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Nasruddin and the King

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    Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 11:05
Still reading Graeber's Debt: the first 5,000 years and I come across this little story that, he says, is an old Arab tale about the legendary Sufi mystic Nasruddin:
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Nasruddin is looking after an inn, when one day the king comes by with his courtiers. That king asks "Do you have any quail's eggs?" Nasruddin replies "Not at hand but I can go and get some" and the king says "then fine, I will have an omelette of 12 quail's eggs".
 
Nasruddin rushes out to the village, comes back with the eggs, makes the omelette, and gives it to the king, who eats it with delight. Nasruddin presents him with a bill for 1,000 gold pieces.
 
The king orders it paid, and asks in puzzlement: "Are quail's eggs really that rare here?"
 
"No", says Nasruddin. "Quail are common enough. Kings are rare."
The message is of course the same as Aristotle's "The price of goods is determined by the status of the buyer", which Joan Robinson, writing in the sixties, said was still to be improved on.
 
I'd like to know, if anyone can tell me, whether it really is an old Arab tale and/or where it comes from.
 
 
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 06 Mar 2012 at 11:06
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 12:54
I highly doubt it's Arabic in origin.  More likely Persian or Turkish.   
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 15:57
Originally posted by Wikipedia Wikipedia wrote:


Nasreddin
(Persian: خواجه نصرالدین Arabic: نصرالدین جحا‎ / ALA-LC: Naṣraddīn Juḥā, Turkish: Nasreddin Hoca, Ottoman Turkish: نصر الدين خواجه, Nasreddīn Hodja) was a Seljuq saturical Sufi figure, sometimes believed to have lived during the Middle Ages (around 13th century) and considered a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool or the butt of a joke. A Nasreddin story usually has a subtle humour and a pedagogic nature. The International Nasreddin Hodja fest is celebrated between 5–10 July in Akşehir, Turkey every year


I know dozens of Nasreddin Hoca stories but never heard that one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 16:26
Thanks. Looks like Graebner didn't spell it correctly, as well as getting the culture wrong. Smile
 
Still, I like the lesson of this one.
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Its old but its Turkish not Arabic although there is a not-so-different Arabic version of it as I am certain there are other versions of it in other cultures.
 
Khawajah Nassruddin is actually a real figure. He was a judge in Aksehir's equivalent of English assizes (which is why he has alot of travelling tales). While some tales were true (those concerning him as a judge or as an advocate) others were not (those showing him as an imbecile).
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paradigm of Humanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2012 at 17:21
These most famous ones:

Quote

The pot that gave birth

Hoca borrowed a large pot from his neighbor. Days and weeks went by and he did not return the pot. One day the neighbor stopped by and asked if he could have his pot back. Hoca apologized,
"I am sorry, I forgot to return it. But I have good news for you, while in my possesion your pot gave birth to a smaller pot".
So, he sent the happy neighbor home with two pots. Few weeks later Hoca knocked at his neighbor's door and asked if he could again borrow that large pot. The neighbor,after his recent gainful experience, was more than happy to lend his pot to Hoca. When days and weeks went by without a word from Hoca about the pot, the neighbor decided that he'd better go and see about his pot. When Hoca opened the door, the neighbor asked if hecould have his pot back. Hoca with a very sad face informed the man that while in his possesion, the large pot passed away. Shocked by Hoca's audacity, the man got angry and said:
"What do you think I am, an idiot to belive that the pot died?"
"Why my good man" replied Hoca with a smile, "You had no trouble believing that your pot gave birth?".




Quote

Timur's Elephant

Timur turns one of his male elephants over to the people of Aksehir ordering them to take care of it. In addition to wreaking havoc in the town, the elephant becoems a terrible burden on the people who are too poor to get decent food for themselves. A group of them visits Hodja with a request:
-Please ask Tamurlane to take the monster back.
Hodja says:
-Form a committee. Let's all go together. I'll serve as your spokesman.
A committee is formed of about fifteen prominent citizens of Aksehir. Hodja joins them, they set out, but since these people are terrified of Timur, they vanish one by one. Each one has an excuse:
-I've got to pass water, I've forgotten locking my home, etc.
Assuming that the committee is right behind him, Hodja briskly walks into Timur's tent and begins to make his plea:
-Sir, the people of our town...
He turns his back a little to point them out and suddenly realizes that not one of them came into the tent. Since he had started making his plea, he continues:
-The people of our town are so happy with the male elephant...They are happy beyond words, but there is a slight problem: The animal is lonesome and unhappy. We would like your Majesty to consider giving the people of the town a female elephant as a companion for him.
Timur is overjoyed to hear this plea.
-All right, he says. I shall do what the people wish, as soon as possible.
Hodja goes back to town. People gather around him asking him anxiously:
-Please tell us, Hodja, what happened?
-I have great news for you, beams Hodja. To keep the male calamity company, a female calamity will soon arrive. Now you can rejoice.



Quote

The Ways of God

One hot day, the Hodja was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eyeing speculatively, the huge pumkins growing on vines and the small walnuts growing on a majestic tree.
"Sometimes I just can't understand the ways of God!" he mused. "Just fancy letting tinny walnuts grow on so majestic a tree and huge pumkins on the
delicate vines!"
Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on the Hodja's bald head. He got up at once and lifting up his hands and face to heavens in supplication,
said:
"Oh, my God! Forgive my questioning your ways! You are all-wise. Where would I have been now, if pumpkins grew on trees!"



Quote

Three Questions (One of them: Center of the Earth)

In olden times some learned men would travel around extensively in search of facts or ideas to support their newly-formed theories. Three such men one day arrived in Aksehir, and calling on the governor, asked him to request the most learned man of the district to be present at the market place the next day, so that they would see whether they could profit by his ideas.
As the most learned man of Aksehir Nasreddin Hoca was duly informed and the next day he was there and ready for, what proved to be, a battle of wits.
Quite a crowd had gathered for the occasion.
One the learned men stepped forward and put the following question to the Hoca:
"Could you tell us the exact location of the centre of the world?"
"Yes, I can," replied the Hoca. "It is just under the left hind of my donkey."
"Well, maybe! But do you have any proof?"
"If you doubt my word, just measure and see."
There was nothing more to be said, so the learned man withdrew.
"Let me ask you this," said the second learned man, stepping forward.
"Can you tell us how many stars there are in the heavens?"
"As many as the hairs on my donkey's mane," was the ready reply.
"What proof have you in support of this statement?"
"If you doubt my word, you can count and find out."
"Come now, Hoca Effendi!" admonished the second learned man. "How can anyone count the hairs on your donkey's mane?"
"Well, when it comes to that, how can anyone count the stars in the skies?"
This silenced the second learned man, upon whose withdrawal the third one stepped forward.
"Since you seem so well acquainted with your donkey," said he sarcastically,
"can you tell us how many hairs there are on the tail of the beast?"
"Certainly," replied the Hoca, "as many as the hairs in your beard."
"And how can you prove that?"
"Very easily, if you have no objection! I can pull one hair from your beard for each hair you can pull out of my donkey's tail. If both hairs are not exhausted at the same time, then I will admit to have been mistaken."
Needless to say the third learned man had no desire to try the experiment, and the Hoca was cheered and hailed as the champion of the day's encounter.




Quote

If we don't cry, who will?

Tamerlane was an ugly man, blind in one eye and limped on one leg. One day, while Hodja was with him, Tamerlane scratched his hair, wanted to cut it and shouted the people
-call the barber!
The barber comes in,cuts his hair and as always the same, gives a mirror to his hand. Tamerlane looking in the mirror sees himself and finds out ugly one. He starts crying. Hodja cries too with him. So they cry together for some hours. People near Tamerlane try to calm him down by telling comic stories. His crying stops, but not Hodja's. At last,
-Listen! says Tamerlane to Hodja. I looked in mirror, found out myself ugly one, became sad; because I am not only the king, but also rich, I have many women. I am ugly, this was the reason why I cried. But what about you? Why
did you cry and keep crying still?"
-You looked in the mirror just once, saw yourself and cried since you couldn't resist. But what shall we, people who have to see your face all the days and nights,do? If we do not cry, who will? This is the reason why I am crying! replies Hodja.



Quote

Tiger Powder

One day Molla Nasreddin was sprinkling some powder on the ground around his house.
-Molla, what are you doing? a neighbor asked.
-I want to keep the tigers away.
-But there are no tigers within hundreds of miles.
-Effective, isn't it? Molla replied




Quote

The Sex Of The Dove From Noah's Ark

One day the Hodja was sunning himself outside the village coffee shop and sipping his coffee with relish. Some of his friends, having apparently nothing more serious to occupy their mind, were having a controversy about the sex of the dove that had brought the olive twig to Noah's Ark.
After a while, the Hodja decided to bring the silly controversy to an end.
-That's the simplest question in the world to answer, he intervened. "There can be not the slightest doubt that it was a male bird. Just imagine any female keeping her mouth shut for any length of time!"



Quote

Priceless and Worthless

One day his friends asked the Hodja:
-You are a wise man, Hodja Efendi. Can you tell us what you consider to be most precious in the world?
-Easily, said the Hodja, "I consider advice to be priceless."
His friends thought about this for some time, then asked again:
-Well, what do you consider to be worthless?
-I would say advice is the most worthless thing in the world.
-Come now, Hodja Effendi! objected his audience. "How can something be priceless and then again worthless? You must be making a mistake! "
-No, my friends. I know what I am talking about. An advice taken may be priceless, but consider how worthless it becomes when it's unwheeded!



Quote

So long as you are not inside ...

 

Again one day, one of
Neighbour died.
Everybody stopped working
And went for the funeral.

Meanwhile a man,
Came near Nasreddin
Said: "I'll ask a question,
to you My Hodja again!

We are much sad,
However must be patient!
But while carrying the coffin,
Which side must we walk?"

Hodja replied: "Certainly,
this is the end of all people!
So long as you are not inside
No matter, be wherever you want!"



Quote

The criticism of men

 

Hodja and his son went on a journey once. Hodja preferred that his son ride the donkey and that he himself go on foot. On the way they met some people who said:

-Look at that healthy young boy! That is today's youth for you. They have no respect for elders. He rides on the donkey and makes his poor father walk!

When they had passed by these people the boy felt very ashamed and insisted that he walk and his father ride the donkey. So Hodja mounted the donkey and the boy walked at his side. A little later they met some other people who said:

-Well, look at that! That poor little boy has to walk while his father rides the donkey.

After they had passed by these people, Hodja told his son:

-The best thing to do is for both of us to walk. Then no one can complain.

So they continued on their journey, both of them walking. A little ways down the road they met some others who said:

-Just take a look at those fools. Both of them are walking under this hot sun and neither of them are riding the donkey!

Hodja turned to his son and said:

-That just goes to show how hard it is to escape the opinions of men.







Edited by Paradigm of Humanity - 06 Mar 2012 at 17:32
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