't know what I am going to talk about,' the Hodja said, `then I have nothing to tell you.'
And with that, he got up and left the mosque, leaving the puzzled people behind him. The next day, when it was the time of the sermon, Hodja was back on his seat and the congregation curiously waiting.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?' Hodja asked again.
Having learned from the previous day, the people were not about to say, no, this time.
`Yes, Hodja Effendi,' they all shouted, `we know.'
`Well,' said the Hodja, `if you already know what I am going to tell you, then I don't need to tell it to you!' He got up and left.
The people gathered in the mosque were at a loss. The third day Hodja came and sat down, and asked his question.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?'
The congregation was not going to let Hodja get away this time without giving a sermon. Some of them replied with, 'yes, we do.' and some of them replied with `no, we don't.'
`In that case,' said the Hodja, `Those who do know should tell the ones who do not know.' and slipped out of the mosque.


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