The Turkish Jester by Nasreddin Hoca


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Page 1

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi said, 'O Mussulmen, give thanks to God
Most High that He did not give the camel wings; for, had He given them,
they would have perched upon your houses and chimneys, and have caused
them to tumble upon your heads.'

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi having mounted the chair in a city, said,
'O Mussulmen, the air above this city is just like the air above my
city.' The congregation said, 'O Cogia Efendi, how do you know that?'
Said the Cogia, 'Because I have seen as many stars above this city as I
saw above Belgrade.'

One night the Cogia dreamt that he was given nine aspres, whereupon the
Cogia said, 'O now pray make them up ten'; afterwards he said, 'Make them
up eleven,' and then presently, a dispute having arisen, he awoke and saw
that in his hand he had nothing, thereupon closing his eyes anew and
stretching out his hands, he said, 'Well, well, I shall be content with
nine aspres.'

One day the Cogia went out into the plain, and as he was going along he
suddenly saw some men on horseback coming towards him. Cogia Efendi, in
a great hurry, set off towards a cemetery, and having reached it took off
his clothes, and entering into a tomb lay down. The horsemen, on seeing
the Cogia run away, followed him to the place where he lay, and said, 'O
fellow, {p:255} why do you lie here?' Cogia Efendi, finding nothing else
to say, replied, 'I am one of the buried people, but came here to walk.'

Cogia Efendi one day went into a garden, pulled up some carrots and
turnips and other kinds of vegetables, which he found, putting some into
a sack and some into his bosom; suddenly the gardener coming up, laid
hold of him, and said, 'What are you seeking here?' The Cogia, being in
great consternation, not finding any other reply, answered, 'For some
days past a great wind has been blowing, and that wind blew me hither.'
'But who pulled up these vegetables?' said the gardener. 'As the wind
blew very violently,' replied the Cogia, 'it cast me here and there, and
whatever I laid hold of in the hope of saving myself remained in my
hands.' 'Ah,' said the gardener, 'but who filled the sack with them?'
'Well,' said the Cogia, 'that is the very question I was about to ask
myself when you came up.'

One day Cogia Efendi, on whom God be merciful, went to the city of Conia,
and going into a pastry-cook's shop, seized hold of a tart, and saying,
'In the Name of God,' began to eat it. The pastry-cook cried out,
'Halloa, fellow, what are you about?' and fell to beating him. The Cogia
said, 'Oh what a fine country is this of Conia, in which, whilst a man
eats a tart, they put in a blow as a digester for every morsel.' {p:256}

Cogia Nasr Eddin, at the time of the Holy Ramadan, thought to himself,
'What must I do in order to hold the fast in conformity with the people?
I must prepare an earthen pot, and every day put a stone into it, and
when thirty days are completed I may hold my Beiram.' So he commenced
placing stones in the pot, one every day. Now it happened one day that a
daughter of the Cogia cast a handful of stones into the pot, and a little
time after some people asked the Cogia, 'What day of the month is it to-
day?' Now it happened to be the twenty-fifth. The Cogia, however, said
to them, 'Have patience and I will see'; and going to his house and
emptying the pot, perceived that there were a hundred and twenty stones
in it. Says the Cogia to himself, 'If I tell the people all this number
they will call me a fool.' So going to them he said, 'This day is the
forty-fifth day of the month.' But, said they, 'O Cogia, a month has in
all but thirty days, so how can you say that to-day is the forty-fifth?'
'I spoke quite within bounds,' said the Cogia. 'If you were to see the
account in the pot you would find that to-day is the hundred and

One day the Cogia was asked, 'When there is a new moon, what becomes of
the old one?' 'They make forty stars out of each,' said the Cogia.

One day the Cogia went out of the city along with a cafila or caravan of
people, and felt a {p:257} wish to ride. Now there was a camel belonging
to the cafila, and the Cogia said to himself, 'Now, if instead of walking
I should mount on this camel, how comfortably could I travel!' Thereupon
mounting on the camel, he proceeded along with the cafila. The camel,
however, falling to kicking, flung the Cogia to the earth and knelt upon
him. The Cogia cried out loudly, and the people of the cafila came and
rescued him. After a little time the Cogia, coming to his senses, said,
'O Mussulmen, did you not see how that perfidious camel maltreated me?
Now do hold the perfidious brute for me, that I may cut its throat.'

One day the Cogia bought a quantity of eggs at the rate of nine for the
aspre, and carrying them to another place, he sold them at the rate of
ten. Some people asking him, 'Why do you sell ten for what you gave for
nine?' the Cogia replied, 'I always wish my friends to see that I lose by
my bargains.'

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 5th Jun 2020, 23:10