Nasreddin, "The Foolish Man".
Inggris : Sugeng Hariyato
1. One Week's Salary
Every Saturday Nasreddin went to the market to buy the household's need. He put the goods in a big basket. But, he was not able to carry the heavy basket since he was only an old man. Instead, he asked someone else to do it for him and gave him a suitable payback. When Nasreddin was on the way home from the market, one day, he walked in front of the man who helped him carry his basket. Nasreddin did not realize that the man had run away and brought all the goods.
The next Saturday, Nasreddin was going to the market. His friend said, "Nasreddin, look at him! He is the man who stole your basket last week." Nasreddin, however, hid behind a small shop instead of catching the man. He stayed there until the man stealing his basket had left the market. His friend was wondering and asked, "What are you doing there?"
He said, "The man has been carrying my heavy basket for a week. I am afraid he will ask for his salary. I do not have enough money to pay him the amount of money for the whole week. Even the basket and the goods are not sufficient to pay him."
Nasreddin was visiting a city that he had never visited before. He felt that nobody knew him. Then he walked along the street with the hope he might meet some of his acquaintances. But nobody greeted him. He was very sad. He finally came to the market. It was just the same; nobody knew him. He walked into a furniture shop. There he was welcome nicely by the salesman. The salesman asked him warmly, "What can I do for you, Sir? You're looking for a bed, chairs, ...?"
"Well, well! Wait a minute," said Nasreddin, "First, I want to ask you some questions."
The salesman was very glad. He thought that Nasreddin wanted to ask something about the furniture.
"Did you see me when I walked into this shop?" asked Nasreddin "Yes, Sir, of course," answered the salesman. "Have you ever met me before?" said Nasreddin further. "No,Sir.Never." "Well, how do you know that the person who walked in is Nasreddin and not someone else?"
3. Through the Back Door
One morning Nasreddin and his friends had a chat at a cafe. After a while they said that they were very hungry. Soon Nasreddin invited them to have breakfast at his house half an hour later. Then Nasreddin went home. At home Nasreddin told his wife that he had invited his friends to come and have breakfast there. His wife was very upset because they had nothing to cook.
"Why did you invite them to have breakfast here? We don't have anything to cook," his wife complained.
"Sorry, I didn't remember it," said Nasreddin . Then they saw from a distance that Nasreddin's friends were coming. He went out through the back door and hid behind the house. A moment later the guests knocked at the door. His wife opened the door and said that Nasreddin was out.
"But I saw he was here just now," said one of the guests. Nasreddin's wife was so confused that she could not answer. Nasreddin heard it. He felt a pity on her. Then he said through the back window, "You are right. But I can go out through the back door, though."
4. Saving the Moon
Nasreddin was walking home alone. The evening was coming and it was getting darker. Nasreddin thought it was the time for a Moslem to take a pray. So he looked for some water to wash his face. Unfortunately, he only found a well near the street.
He looked into it to see whether there was any water. He was very surprised to see that the moon was there. Actually, it was the shadow of the moon.He thought that the moon was lost in the well. And, therefore, he thought it was very dangerous because the night would be completely dark.
"I have to save the moon," he thought, "If I don't, it will stay there and the whole world will be dark this night."
Then he looked for a pole but he could not find any. Instead, he only found a long rope. He held one end of the rope and dropped the other one into the well. "Hold the rope firmly and I will pull you up," he said.
Unfortunately, the rope got entangled with a big stone in the bottom of the well. So, Nasreddin had to work hard to pull the rope up. He thought that he pulled the moon. He could hardly pull the rope with the stone. When the stone was about to come near the lip of the well, it fell down again to the bottom of the well. Because he lost his balance, Nasreddin fell backward with the rope in his hands. At that time he saw the moon was shining in the sky. Nasreddin smiled happily and said, "Finally I can save you. Now the whole world will not be dark any longer."
5. The God's Pumpkins
Nasreddin wanted to plant pumpkins. He spread pumpkin seeds in his fields. He told his wife, "I will plant them in two gardens. One garden is for us; the other is for God. I will sell the harvest of God's pumpkins and give the money to orphanage and the poor people as our alms." "Amen," said his wife.
Then he planted his own pumpkin seeds on the very fertile garden but he planted the God's pumpkin seeds in the arid infertile garden. Several months later Nasreddin was disappointed to see his pumpkins did not grow well although he had planted them in the fertile garden. Many of them even died. On the other hand, he saw that the God's pumpkins could grow well and had much more fruits.
Nasreddin decided to steal the God's pumpkins. The following night he prepared a big sack and broke into the God's garden. There he picked 20 big pumpkins and put them into the sack.
So far, he never realised that he has been followed by five men. They always kept an eye on him. When Nasreddin tried to find a rope to tie up the sack, he left the sack for a while. Quickly the five men stole the sack that was full of big pumpkins.
A moment later Nasreddin went back. He was very frightened to find that his sack was missing. Soon he ran home. He said to his wife, "He caught me red-handed. He had caught me red-handed while I was stealing His pumpkins."
6. Looking for The Ring
There was a toolshed beside Nasreddin's house. The shed, where he kept his tools, had no window at all. So, it was always dark inside although it was at noon. But there was a lamp at the corner outside..
One night Nasreddin went into the toolshed to get a ladder. When he was taking the ladder from its place, he dropped his ring. He put the ladder back and went out soon.
Outside he started looking for the ring. He could not find it even he has been searching for it for a quite long time. His friend saw him searching for something.
He approached him and said, "What are you looking for, Nasreddin?"
"I'm looking for my ring. I just dropped it," he answered while he continued searching.
"Let me help you. Anyway, where did you drop it?" asked his friend.
"Inside the shed," answered he. His right hand pointed the shed.
His friend was surprised and said, "Why don't you look for it inside the shed?"
"Are you kidding? Inside the shed it was very dark. I cannot see anything there. How can I find it? While it is very bright here because of the lamp. So I may see my ring here," explained Nasreddin.
7. Do Everything at Once
Nasreddin was working for a rich man. One day his master called him and said, "Nasreddin, come on in." "Nasreddin came in and sat in a chair.
His master said further, "You are very good man. But it's a pity that you are so slow in doing anything. You never do something at once. If I, for example, ask you to buy three eggs, you will go to the shop and go home with one egg. Then you go for the second egg and so forth."
"I'm sorry, Sir, I'm a fool. I won't do the same thing again in the future. I'll do everything at once."
Several days later, his master was sick. Nasreddin was asked to get a doctor. When he came back, his master was surprised because he did not only get a doctor, but also many other men. He brought all into his master's bedroom.
"Excuse me, Sir. I got them already," he said.
"Got them? Who are they? I just asked you to get a doctor," asked his master.
Then Nasreddin explained, "Excuse me, sir. A doctor usually gives us a prescription. Here I get a medicine man who will make the medicine prescribed for you. And the medicine man, of course, will make the medicine from roots of plants.
Here I get someone who sells the ingredients for such medicine. I also get a coal seller, because usually we boil the medicine first. And it needs coal."
"Who is the last?" said the master. He saw one more person in the room that had not been introduced yet. "There is also a possibility that the doctor cannot help us. You may die. So I get a grave digger. Sir, I do it at once."
8. Taking a Walk.
Nasreddin looked gloomy and weak. His wife said, "Why don't you take a walk to get fresh air? It will make you better."
Nasreddin did what his wife suggested him. He took a walk. But he still kept on walking even though he had been walking for more than two days. One of his neighbour met him and asked him, "Why don't you go home? I think you have been walking for two days, Nasreddin ."
"Would you help me?" said Nasreddin. "Sure," answered the neighbour.
"Ask my wife how far I should take a walk to get better," said Nasreddin, "I have been very exhausted." Meanwhile Nasreddin kept on walking. The sun started shining brightly. On the way he saw something
glaring in the middle of the street. He approached it and picked it up. It was a mirror. He examined it closely. He was curious why the owner discarded it. As a matter of fact, it was still good.
Then he looked into the mirror. He saw a face on the mirror. Of course, it was his own face but he did not think so. Suddenly he looked sad and disappointed
He said, "This is a bad mirror. That is the reason why the owner discarded it here."
Then he threw the mirror back to the street, and he walked away. It was almost midday. He was very thirsty. A moment later he looked glad as he saw a water pipe across the street. He walked there. He found that the end of the pipe was closed with a piece of wood.
Because, he could not help being thirsty, he placed his open mouth in front of the end of the pipe and pulled the wood. The stream of the water inside was very strong. When Nasreddin opened it, the water sprayed toward his face so strongly that he fell backward. Then he put the wood back to the end of the pipe quickly.
"Oh, now I know why they closed you with the wood. Because you always hit every man very strongly so that they had to close you with the wood. Yeah, you never learn from experience," Nasreddin said and walked away.
9. Sorry, I'm Wrong.
One evening Nasreddin attended a party in his town. The party ended at 10 o'clock at night. It was a long distance from the place where the party was held to Nasreddin's house. If Nasreddin took the usual street, he would have come home very late.So, Nasreddin took a shortcut through a cemetery.
When he was in the middle of the cemetery, he saw a group of people riding horses toward him. Nasreddin thought that they were robbers who just started their robbery. As he was afraid of them, he ran and hid in a newly dug grave. The grave would be used to bury a corpse the next morning.
The group of horsemen saw a head stuck out from a grave.They were curious and stopped beside the grave.
"How are you?" said one of them. Nasreddin turned round to see the men. He answered, "Don't worry, I'm one of the dead bodies buried here."
"Can a dead body wake up at night?" asked the man again. "Yes."
"To get fresh air," Nasreddin answered.
Then men laughed together. One of them said, "Do dead men need air?" "Yes, you are right. Sorry. I'm wrong," Nasreddin answered. He lay down again in the grave.
10. Where Is My Sixth Donkey?
One sunny morning, Nasreddin went to the market and brought six donkeys with him. He wanted to sell them. Nasreddin felt tired and then rode one of the donkeys.
A moment later he wanted to make sure that he did not lose any of the donkeys. Sitting on the back of his donkey, Nasreddin counted his donkeys but skipping the one he was riding on. So, he was confused because there were only five donkeys left, while he brought six donkeys from his house. He got down from his donkey and started to count again. He was very glad at that time because the donkeys were six. He rode one of them again. Five minutes later he started counting the donkeys again. And he was confused again because he only got five donkeys.
Coincidentally one of his friends came and asked him, "Why do you look very confused, Nasreddin?"
Nasreddin answered, "Yes, I'm very confused. This morning I left my house and brought six donkeys with me. Because I was tired I rode on one of them. I counted my donkeys. There were only five donkeys. Then I got down from my donkey. I counted again and there were six donkeys. I was wondering and also glad because my lost donkey was back. Then I rode one of them again. Now, I count them again and there are only five donkeys left." His friend said, "There are six donkeys here."
"No, there are only five. Let me count again, one, two, three, four, five. There are only five!" Nasreddin answered.
"Yes, you just counted five donkeys, and you are riding on the other one and you didn't count it. So, there are six donkeys," his friend explained.
11. Destiny Is Kind to Me ?
One day Nasreddin went out of town. His wife washed his coat while she was waiting for him. She finished washing it at the afternoon, but Nasreddin had not come yet. Then his wife hung the coat on a rope in the front yard. When the evening came she forgot to take the coat.
At about 7 o'clock Nasreddin came home. Because he was very tired, he went to bed soon after having dinner. At midnight he woke because he heard something outside. He peeped out to see what was going on. Suddenly he was very surprised to see a shadow in the front yard. The moon light made the shadow just like a man. Nasreddin thought that it was a thief.
He took his old rifle quickly. After he loaded it with some bullets, he aimed at the shadow carefully. A shot was heard; the shadow jerked and fell down. Nasreddin was very glad because he shot the shadow accurately. He shouted happily and so loudly that his wife woke up. "What's wrong?" asked his wife.
"There was a thief near the fence. He wanted to break into our house. So I took my rifle quickly and shot him. But, don't worry, he's dead. Now, just sleep again. Tomorrow we will bury the corpse," Nasreddin answered.
The next morning, they got up early and went to the yard. They saw neither corpse nor drops of blood there. They only found Nasreddin's coat that was washed by his wife the day before lying on the ground. Nasreddin took it and examined it. There was a shot hole on the coat. He showed it to his wife.
"My wife, destiny is really kind to me. Imagine if I was inside this coat, I should have died already and you must have been a widow now," said he sadly.
12. A Donkey Thief
Nasreddin went to the market. He wanted to buy a donkey there. At the market he chose the best donkey and bought it. He loved the donkey so much that he did not ride on its back when he went home. He walked and pulled his donkey behind him. He did never know that two thieves were following him.
On the way home, one of the thieves untied the donkey so carefully that Nasreddin did not know about it. As the change, the thief put the tie around his friend's neck. And he ran away with the donkey..
When Nasreddin arrived home, he was surprised to see that his donkey changed itself into a man. "Who are you? Where is my donkey?" asked Nasreddin to the man angrily. "I'm sorry, Sir," said the thief, "I was the donkey." "I don't believe you. How can a donkey change itself into a man?" said Nasreddin.
"Once I hurt my mother. And then she cursed me into a donkey. And I was sold at the market by my uncle. Now I become a man again because the person that bought me is a wise and good man like you," the thief said. Nasreddin said to the thief, "Now, go home. Don't hurt your mother again." The thief thanked Nasreddin. He went away quickly.
Several days later, Nasreddin went to the market again to buy a donkey. And Nasreddin saw his lost donkey was being sold at the market among the other donkeys with a high price. Yes, the other thief sold the donkey again. Nasreddin came to the thief who sold the donkey. He did not speak to him, but did speak to the donkey.
He said, "Hey, young man, you never listen to good advice and never learn from experince. Now, you become a donkey again. But I don't want to buy you."
Nasreddin was looking for firewood for his wife. He climbed a tree and sat on a trunk while he was sawing it. A man was passing by the street beneath the tree. He saw Nasreddin was sawing the trunk. He said, "Watch out, Nasreddin. You will fall. You shouldn't sit on the trunk you are cutting!" Nasreddin thought that the man was just teasing him. He answered, "Am I so foolish that I believe you? You are not a fortune-teller, how do you know my future?"
The man said, "Everybody knows that you will fall if you sit on a trunk that you are cutting."
But Nasreddin did not believe him. And the man walked away. A moment later, Nasreddin and the trunk fell together. He soon got up and ran after the man who had told him that he would fall down.
When he was behind the man, Nasreddin said, "Great! Your prediction is really accurate. I fell down along with the trunk."
The man stopped and turned round to see Nasreddin. When they were walking side by side, Nasreddin said, "Now, tell me when I will die?" The man, of course, could not tell him anything about it. He was not a fortune-teller. But Nasreddin urged the man to tell him about his death. Finally, the man left annoyed and said, "You will die right now." As the man said that he would die soon, Nasreddin fell down in the street and made no movement. The man shook his body but he did not say anything or move any inch. Then the man left him in the street. He told his friends about it.
A moment later the other neighbours came and woke him up. Because he behaved like a dead man, then they brought him to his wife. His wife knew that her husband was not dead. But, Nasreddin behaved like a dead man. His wife asked her neighbours to put him to the cemetery. On the crossroad, they quarreled about which way they should take. One of them said that they had to go straight ahead for about 10 metres before turning right and the rest said that they should turn left. The quarrel was getting worse. Nasreddin who was in the coffin felt very annoyed to hear the foolish quarrel. He looked out of the coffin and said, "You all are fools. When I was alive, the shortest way to the cemetery is the one that turns right."
14. Selling a Cow
Nasreddin's wife suggested that her husband sell their cow because it did not give much milk anymore. Nasreddin accepted the suggestion and planned to take the cow to the market the next day.
Early in the morning on the next day he had arrived at the market. He chose the best place to sell his cow. The place was near the main entrance so that most of the people would see him there with his cow.
Many people came and asked for information about the cow. Nasreddin always said, "We decided to sell this cow because it does not give us much milk anymore. So, if you buy it you will not get much milk either. But, it surely will push you with the horns when it gets hungry and there is no grass before it."
Of course, nobody was interested in buying the cow. Therefore, until about midday the cow was not sold yet. Nasreddin was very tired. Many times he swept the sweat from his face with his white handkerchief.
One of his friends, who has a merchant, came to the market. He saw Nasreddin trying to sell his cow. He also paid attention to the way Nasreddin offered his cow. Then the merchant came to him. "Nasreddin, I think you will not sell your cow if you offer it in that way. Let me help you," said the merchant.
Nasreddin gave the cow to the merchant. And the merchant started walking and pulling the cow behind him. Nasreddin sat and saw his friend. Every time he met a man, the merchant always said, "See this cow. She is very healthy. No cow compares to her. If you buy her, you will not be disappointed. She will give you many bowls of milk every day. Don't be late. Buy her right now."
A man seemed very interested in the cow. He came to the merchant and started bargaining it. Nasreddin saw the way his friend tried to sell his cow. He also saw the man bargaining it. Then he rushed toward them. Quickly he snatched the rope from his friend's hand and said, "Fool, if it could give us many bowls of miilk every day, we would not sell it."
15. In The Heaven
One day Nasreddin went to another town. He rode his donkey. On the way he met a man. The man suddenly asked a strange question, "Please, tell me when I will die?"
Of course, Nasreddin was confused to answer the question. He said, "How do I know about it? Don't be ridiculous." But the man insisted him on answering the question. Nasreddin kept on saying that actually he could not answer the question. The man looked disappointed. "Nasreddin, even though you cannot tell me when I will die, but I can tell you when you will die," said the man.
"Then tell me when I will die?" asked Nasreddin. "You will die if your donkey has brayed three times," said the man. Then Nasreddin continued his journey. Suddenly his donkey brayed three times. Soon he lay down on the street and murmured, "I die now." His donkey went away. A minute later he saw the donkey was caught by a big fox. The big fox devoured the donkey.
Nasreddin said sadly, "My donkey, finally the death comes to you and me at the same time." In that night Nasreddin did not go home. His wife was very worried. She asked her neighbours for their help to find him. Fortunately they found him. His wife asked, "Why don't you go home?"
"My dear wife, I cannot go home because I'm already dead now. You should take and bury me well," answered he. His wife and his neighbours tried to convince him that he had not died yet. But they failed. Nasreddin kept thinking that he had been dead. So, his wife and neighbours took him home and announced his death to the other neighbours.
After a series of prayer, he was brought to the cemetery. But his wife asked the people not to cover the grave with anything. She hoped that someday her husband would realise that he actually has not died yet. About two hours later Nasreddin heard a strange noise. Actually the sound came from a donkey bringing plates and bowls. The donkey was followed by a man; he was the seller. When the sound was getting closer, he lifted his dead to see what was coming. When he showed his head the donkey was very surprised and frightened. It was galloping for a while before it ran quickly. It dropped all its load. The plates and bowls were broken into pieces. Seeing that, the seller got angry with him that he hit Nasreddin over and over. "Why do you hit me? I'm dead. You cannot hit a dead man," Nasreddin shouted.
The seller did not hear whatever he said and kept on hitting him. Finally he could not bear it and ran home. His wife was very glad that he was back home. So did the neighbours. One of the neighbours asked him, "Nasreddin, you have been in the Heaven. Tell us, how did you feel in the Heaven." He answered, "I felt very well, cool,and peaceful unless I frightened a donkey bringing a lot of plates and bowls."