The Turkish Jester by Nasreddin Hoca


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Page 3

Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi had a lamb which he had fattened to a high
degree. One day some of his friends having assembled, said, 'Let us get
the lamb from the Cogia and feast upon it.' So coming to the Cogia as
quick as possible, they said, 'O Cogia, to-morrow is the Day of Judgment;
what would you do with this lamb? Come, take it, and let us eat it.' The
Cogia, however, would not believe them. Coming again, however, they said
the same thing, and the Cogia, at last believing their words were true,
slaughtered the lamb, and, taking it on his back, he carried it to the
public walk, and, lighting a fire, he began to prepare a roast.
Presently, stripping their bodies, they delivered their clothes to the
Cogia, and each went aside to sleep. Whereupon the Cogia, taking their
garments, flung them all into the fire and burnt them. In a little time,
their bellies becoming hungry from the sleep they had had, they came
again, and saw that their garments were nearly reduced to a coal.
Whereupon they said to the Cogia, 'Who burnt our clothes?' 'My dear
friends,' replied the Cogia, 'to-morrow is the Day of Resurrection, so
what need can you have of clothes?' {p:262}

One day a thief, entering the house of the Cogia, laid hold of everything
there was there, and, placing it on his back, went away. The Cogia,
however, spying somebody going out, followed the thief, who went into his
own house. The Cogia following close behind, pushed against him at the
door. Whereupon the thief said, 'What do you want, Cogia Efendi?' 'What
do I want?' said the Cogia. 'Why, are we not going to remove hither to-
day?'

One day certain individuals stole from the Cogia a sum of money,
whereupon the Cogia said, 'O Lord, what need have you that you give my
money to others.' So he made a dreadful outcry, and going into the
mosque, wept until it was morning, groaning like a ship labouring in the
sea. Those who were there said, 'Ye who have found salvation make up a
sum of money for the Cogia.' So whosoever had found salvation through
the assistance of the Almighty made up what he could, and brought it to
the Cogia. Whereupon the Cogia exclaimed, 'Allah, Allah! by lying one
night publicly in the mosque and weeping, I have caused Allah to send me
my money again.'

One day the Cogia borrowed a cauldron of a brazier, and carrying it home,
put a little saucepan into it, and then carrying it back, returned it to
its owner. The owner seeing a little saucepan in the cauldron, said,
'What is this?' {p:263} 'Why,' cried the Cogia, 'the cauldron has borne
a child'; whereupon the owner took possession of the saucepan. One day
the Cogia asked again for the cauldron, and having obtained it, carried
it home. The owner of the cauldron waited one day and even five days for
his utensil, but no cauldron coming, he went to the house of the Cogia
and knocked at the door. The Cogia coming to the door, said, 'What do
you want?' 'The cauldron,' said the man. 'Oh, set your heart at rest,'
said the Cogia, 'the cauldron is dead.' 'O Cogia,' said the man, 'can a
cauldron die?' 'Oh,' said the Cogia, 'as you believed it could bear a
child, why should you not believe that it can die?'

One day the Cogia, walking amongst the sepulchres, saw a large dog lying
upon a gravestone. The Cogia, in a great rage laying hold on a stick,
aimed a blow at the dog, who in his turn assaulted the Cogia. The Cogia
fearing that he should be torn to pieces, said to the dog, 'Get you gone:
I conquered. Get you gone.'

One day the Cogia laying hold on a crane, took it home, and saying that
its beak and feet were very long, cut them off with a knife; and placing
it on a lofty place, said, 'Now you look like a bird.'

One day the Cogia having made his broth very hot, burnt his mouth, and
making a great outcry, {p:264} ran into the street, saying, 'Make way,
brothers: there is a fire in my belly.'

A Moolah, who had travelled about Arabia, Persia, Hindustan, and, in a
word, the whole seven climes without finding any one who could answer his
questions, was told by a man, 'In this country there is a man called
Cogia Nasr Eddin, who will answer your questions if any one can.' The
Moolah arising, went straight to Belgrade, where he bought an aspre's
worth of pomegranates, which he placed in his bosom. Going out of the
suburbs of Belgrade, he saw a man going to his labour; now this was the
Cogia himself. Going up to him he saw a man like a fakeah, with shoes of
raw hide on his feet and a kiebbeh or rough cloak on his back. When he
was close by him he said to him, 'Salaam'; and the Cogia saying to him,
'Peace be unto you,' said, 'Moolah Efendi, for what have you come?' The
Moolah replied, 'Can you answer a question which I shall ask?' The Cogia
said, 'I can.' 'Do you know so-and-so?' The Cogia said, 'I can do
nothing without being paid. What will you give me?' The Moolah taking
the pomegranates which were in his bosom, gave him one; whereupon the
Cogia answered his question, and got all his pomegranates, one by one,
till not a single grain remained. The Moolah then said, 'I have yet one
question to ask.' The Cogia replied, 'Go your way: don't trouble me. The
pomegranates are spent.' Whereupon the Moolah went away, saying, 'If the
labourers of Moom {p:265} are of this description, what must the learned
men be?'

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 15th Oct 2019, 21:29