A kinsman came to see the Mullah from somewhere deep in the country, bringing a duck as a gift. Delighted, Nasruddin had the bird cooked and shared it with his guest. Presently, however, one countryman after another started to call, each one the friend of the friend of the “man who brought the duck.” No further presents were forthcoming.
At length the Mullah was exasperated. One day yet another stranger appeared. “I am the friend of the friend of the friend of the relative who brought you the duck.”
He sat down, like all the rest, expecting a meal. Nasruddin handed him a bowl of hot water.
“What is this?”
“That is the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck which was brought by my relative.”
Nasruddin, ferrying a pedant across a piece of rough water, said something ungrammatical to him. “Have you never studied grammar?” asked the scholar.
“Then half of your life has been wasted.”
A few minutes later Nasruddin turned to the passenger. “Have you ever learned how to swim?”
“Then all your life is wasted–we are sinking!”
One day Mullah Nasruddin entered his favorite teahouse and said, “The moon is more useful than the sun”.
An old man asked, “Why Mullah?”
Nasruddin replied, “We need the light more during the night than during the day.”
Nasruddin used to take his donkey across a frontier every day, with the panniers loaded with straw. Since he admitted to being a smuggler when he trudged home every night, the frontier guards searched him again and again. They searched his person, sifted the straw, steeped it in water, even burned it from time to time. Meanwhile he was becoming visibly more and more prosperous.
Then he retired and went to live in another country. Here one of the customs officers met him, years later.
“You can tell me now, Nasruddin,” he said. “Whatever was it that you were smuggling, when we could never catch you out?”
“Donkeys,” said Nasruddin.
A king who enjoyed Nasruddin’s company, and also liked to hunt, commanded him to accompany him on a bear hunt. Nasruddin was terrified.
When Nasruddin returned to his village, someone asked him: “How did the hunt go?”
“How many bears did you see?”
“How could it have gone marvelously, then?”
“When you are hunting bears, and when you are me, seeing no bears at all is a marvelous experience.”
On one occasion, a neighbor found Nasruddin down on his knees looking for something.
“What have you lost, Mullah?”
“My key,” said Nasruddin.
After a few minutes of searching, the other man said, “Where did you drop it?”
“Then why, for heaven’s sake, are you looking here?”
“There is more light here.”
A neighbor came to borrow Nasruddin’s clothesline.
“I am sorry, but I am drying flour on it.”
“But how can you dry flour on a line?”
“It is less difficult than you think, when you don’t want to lend it.”
The Mullah nearly fell into a pool of water. A passer-by saved him in the nick of time. Every time they met in future, the man reminded Nasruddin about how he had prevented him from getting wet.
Ultimately, unable to stand it any longer, the Mullah took his friend to the pool, jumped in as far as his neck, and shouted: “Now I am as I would have been if I had never met you! Will you leave me alone?”
“I can see in the dark.” Nasruddin claimed to his friend.
“That may be so, Mullah. But if it is true, why do you sometimes carry a candle at night?”
“To prevent other people from bumping into me.”
The Mullah walked into a shop one day.
The owner came forward to serve him.
“First things first,” said Nasruddin; “did you see me walk into your shop?”
“Have you ever seen me before?”
“Never in my life.”
“Then how do you know it is me?”
One day Nasruddin saw a strange-looking building at whose doors a contemplative Yogi sat. The Mullah decided that he would learn something from this impressive figure, and started a conversation by asking him who and what he was.
“I am a Yogi,” said the other, “and I spend my time in trying to attain harmony with all living things.”
“That is interesting,” said Nasruddin, “because a fish once saved my life.”
The Yogi begged him to join him, saying that in a lifetime devoted to trying to harmonize himself with the animal creation, he had never been so close to such communion as the Mullah had been.
When they had been contemplating for some days, the Yogi begged the Mullah to tell him more of his wonderful experience with the fish, “now that we know one another better.”
“Now that I know you better,” said Nasruddin, “I doubt whether you would profit by what I have to tell.”
But the Yogi insisted. “Very well,” said Nasruddin, “The fish saved my life all right. I was starving at the time, and it sufficed me for three days.”
Nasruddin was throwing handfuls of bread all round his house. “What are you doing?” someone asked.
“Keeping the tigers away.”
“But there are no tigers around here.”
“Exactly. Effective, isn’t it?”