In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in the first moment: our optimism, our faith, our resolution, and our innocence.
In order to start, we must make a decision. The decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone and naked, we negotiate all of life's travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.
Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.
Heron stands in the blue estuary,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey is captured.
People always ask how to follow Tao. It is as easy and natural as the heron standing in the water. The bird moves when it must; it does not move when stillness is appropriate.
The secret of its serenity is a type of vigilance, a contemplative state. The heron is not in mere dumbness or sleep. It knows a lucid stillness. It stands unmoving in the flow of the water. It gazes unperturbed and is aware. When Tao brings it something that it needs, it seizes the opportunity without hesitation or deliberation. Then it goes back to its quiescence without disturbing itself or its surroundings. Unless it found the right position in the water's flow and remained patient, it would not have succeeded.
Actions in life can be reduced to two factors; positioning and timing. If we are not in the right place at the right time, we cannot possibly take advantage of what life has to offer us.
Almost anything is appropriate if an action is in accord with the time and place. But we must be vigilant and prepared. Even if the time and the place are right, we can still miss our chance if we do not notice the moment, if we act inadequately, or if we hamper ourselves with doubts and second thoughts.
When life presents an opportunity, we must be ready to seize it without hesitation or inhibition. Position is useless without awareness. If we have both, we make no mistakes.
The Next Book of Nasruddin
The name that every Afghan remembers hearing about in childhood. Here are few of the thousands of humorous and thoughtful stories about Him. His origin is being claimed by three countries. Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. "The Nasruddin stories, known throughout the Middle East, constitute one of the strangest achievements in the history of metaphysics. Superficially, most of the Nasruddin stories may be used as jokes. They are told and retold endlessly in the teahouses and caravanserais, in the homes and on the radio waves, of Asia. But it is inherent in the Nasruddin story that it may be understood at any of many depths. There is the joke, the moral - and the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realization."
The Cow and the Judge
Qazi (Judge) Nasruddin was working in his room one day when a neighbor ran in and said, "If one man's cow kills another's, is the owner of the first cow responsible?"
"It depends," answered Nasruddin.
"Well," said the man, "your cow has killed mine."
"Oh," answered Nasruddin. "Everyone knows that a cow cannot think like a human, so a cow is not responsible, and that means that its owner is not responsible either."
"I'm sorry, Judge," said the man. "I made a mistake. I meant that my cow killed yours."
Judge Nasruddin thought for a few seconds and then said, "When I think about it more carefully, this case is not as easy as I thought at first." And then he turned to his clerk and said, "Please bring me that big black book from the shelf behind you..."
Mullah Nasruddin and his wife came home one day to find the house burgled. Everything portable had been taken away.
“It's all your fault,” said his wife, “for you should have made sure that the house was locked before we left.”
The Neighbors took up the chant:
“You did not lock the windows,” said one.
“Why did you not expect this?” said another.
“The locks were faulty and you did not replace them,” said a third.
“Just a moment,” said Nasruddin, “surely I am not the only one to blame?”
“And who should we blame?” they shouted.
“What about the thieves?” said Nasruddin. “Are they totally innocent?”
The Fortuitous Burglar
That was the time Mullah Nasruddin's family was very poor. One day Nasruddin 's wife woke him in the middle of the night and whispered,
“Nasruddin, There is a thief in the kitchen!”
“Shhh... Stupid woman!” replied Nasruddin. “Let him be. Perhaps he’ll find something valuable, then we seize it!”
The Donkey and the Official
Mulla Nasrudin had an insatiable craving for knowledge, but did not seem to know what knowledge was. As a result he asked a local wise man the stupidest questions, always based upon random assumptions
One day the Mull a noticed that his donkey was missing. He ran to the wise man’s house. ‘Well, Mulla, what is it this time?'
'My donkey is gone! Where can I find it?'
The wise man was quite fed up with the Mulla. 'Nasrudin,' he said, 'the donkey has run off, turned into a man and been appointed the magistrate in the next town.'
Thanking the wise man for his information, the Mulla trudged to the court. There sat the magistrate, and Nasrudin shook his fist at him:
'Come home at once, you foolish animal!'
The magistrate was furious. 'Who are you and how dare you talk to me like that? I'll have you sent to the prison!'
'I'm the well-known Mulla Nasrudin, and I have it on the best authority that you are my donkey.'
'That's ridiculous. Nobody in his right senses would credit such a thing!'
Nasrudin drew himself up to his full height. 'Say what you like he said, 'I prefer to believe the statement of a wise man rather than that of a donkey.'
The Mullah's wife sent him to buy some bread. When the Mullah arrived at the bread shop he saw a long line waiting to buy bread. He thought he would do something to get in front of the line. He shouted, "People, don't you know the Sultan's daughter is getting married tonight and he is giving away free bread?"
The multitude ran toward the palace as the Sultan was generous to a fault and loved his daughter more than anyone. The Mullah was now in front of the line and was about to buy his bread when he thought to himself, "Mullah, you are truly a fool. All the citizen's are getting free bread tonight and I am about to pay for it. So he ran to the palace and when he got there was thoroughly beaten by the disappointed people. The Soup
A farmer came to town as a guest of the Mullah. The farmer brought a goose as a gift for the Mullah. That night Mullah Nasrudin's wife cooked the goose and served it in a feast with many other delicacies to the Mullah and others with the farmer sitting in the place of honor among the guests.
The farmer returned home the next day and a week later a stranger knocked on the Mullah's door saying, "I am the friend of the guy who brought you the goose." The Mullah welcomed him and asked his wife to cook a big meal and invited the stranger to dinner. Hardly a week had gone by when another stranger came claiming to be the friend of the friend of the guy who had brought the goose. Once again the stranger was fed a big meal and so was the next stranger who was the friend of the friend of the friend of the guy who had brought the goose.
By this time the Mullah and his wife had become pretty fed up of feeding all the countryside. Nasrudin's wife told him that they had only one chicken left. Mullah said not to worry since he had a plan.
When the next friend of the friend of the friend of the friend of the guy who had brought the goose arrived the Mullah told his wife to boil some water and serve it in a soup bowl. The guest tasted the water and asked what kind of a soup was this. The Mullah replied, "Sir you have before you the soup of the soup of the soup of the soup of the goose that the friend of your friend of your friend of your friend brought."
No more strangers visited Mullah after that.
The mullah got a job at the Bazaar as a porter. Today he had to load bags of wheat onto a cart. The foreman noticed that he was carrying one bag where the other workers carried two. The Forman asked the Mullah, "How come you only carry one bag at a time and all the others carry two?" The Mullah replied, "I'm not that lazy to make one trip when I can make two."
This merchant in Baghdad had some bad luck. A thief robbed his house of all his gold. The authorities caught the thief but he would not reveal where he had hidden the merchant gold. One night in a dream he was told by a Genie to go to Cairo to seek his fortune. So with great difficulty he made his way to Cairo. When he got there as it happened there was a robbery and the people caught him and beat him up and then took him to the Captain of the guard. He told his story of how he had left his home in Baghdad and arrived in Cairo in search of his fortune.
The Captain told him, "You fool, three times I dreamt a Genie who said that if I went to Baghdad I would find a great oak tree next to a well on top of a hill overlooking the great mosque. He said if I searched the well, I would find a great treasure. But, I'm wise. I stayed home. You don't find me going on a wild goose chase. The merchant recognized the well as that in his own home and returned home. He searched his well and found his stolen wealth.
The master was attending the wake of a friend. But keeping in accordance with the deceased wishes, the family had requested that the casket remain closed.
The deceased was very well liked, and many people lined up to walk past the casket. Some kneeled in prayer beside it while others placed their hands on the closed lid and said their final good-byes.
Meanwhile, the master sat quietly in the back of the room. Before long, the funeral director approached and stated with some embarrassment, "Excuse me, I know you were a great friend of the deceased, and there is something I must tell you. My embalmer was sick today, so I had no choice but to leave the body in the basement refrigerator. So now, all these good people are paying homage to an empty box!"
The master smiled and said "Tell me sir, how would it be different if his body were in the casket?"
A businessman was highly critical of his competitors' storefront windows. "Why, they are the dirtiest windows in town," he claimed.
Fellow business people grew tired of the man's continual criticism and nitpicking comments about the windows. One day over coffee, the businessman carried the subject just too far. Before leaving, a fellow storeowner suggested the man get his own windows washed.
He followed the advice, and the next day at coffee, he exclaimed, "I can't believe it. As soon as I washed my windows, my competitor must have cleaned his too. You should see them shine."
Bohlul was sitting on a bridge, watching the river flow by. The king saw him, and immediately had him arrested. "A bridge is for passing, not for staying!" said the king. Bohlul then replied to the king, "You should take a look at yourself. Look at how you are clinging to this life."
Nasrudin the Advisor
Some say that Nasrudin lived in the time of the great conqueror Tamerlane, and was one of his advisers.
One day, so goes the tale, Timur the Lame called the Mulla and said, 'Nasrudin, the Empire is full of slanderers. How can we stop their evil work?'
'You can never stop crime unless you punish all the criminals,' said Nasrudin.
'You mean the slanderers?'
'And their accomplices - those who listen to them,' the Mulla reminded him.
Nasrudin and the Frog
Nasrudin went to a bar regularly. Whenever he sat down to drink, he used to take out a frog from his pocket and put it on the table. It was his pet. He would start drinking and after a while, he would stop. He would then put back the frog in the pocket and leave. Everyone was astonished about this.
One day he went to drink again. The bartender came to him and murmured, "Drinks for you on the house today, sir."
"Thank you" Nasrudin said, " What is the occasion?"
"Please tell me why do you always bring this frog with you. I am very curious."
Nasrudin paused for a while. Then he answered, "Look, it is very simple. When I begin to see two frogs on the table, I remember it is time for me to leave. Otherwise, I might fall on my way home and have injury. So after some drinks, I put the frog back and leave."
After Nasrudin went back to drinking. The bartender whispered to the waitress, “Go find a second frog for me.”
Watering the Plants
Nasrudin used to water his plants daily. He would bring the container near the plants and pour from it. But no water would come out. But he kept pouring one by one lost in his own world. His close neighbor who was watching this for quite some days came to him and asked, "Excuse me, Nasrudin, may I ask you something?"
Nasrudin smiled, "Sure"
Neighbor, “You are pouring water to these plants everyday but I don't see water coming out from the container. What is the matter?”
Nasrudin again smiled, “ No need of water. What do you think these plants are? They are all plastic.”
The neighbor (even more confused): “For god's sake, tell me then why is there any need of pretending to put water in these plastic plants?”
Nasrudin laughed: “So that the neighbors would not think these are plastic plants. It is just between you and me. If I don't pretend to water them regularly, they might find out these are not real, after all.”
Once Nasrudin was standing by the road near his house. A car came and stopped in front of him. A gentleman from the car rolled down the window and asked, "Sir, can you tell me which is the way to Delhi?"
Nasrudin watched him for a while and said, "Go left, then go right. After 9 km, turn right. Again take left. Now turn right. Continue for another 9 km and you will come to a crossroad. Now go straight and you will reach there."
"Thank you" said the man and the car left. After a while he came back to Nasrudin. Annoyingly he said, "What is all this? I followed all your directions properly and here I am at the same place where I began from."
Nasrudin coolly replied, "Fine, I was just checking whether you can follow the directions or not. Now I will give you proper directions to Delhi."
The Man against Sufis and Dhu Nun
A certain young man was always speaking against Sufis. One day, Dhu Nun took the ring from his finger and gave it to the man.
"Take this to the market and sell it for a dollar," he said.
The young man took it to the market and tried to sell it, but no one would give him more than 10 cents for it. The young man returned to Dhu Nun with the news.
"Now, take the ring to the jewelers and see what they price it at," said Dhu Nun.
The jewelers priced the ring at 1000 dollars.
"You know as much about Sufis," Dhu Nun told the young man when he returned, "as those people in the marketplace know about this ring."
The young man repented, and disbelieved in the Sufis no more.
[Adapted from Farid-ud-Din Attar's "Tadhkirat al-Awliyya" / "Memorial of the Saints."]
Rabi`a's gifts to Hasan of Basra
Once Rabi`a al-Adawiyya sent Hasan of Basra three things - a piece of wax, a needle, and a hair.
"Be like wax," she said. "Illumine the world, and yourself burn. Be like a needle, always be working naked. When you have done these two things, a thousand years will be for you as a hair."
"Do you desire for us to get married?" Hasan asked Rabi`a.
"The tie of marriage applies to those who have being," Rabi`a replied. "Here being has disappeared, for I have become naughted to self and exist only through Him. I belong wholly to Him. I live in the shadow of His control. You must ask my hand of Him, not of me."
"How did you find this secret, Rabi`a?" Hasan asked.
"I lost all `found' things in Him," Rabi`a answered.
"How do you know Him?" Hasan inquired.
"You know the `how'; I know the `how-less'," Rabi`a said.
“How old are you, Mulla?” Someone asked,
“Three years older than my brother.” Replied Nasruddin
“How do you know that?” asked the stranger.
“Reasoning. Last year, I heard my brother tell someone that I was two years older than him. A year has passed. That means that I am older by one year. I shall soon be old enough to be his grandfather.”
Tit for Tat
Nasruddin went into a shop to buy a pair of trousers. Then he changed his mind and chose a cloak instead, at the same price. Picking up the cloak, he left the shop.
“You have not paid,” shouted the merchant.
“I left you the trousers, which were of the same value as the cloak.”
“But you did not pay for the trousers, either.”
“Of course not,” said Mullah, “Why should I pay for something that I did not want to buy?”
One day, Mullah Nasruddin entered his favorite teahouse and said; “the moon is more useful than the sun.”
An old man asked “Why Mulla?”
Nasruddin replied, “We need the light more during the night than during the day.”
A friend asked the Mullah, “How old are you?”
“Forty” replied the Mullah.
The friend said, “But you said the same thing two years ago!”
“Yes,” replied the mullah, “I always stand by what I have said.”
When You Face Things Alone
A neighbor noticed that Nasruddin was weeping over his lost donkey and said, “you may have lost your donkey, Nasruddin, but you don’t have to grieve over it more than you did about the loss of your first wife.”
Nasruddin replied, “Ah, but if you remember, when I lost my wife, all you villagers said ‘We’ll find you someone else.’ So far, nobody has offered to replace my donkey.”
Nasruddin nearly fell into a pool one day. A man whom he knew slightly was nearby, and saved him. Every time he met Nasruddin after that he would remind him of the service which he had performed. When this had happened several times Nasruddin took him to the water, jumped in, stood with his head just above water and shouted: “Now I am as wet as I would have been if you had not saved me! Leave me alone.”
A certain man asked the famous Mulla Nasrudin, "What is the meaning of fate, Mulla?"
Mulla replied, "Assumptions."
"In what way?" the man asked again.
Mulla looked at him and said, "You assume things are going to go well, and they don't - that you call bad luck. You assume things are going to go badly and they don't - that you call good luck. You assume that certain things are going to happen or not happen - and you so lack intuition that you don't know what is going to happen. You assume that the future is unknown. When you are caught out - you call that Fate."
Why We Are Here
Walking one evening along a deserted road, Nasruddin saw a troop of horsemen rapidly approaching. His imagination started to work; he saw himself captured or robbed or killed and frightened by this thought he bolted, climbed a wall into a graveyard, and lay down in an open grave to hide.
Puzzled at his bizarre behavior, the horsemen - honest travelers - followed him. They found him stretched out, tense, and shaking.
"What are you doing in that grave? We saw you run away. Can we help you? Why are you here in this place?"
"Just because you can ask a question does not mean that there is a straightforward answer to it," said Nasruddin, who now realized what had happened. "It all depends upon your viewpoint. If you must know, however, I am here because of you - and you are here because of me!"
The Unshaven Man
A man was walking along the street when he passed another man with a lot of stubble on his face standing outside a shop. The first man asked:
"How often do you shave?
“Twenty or thirty times a day," answered the man with the stubble.
"What! You must be a freak!" exclaimed the first man.
"No, I'm only a barber," replied the man with the stubble.
One day, one of Mullah Nasruddin's friend came over and wanted to borrow his donkey for a day or two. Mullah, knowing his friend, was not kindly inclined to the request, and came up with the excuse that someone had already borrowed his donkey. Just as Mullah uttered these words, his donkey started braying in his backyard. Hearing the sound, his friend gave him an accusing look, to which Mullah replied: "I refuse to have any further dealings with you since you take a donkey's word over mine."
Nasruddin and the Violin
Once, Mullah Nasruddin bought a violin. And he began to play. NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE....
Same note, same string, over and over.
After a few hours his wife was at her wits' end. "Nasruddin!" she screamed.
Nasruddin put down the bow. "Yes dear?"
"Why do you play the same note? It's driving me crazy! All the real violin players move their fingers up and down, play on different strings! Why don't you play like they do?"
"Well dear, I know why they go up and down and try all different strings."
Why is that?"
"They're looking for *this* note." And he picked up his bow and resumed his playing.
The False Prophet
A certain man claimed to be a prophet and was brought before the Sultan, who said to him, "I bear witness that you are a stupid prophet!"
The man replied, "That is why I have only been sent to people like you."
The Poor Story Teller
Someone said to Ashab, "If you were to relate traditions and stop telling jokes, you would be doing a noble thing."
"By God!" answered Ashab, "I have heard traditions and related them."
"Then tell us,” said the man.
"I heard from Nafai," said Ashab, "on the authority of such-and-such, that the Prophet, may God bless him, said, "There are two qualities, such that whoever has them is among God's elect."
"That is a fine tradition,” said the man. "What are these two qualities?"
"Nafai forgot one and I have forgotten the other," replied Ashab.
Nasruddin and the Bedouins
"When I was in the desert," said Nasruddin one day, "I caused an entire tribe of horrible and bloodthirsty Bedouins to run."
"However did you do it?"
"Easy. I just ran, and they ran after me.”
Nasruddin at the Fashion Show
Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town, he was invited to attend a fashion show. He went, and afterwards he was asked how he liked it.
"It's a complete swindle!" he exclaimed indignantly.
"Whatever do you mean?" he was asked.
"They show you the women - and then try to sell you the clothes!"
Nasruddin and the Tourist
Mullah Nasruddin went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and on the way he passed through Medina. As he was walking by the main mosque there, a rather confused looking tourist approached him. "Excuse me sir," said the tourist, "but you look like a native of these parts; can you tell me something about this mosque? It looks very old and important, but I've lost my guidebook."
Nasruddin, being too proud to admit that he, too, had no idea what it was, immediately began an enthusiastic explanation. "This is indeed a very old and special mosque." he declared, "It was built by Alexander the Great to commemorate his conquest of Arabia."
The tourist was suitably impressed, but presently a look of doubt crossed his face. "But how can that be?" he asked, "I'm sure that Alexander was a Greek or something, not a Muslim... Wasn't he?"
"I can see that you know something of these matters." replied Nasruddin with chagrin, "In fact, Alexander was so impressed at his good fortune in war that he converted to Islam in order to show his gratitude to God."
"Oh, wow." said the tourist, and then paused. "Hey, but surely there was no such thing as Islam in Alexander's time?"
"An excellent point! It is truly gratifying to meet a visitor who understands our history so well," answered Nasruddin. "As a matter of fact, he was so overwhelmed by the generosity God had shown him that as soon as the fighting was over he began a new religion, and became the founder of Islam."
The tourist looked at the mosque with new respect, but before Nasruddin could quietly slip into the passing crowd, another problem occurred to him. "But wasn't the founder of Islam named Mohammed? I mean, that's what I read in a book; at least I'm sure it wasn't Alexander."
"I can see that you are a scholar of some learning," said Nasruddin, "I was just getting to that. Alexander felt that he could properly dedicate himself to his new life as a prophet only by adopting a new identity. So, he gave up his old name and for the rest of his life called himself Mohammed."
"Really?" wondered the tourist, "That's amazing! But...but I thought that Alexander the Great lived a long time before Mohammed? Is that right?"
"Certainly not!" answered the Mullah, "You're thinking of a different Alexander the Great. I'm talking about the one named Mohammed."
Mulla was told that he would lose his phone if he didn’t retract what he had said to the general manager of the phone company in the course of conversation over the wire. “Very well, Mulla Nasrudin will apologize,” he said.
He called main 7777.
“Is that you Mr. Doolittle?”
“This is Mulla Nasrudin.”
“This morning in the heat of discussion I told you to go to hell!”
“WELL,” said Nasrudin, "DON’T GO!”
To the Editor
The editor of town weekly received this letter from Mulla Nasrudin: “Dear Sir: Last week I lost my watch which I valued highly. The next day I ran an ad in your newspaper. Yesterday, I went home and found my watch in the pocket of my brown suit. YOUR PAPER IS WONDERFUL.”
Father and Son
Mulla Nasrudin, a distraught father, visiting his son in a prison waiting room, turned on him and said: “I am fed up with your record: attempted robbery, attempted burglary, attempted murder, attempted assassination. What a failure you have turned out to be; you can’t succeed in anything you try out.”
The Second Time Around
Mulla Nasrudin and one of his friends rented a boat and went fishing. In a remote part of the lake they found a spot where the fish were really biting.
“We’d better mark this spot so we can come back tomorrow,” said the Mulla.
“O.k., I’ll do it,” replied his friend.
When they got back to the dock, the Mulla asked, “Did you mark that spot?”
“Sure said the second, “I put a chalk mark on the side of the boat.”
“YOU NITWIT,” said Nasrudin. “HOW DO YOU KNOW WE WILL GET THE SAME BOAT TOMORROW?”
NASRUDDIN - Keeper of Faith In Turkey, where some people allege Nasruddin is buried, there are HUGE locked gates at his gravesite. Yet his headstone reads - "Sometimes you do not need a key to get through gates. All you need to do is walk around them as there are no walls."
The Will of Allah
"May the Will of Allah be done," a pious man was saying about something or the other.
"It always is, in any case," said Mullah Nasruddin. "
“How can you prove that, Mullah?" asked the man.
"Quite simply. If it wasn't always being done, then surely at some time or another my will would be done, wouldn't it?"
Nasruddin Meets Death
Nasruddin was strolling to market one day when he saw a strange, dark shape appear, blocking his path. "I am Death," it said, "I have come for you."
"Death?" said Nasruddin. "But I'm not even particularly old! And I have so much to do. Are you sure you aren't mistaking me for someone else?"
"I only kill people who are not yet ready to die," said Death.
"I think you're wrong," replied the Hoja. "Let's make a bet."
"A bet? Perhaps. But what shall the stakes be?"
"My life against a hundred pieces of silver."
"Done," said Death, a bag of silver instantly appearing in his hand. "What a stupid bet you made. After all, what's to stop me from just killing you now, and thus winning automatically?"
"Because I knew you were going to kill me," said Nasruddin, "that's why I made the bet."
"Hmmm..." mused Death. "I see. But... but, didn't you also know, then, that I would not be able to kill you, because of the terms of our agreement?"
"Not at all," said Nasruddin, and continued down the road, clutching the bag of money.
One day Nasruddin repaired tiles on the roof of his house. While Nasruddin was working on the roof, a stranger knocked the door. ‘What do you want?” Nasruddin shouted out.
“Come down,” replied stranger, “So I can tell it.”
Nasruddin unwilling and slowly climbed down the ladder. “Well!” replied Nasruddin, “what was the important thing?”
“Could you give little money to this poor old man?” begged the stranger.
Tired Nasruddin started to climb up the ladder and said, “Follow me up to the roof.”
When both Nasruddin and beggar were upside, on the roof, Nasruddin said, “The answer is no!”
100 Silver Coins
Nasruddin opened a booth at the fair with a sign above it: “Two Questions On Any Subject Answered For Only 100 Silver Coins.”
A man who had two very urgent questions handed over his money, saying: “A hundred silver coins is rather expensive for two questions, isn't it?”
“Yes,” said Nasruddin, “and the next question, please?”
The Two Beggars
As Nasruddin emerged form the mosque after prayers, a beggar sitting on the street solicited alms. The following conversation followed:
“Are you extravagant?” asked Nasruddin.
“Yes Nasruddin.” replied the beggar.
“Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking?” asked Nasruddin.
“Yes.” replied the beggar.
“I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday?” asked Nasruddin.
“Yes.” replied the beggar.
“...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends?” asked Nasruddin.
“ Yes, I like all those things,” replied the beggar.
“Tut, Tut,” said Nasruddin, and gave him a gold piece. A few yards farther on. Another beggar who had overheard the conversation begged for alms also.
“Are you extravagant?” asked Nasruddin.
“No, Nasruddin” replied second beggar.
“Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking?” asked Nasruddin.
“No.” replied second beggar.
“I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday?” asked Nasruddin.
“No.” replied second beggar.
“...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends?” asked Nasruddin.
“No, I want to only live meagerly and to pray,” replied second beggar.
Whereupon the Nasruddin gave him a small copper coin.
“But why, wailed second beggar, do you give me, an economical and pious man, a penny, when you give that extravagant fellow a sovereign?”
“Ah my friend,” replied Nasruddin, “his needs are greater than yours.”
One hot day, Nasruddin was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eying speculatively, the huge pumpkins 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 tiny walnuts grow on so majestic a tree and huge pumpkins on the delicate vines!” Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on Mullah Nasruddin's baldhead.
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! “
One day an illiterate man came to Mullah Nasruddin with a letter he had received. "Mullah Nasruddin, please read this letter to me."
Mullah Nasruddin looked at the letter, but could not make out a single word. So he told the man. "I am sorry, but I cannot read this."
The man cried: "For shame, Mullah Nasruddin! You must be ashamed before the turban you wear (i.e. the sign of education)"
Mullah Nasruddin removed the turban from his own head and placed it on the head of the illiterate man, said: "There, now you wear the turban. If it gives some knowledge, read the letter yourself."
The Crow and the Meat
One day Mullah Nasruddin went to the market and bought a fine piece of meat. On the way home he met a friend who gave him a special recipe for the meat. Mullah Nasruddin was very happy. But then, before he got home, a large crow stole the meat from Mullah Nasruddin's hands and flew off with it.
"You thief!" Mullah Nasruddin angrily called after departing crow. "You have stolen my meat! But you won't enjoy it; I've got the recipe!"
Mullah Nasruddin was unemployed and poor but somehow he got little money to eat beans and pilaf at a cheap restaurant. He ate and examined walking people outside with the corner of the eye. He noticed a long, handsome swashbuckler (bully man) behind the crowd. The Man was well dressed from head to foot, with velvet turban, silver embroidered vest, silk shirt, satin baggy-trousers and golden scimitar (short curved sword.)
Mullah Nasruddin pointed the man and asked restaurant keeper, "Who is that man over there!"
The waiter replied, "He is Fehmi Pasha's servant.”
Mullah Nasruddin sighed from far away, looked at the sky and said: "Oh, my Good Lord! Look at that Fehmi Pasha's servant and look at your own servant, here."
The Other Place
One day a visitor came to Mullah Nasruddin with a question. "Mullah Nasruddin, the place that we humans come from and the place that we go to, what is it like?"
"Oh," said Mullah Nasruddin, "it is a very frightening place."
"Why do you say that?" the visitor asked.
"Well, when we come from there as babies, we are crying, and when somebody has to go there, everybody cries."
Paying the Piper
One day Mullah Nasruddin wished to learn playing zurna (a kind off shrill pipe) and visited a zurna player. "How much does it cost to learn playing zurna?" asked Mullah Nasruddin.
"Three hundred akche (coin) for the first lesson and one hundred akche for the next lessons," asked zurna player.
"It sounds good," replied Mullah Nasruddin. "We may start with second lesson. I was a shepherd when I was a young boy, so I already had some whistle experiences. It must be good enough for first lesson, isn't it?"
Trousers and Robe
One day Mullah Nasruddin went to market to buy new clothes. First he tested a pair of trousers. He didn't like the trousers and he gave back them to the shopkeeper. Then he tried a robe, which had same price as the trousers. Mullah Nasruddin was pleased with the robe and he left the shop. Before he climbed on the donkey to ride home he stopped by the shopkeeper and the shop-assistant.
"You didn't pay for the robe," said the shopkeeper.
"But I gave you the trousers instead of the robe, isn't it?" replied Mullah Nasruddin.
"Yes, but you didn't pay for the trousers, either!" said the shopkeeper.
"But I didn't buy the trousers," replied Mullah Nasruddin. "I am not so stupid to pay for something which I never bought."
Two Cooked Fish
Once a renowned philosopher and moralist was traveling through Nasruddin's village when he asked him where there was a good place to eat. He suggested a place and the scholar, hungry for conversation, invited Mullah Nasruddin to join him. Much obliged, Mullah Nasruddin accompanied the scholar to a nearby restaurant, where they asked the waiter about the special of the day. "Fish! Fresh Fish!" replied the waiter.
"Bring us two," they answered. A few minutes later, the waiter brought out a large platter with two cooked fish on it, one of which was quite a bit smaller than the other. Without hesitating, Mullah Nasruddin took the larger of the fish and put in on his plate.
The scholar, giving Mullah Nasruddin a look of intense disbelief, proceed to tell him that what he did was not only blatantly selfish, but that it violated the principles of almost every known moral, religious, and ethical system.
Mullah Nasruddin calmly listened to the philosopher's extempore lecture patiently, and when he had finally exhausted his resources, Mulla Nasruddin said, "Well, Sir, what would you have done?"
"I, being a conscientious human, would have taken the smaller fish for myself."
"And here you are," Mullah Nasruddin said, and placed the smaller fish on the gentleman's plate.
A group of philosophers traveled far and wide to find, and, contemplated for many years, the end of the world but could not state a time for its coming. Finally they turned to Mullah Nasruddin and asked him: "Do you know when the end of the world will be?"
"Of course, said Mullah Nasruddin, when I die, that will be the end of the world."
"When you die? Are you sure?"
"It will be for me at least," said Mullah Nasruddin
On a frigid and snowy winter day Mullah Nasruddin was having a chat with some of his friends in the local coffee house. Mullah Nasruddin said that cold weather did not bother him, and in fact, he could stay, if necessary, all night without any heat. "We'll take you up on that, Mullah Nasruddin,” they said. "If you stand all night in the village square without warming yourself by any external means, each of us will treat you to a sumptuous meal. But if you fail to do so, you will treat us all to dinner."
"All right it's a bet," Mullah Nasruddin said. That very night, Mullah Nasruddin stood in the village square till morning despite the bitter cold. In the morning, he ran triumphantly to his friends and told them that they should be ready to fulfill their promise.
"But as a matter of fact you lost the bet, Mullah Nasruddin," said one of them. "At about midnight, just before I went to sleep, I saw a candle burning a window about three hundred yards away from where you were standing. That certainly means that you warmed yourself by it."
"That's ridiculous," Mullah Nasruddin argued. "How can a candle behind a window warm a person three hundred yards away?" All his protestations were to no avail, and it was decided that Mullah Nasruddin had lost the bet. Mullah Nasruddin accepted the verdict and invited all of them to a dinner that night at his home. They all arrived on time, laughing and joking, anticipating the delicious meal Mullah Nasruddin was going to serve them. But dinner was not ready. Mullah Nasruddin told them that it would be ready in a short time, and left the room to prepare the meal. A long time passed, and still no dinner was served. Finally, getting impatient and very hungry, they went into the kitchen to see if there was any food cooking at all. What they saw, they could not believe. Mullah Nasruddin was standing by a huge cauldron, suspended from the ceiling. There was a lighted candle under the cauldron. "Be patient my friends," Mullah Nasruddin told them. "Dinner will be ready soon. You see it is cooking."
"Are you out of your mind, Mullah Nasruddin?" they shouted. How could you with such a tiny flame boil such a large pot?”
"Your ignorance of such matters amuses me," Mullah Nasruddin said. "If the flame of a candle behind a window three hundred yards away can warm a person, surely the same flame will boil this pot which is only three inches away."
An angry man came in to a cafe and yelled:" IS SAIFU HERE?" No body answered so he yelled again: “IS SAIFU HERE OR NOT?”
Finally a guy got up, "YAH, I AM SAIFU" he said.
The angry man came closer and punched the guy, knocked him down on the floor and then left the cafe. The guy got up, cleaned his nose from blood and while every one was expecting a reaction from him, returned to his table without saying anything.
Some one came and asked the guy: "How can you just sit here and do nothing? That man knocked you down and you are not even cursing him."
"You wouldn't say that if you knew what I have done to him,” said the man with a smirk. "What? How?" asked the other man with curious excitement.
"I am not SAIFU,” said the guy proudly.
Lesson of the Sandals
One day Nasruddin was taking a walk in his village, when several of his neighbors approached him. "Nasruddin Hoja!" they said to him, "you are so wise and holy! Please take us as your pupils to teach us how we should live our lives, and what we should do!"
Nasruddin paused, and then said "Alright; I will teach you the first lesson right now. The most important thing is to take very good care of your feet and sandals; you must keep them clean and neat at all times."
The neighbors listened attentively until they glanced down at his feet, which were in fact quite dirty and shod in old sandals that seemed about to fall apart. "But Nasruddin Hoja," said one of them, "your feet are terribly dirty, and your sandals are a mess! How do you expect us to follow your teachings if you don't carry them out yourself?"
"Well," replied Nasruddin, "I don't go around asking people how I should live my life either, do I?"
Later that evening, Nasruddin was cooking up some things. He went to his neighbor and asked for a pot and promised to return it the next day. A knock, knock came on the neighbor's door the next day. Nasruddin had come to return the pot. The neighbor looks at his pot and inside was one smaller. The neighbors said, "There is a small pot inside the one I loaned you."
Nasruddin told him, "The pot gave birth."
The neighbor was quite pleased to hear this and accepted the two pots. The very next morning, Nasruddin knocks on the neighbor's door to borrow a larger pot than the previous one. The neighbor happily abides his the request. A week goes past, without Nasruddin knocking to return the pot. The neighbor and Nasruddin bump into each other at the bazaar a few days latter. Nasruddin's neighbor asked, "Where is my pot?"
"It's dead," says Nasruddin. "But how can that be?" queries the neighbor.
One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea, and talking about life and love. “How come you never got married, Nasruddin?” asked his friend at one point.
“Well,” said Nasruddin, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo, I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, with eyes like dark olives, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no interests in common. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then one day, I met her. She was beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had everything in common. In fact she was perfect.”
“Well,” said Nasruddin’s friend, “what happened? Why didn’t you marry her?”
Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. “Well,” he replied, “it’s a sad thing. Seems she was looking for the perfect man.”
The Cloak and the Feast
Mullah Nasruddin in Banguet Nasruddin heard that there was a banquet being held in the nearby town, and that everyone was invited. He made his way there as quickly as he could. When the Master of Ceremonies saw him in his ragged cloak, he seated him in the most inconspicuous place, far from the great table where the most important people were waiting on hand and foot. Nasruddin saw that it would be an hour at last before the waiters reached where he was sitting.
So he got up and went home. He dressed himself in a magnificent sable cloak and turban and returned to feast. As soon as the heralds of the Emir, his host, saw this splendid sight they started to beat the drum of welcome and sound the trumpets in a manner befitting a visitor of high rank. The Chamberlain came out of the palace himself, and conducted the magnificent Nasruddin to a place almost next to the Emir. A dish of wonderful food was immediately placed before him. Without a pause, Nasruddin began to rub handfuls of it into his turban and cloak.
"Your Eminence," said the prince, "I am curious as to your eating habits, which are new to me."
"Nothing special," said Nasruddin; "the cloak get me in here and got me the food. Surely it deserves it portion."
Mullah Nasruddin and
His Beautiful Daughter
Mullah Nasruddin had a beautiful daughter, the desire of all the evil eyes of the men lived in his village. Everyone sought the hand of the fair maiden, but Mullah Nasruddin protected her from the outside world, saving her for the wealthy young khan who lived just outside the village.
At last the young Khan came to ask for the hand of the beautiful maiden. Mullah Nasruddin drove a hard bargain and was to receive the highest bride-price ever bargained for in the entire region. With the usual Muslim regard for ceremony, Mullah Nasruddin insisted on a long waiting-period before the wedding vows could be taken.
It seems that the young and beautiful daughter of Mullah Nasrudin had a mind and a body of her own. She fell in love with a young stalwart ne'er-do-well in the village, who constantly showered her with attention as she went to the nearby well to gather water in the morning and at dusk. Her trips to get water began to take longer periods of time. Most people in the village know what was happening, but no one dared tell Mullah Nasruddin.
The time for the wedding approached and the young, wealthy Khan came to collect his bride. Mullah Nasruddin brought her to greet her betrothed. Lo and behold! She was well pregnant by this time. The young, rich Khan was horrified, and turned on the Mullah Nasruddin, demanding to know why such a thing had occurred. And when Mullah Nasruddin merely replied that such things are normal when people get married; the young, rich Khan stormed out of Mullah Nasruddin's compound, and said that he withdrew his offer of marriage to the young beautiful daughter of Mullah Nasruddin and therefore would expect a return on the down payment on the bride price.
Mullah Nasruddin, genuinely shocked, called after the young, rich Khan and the young Khan returned. "Let us be sensible about this," pleaded Mullah Nasruddin. "Actually, I should double the bride price now that my daughter is truly pregnant and can give you a son."
The young Khan, even more horrified, stuttered and asked, "In the name of Allah, why?" Mullah Nasruddin calmly replied, "Why just last week I delivered a cow to a man to whom I had sold the cow several months before. In the interim period, the cow became pregnant, and when I delivered the cow, I demanded and received twice the original amount. Now what is so different between a cow and a daughter?"
The King and His Dreams
Once there was a king who had a dream that all his teeth had fallen out. He woke up upset and asked that the best interpreters be brought to the palace.
The first interpreter said, "My king, I am sorry to inform you that all your family members will die in your lifetime." The king got very upset and ordered that the interpreter be imprisoned.
Then the second, the third and the fourth interpreters said the same thing. The king was very angry and very upset. He imprisoned all of them and insisted on a search for better interpreters.
Finally, a wise interpreter came by. He said, "My king, you will live a long life. In your lifetime, you will share your family's joys and sorrows. You will be present to assist those who need you even after many family members have gone." The king became very happy and gave the interpreter a lot of presents.
Once there was a man who seized power by force. He insisted that every follower of the previous ruler curse that ruler in public or else he or she would be killed. One of the followers of the previous ruler thought of a way to satisfy the present ruler without cursing the previous one.
He stood up in public and said, "This ruler is asking me to curse the previous ruler, I curse HIM (this ruler) and ask you to do the same." The people did not get it and cursed the previous ruler. At the same time, the man was released.
The Chess Game and the Shoes
Once there was a king who beat each person he played chess with. One day, a farmer came by and asked to play chess with the king. The king agreed. As they were beginning, the farmer took off his shoes and put them on the chair and sat on them. As the game proceeded, the king kept wondering about the shoes. The farmer won the game at the end. The king then asked the farmer about the shoes. The farmer replied that he took his shoes off so the king would not fully concentrate on the game.
A Wise Mullah
There was a wise Mullah in the lands of Allah who taught in the streets and the market place. He was much respected by the people for his wisdom in the writings and his knowledge of Mohammed. But he was best known for his wit, which some said was sharper than the headsman's axe and twice as final.
One day the Mullah and his wife were in the village buying goods for the feast to be held that week. He saw a man he had counseled to the faith and who had yet to renounce his infidel Christian ways. He walked up to the man and greeted him with a holy blessing.
"I thank you" the infidel replied. "And how do you fare, good Mullah?"
The Mullah answered him. "I am blessed by Allah with a good wife and many fine children. You can see how Allah blesses the true believers in this land. You are still a bachelor, and an infidel. I am sure that if you took up the true faith Allah would grant you a wife."
The young man answered, "I am not convinced that getting a wife is enough to make me convert."
The Mullah had perceived that this young man was quite taken with the fairer sex, and so he explained to him; "Mohammed, in his wisdom, decreed that it was Allah's will that a man be allowed to have as many wives as he wishes. I know that your infidel faith does not allow more than one wife."
This impressed the young man. "This is true. I might be persuaded by such an argument." At this time the Mullah's wife began to shout after him, calling in a most ungracious way to cease his gossiping and carry her purchases.
This caused the infidel to ask; "If you are allowed many wives, why is it that you, a Mullah have only one wife?"
"The answer is simple," the Mullah replied. "The prophet said it was allowed, he never said it was a good idea!"
A Mother’s Three Gifts
Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. Getting back together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother.
The first said, “I built a big house for our mother.”
The second said, “I sent her a camel with a driver.”
The third smiled and said, “I've got you both beat. You remember how Mom enjoyed reading the Divan-e Hafez? And you know she can't see very well. So I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Divan. It took elders of the town 19 years to teach him. He's one of a kind. Mama just has to name the Ghazal number, and the parrot recites it.”
Soon thereafter, mom sent out her letters of thanks: “Ali,” she wrote one son, “The house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Reza,” she wrote to another, “I am too old to travel. I stay most of the time at home, so I rarely use the camel. And the driver is so rude! My Dearest Nasruddin,” she wrote to her third son, “You have the good sense to know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious.”
Two Great Gifts
Once upon a time, Nasruddin went to the marketplace and put up a sign that read: "Whoever has stolen my donkey, please return it to me and I will give it to them."
"Nasruddin!" exclaimed the townspeople, "Why would you put up such a sign?"
"There are two great gifts in life," replied Nasruddin. "One is to find something that you've lost and the other is to give something that you love away."
A Suggestion Against Headache
A man asked Nasruddin: "I have terrible headaches, what do you think I should do?"
Nasrudin replied: "A few days ago I had a terrible toothache. Nothing helped, so I had it pulled out. Now I am fine."
Teaching a Donkey to Read.
During a conversation with Tamerane, Nasruddin started bragging about his donkey. "It is so smart that I can teach it even how to read," he said.
"Then go ahead and teach it how to read. You have three months," Tamerlane ordered. Nasruddin went home and began to train his donkey. He put its feed between the pages of a big book and taught it to turn the pages with its tongue to find its feed. Three days before the three-month period was over, Nasruddin stopped feeding his donkey.
When he took the donkey to Tamerlane, he asked for a big book and put it in front of his donkey. The hungry animal turned the pages of the book one by one with its tongue, but when it found no feed, it began to bray.
Tamerlane watched the donkey closely, and exclaimed, "That sure is a strange way of reading!"
Nasruddin remarked, "But this is how a donkey reads!"
The King and the Woodcutter
Written by - Khairan and Andrew Patterson
There once was a king of Persia long ago who wanted to know what his people were saying and doing. He trusted no one in his palace. He was sure that they would only tell him what they thought he would like to hear or something by which they might benefit. So to know what was going on, the king had to see with his own eyes.
So the king would go to a secret room, put on dirty old clothes and a turban to cover his head to disguise himself. In that way, he could walk around the city himself and listen as well as see what people were saying and doing and no one would know he was king.
One evening. The king in his disguise passed by a house where the door was slightly open. From inside the house he could hear laughter and the sounds of happy people. He stopped and peered through the open door to see what was going on. From inside the house, the owner of the house, saw the king looking into his house and called out to him in the usual Persian greeting of inviting someone into their home, "Come in my friend. My home is your home!"
The King pushed the door open and was greeted by the owner, a pleasant, friendly man. The king looked around the man's house and could see everyone was hurrying here and there doing their chores. They all had smiles on their faces and were very cheerful.
The king was puzzled and asked, "When I passed by your house and I heard sounds of happiness coming from inside your house. I wanted to see why your home is so different than the other houses I passed."
"Oh, I am a woodcutter," replied the owner of the house. "Every day, I take my donkey and go into the mountains where I cut firewood. I load firewood on my donkey and come back to the city. Everyone needs firewood to cook their food and heat water in their homes for baths. Everyday, a lot of people buy my firewood and I make a lot of money."
The king could see that the man was not wealthy or powerful like he was, but he was happy and content with the money he made from selling firewood. Excusing himself, the king hurried back to his palace. The next day, the king issued an order. "No cutting firewood, no hauling firewood, and no selling firewood."
That evening, he put on his disguise and hurried to the home of the woodcutter. Everything was the same like the day before. There was much laughter, joy and happiness instead of sadness and silence. The woodcutter again saw the king standing outside his door, looking into his house and called out, "Come in! Come in, my friend! My home is your home."
The king pushed the door open further and entered the woodcutter's house.
"What happened today?” "Oh yes," replied the woodcutter. "So today, I took my donkey to the mountains where there are streams with delicious water that comes from melting snow. I filled large jars with this water and brought it down into the city where I sold it to many people. The people loved the taste of the fresh mountain water and bought the water. I made a lot of money."
The king now planned to make his next move and could hardly wait to get back to the palace. The next day, the king had an order posted all around the city, which read: "By order of the King, there shall be no cutting firewood, no hauling firewood, no selling firewood. And there shall be no hauling mountain water or selling mountain water."
Putting on his disguise, just as he did the two previous evenings, the king hurried to the woodcutter's home. Everything was the same as the day before. Again, from inside the woodcutter's home he could hear sounds of joy and happiness. The king was puzzled; there should be sadness, maybe screaming and anger, but not joy. When the woodcutter saw the king standing outside, he called out to him.
"Come in, my friend. Come in. My home is your home."
"What happened today?" asked the king. "Didn't the king order that no one is to cut, haul, or sell firewood and no one is to haul or sell water?"
"Yes," replied the woodcutter, "but a man needs to rest sometime. My family is happy to have me home for the day. And I am happy I could be here all day to help my wife and our children do things around the house. Won't you stay and have some tea with us?"
"No, no," said the king, and excused himself and hurried back to the palace.
The next morning, the king sent a messenger to the home of the woodcutter. By order of the king, the woodcutter was to come to the palace to be the official sword bearer. But the king was very tricky and offered to pay the woodcutter so little money that any man would grumble and be unhappy. The woodcutter did not recognize the king and put on the sword. All day he did as the king directed him to do.
That evening, the king was eager to see if the woodcutter would now be unhappy with his life. Again he put his disguise and hurried to the woodcutter's home. Again the door was slightly open and from inside he could hear sounds of happiness and joy.
The woodcutter from inside his home saw the king and called out to him. "Salaam (peace to you) my friend. Come in. My home is your home."
The king was now really puzzled. How could there still be happiness and joy in the woodcutter's home when there should be anger or sadness? As if he did not know, the king asked, "What happened today?"
"A very strange thing happened," replied the woodcutter. "The king sent for me to come to the palace and to be his sword bearer. All day I have to carry this heavy sword, yet the king pays me so little money.
"However, this sword the king gave me is heavy from much gold and silver and it has many beautiful gems all over it. So I took the sword to the market where I sold it. People in the market gave me so much money for the sword that I can now buy three houses and retire for the rest of my life.
"I have to have a sword to carry, so I went to a carpenter who made a wooden sword for me. This I put in place of this heavy gold sword. This wooden sword is so much lighter and easier for me to carry that I can walk around the palace all day without feeling tired!"
Always mindful to make guests comfortable, Persians always offer guests something to eat or drink. So the woodcutter asked the king, "Won't you stay and have some tea and food with us? After selling that sword, I can now afford to have the best tea in the world for my family and guests."
So now the king was really upset because the woodcutter had been more clever than he. He declined the woodcutter's offer and hurried back to his palace.
The next morning, the king was sitting on his throne. He called for his sword-bearer. Entering the throne room, the woodcutter didn't recognize the king as the man who had visited his home for three evenings. He walked up and stood beside a man in chains before the king.
"The man beside you, "said the king, "is a terrible criminal. I order you to take your sword and cut off this man's head this very moment. If you fail to cut this man's head off, I will have your head cut off."
The poor woodcutter, now ordered to kill the man beside him, grabbed the handle of his wooden sword. Lifting his eyes to heaven, he called out, "Oh Allah, I shall cut off this man's head as the king has ordered me to do. But if this man is innocent, may my sword turn to wood..."