Mullah Nasr Eddin, or Hodja Nasr Eddin, is a legendary Turkish teller of tales, a sort of wise fool, to whom all sorts of exploits are attributed. Here are two stories told about him:
Mullah Nasr Eddin went to the bazaar to buy some cloth. To his dismay, he found that the booths of the cloth vendors were full of customers, bidding against each other and driving the prices up. After a moment’s thought, the wily Mullah placed himself at the lower end of the bazaar and began to shout, “Oh people! You should see the bargains at this end of the bazaar! Oh, what bargains! They are giving things away down here!”
A few people moved away from the cloth vendors’ booths to see what the noise was about. Someone began to walk faster and then someone else ran, and soon more and more people were flocking into the booths at the lower end of the bazaar, leaving those of the cloth vendors practically empty. Mullah Nasr Eddin watched them at first with glee and then with a growing anxiety.
“l wonder,” he thought; “what if … ? Perhaps there are bargains down there!” and he ran as fast as he could after the crowd.
Mullah Nasr Eddin asked his neighbor if he could borrow his big cooking pot, but the neighbor was very unwilling to part with it.
“Only for one week!” the Mullah pleaded. It is my daughter’s wedding, and there are many people to feed. Dear good friend, do help me out”
“All right, for a week,” the other said grudgingly
But great was his surprise and delight when exactly at the week’s end the Mullah came to his house with the pot, and showed him, inside the pot, a little pot.
“What is this?” the man asked in astonishment.
“I am happy to tell you,” said Mullah Nasr Eddin, “that while your pot was at my house, it had a baby.”
“How splendid!” said the neighbor, completely bewildered, but eagerly accepting both pots.
A month or so later, Mullah Nasr Eddin again appeared at his house and asked for the loan of his pot.
“My wife’s family are visiting me,” he began to explain, but the other needed no further excuse.
“Say no more, my dear friend,” he said. “You took such good care of my pot the last time, I have no scruple in lending her to you again.”
So Mullah Nasr Eddin went off lugging the pot. But time passed, and he did not reappear.
At last one his neighbor met him on the street.
”But where is my pot?” he asked.
Mullah Nasr Eddin looked very sad.
“Alas,” he said. “I regret to tell you that while your pot was at my house, it died.”
“Nonsense!” shouted the other. “How ridiculous! How can a pot die?”
“Well,” said Mullah Nasr Eddin, lifting his hands, “if a pot can have a baby, surely a pot can die!” ♦
From Parabola’s very first issue Volume 1, No. 1 “The Hero,” Winter 1976. This issue is available to purchase here. If you have enjoyed this piece, consider subscribing.