MoulaNasruddin:TheHodja Retold by Abu Abu The day was warm and bright when some of the men gathered, as was their habit, in the corner of Quiet Garden Square for a late morning walk to the where the inner realm of the natural world began. Among them was of course Mustafa the Elder, as well as Mustafa the Younger, Mustafa Ali, Salim, Salman, Big John, and a man named Small, the last of whom was not from these parts, but who had nonetheless ingratiated himself to the townsfolk through good work and social grace. There were several fine parks, vistas and walkways that a person may choose to meander along the through town, but whenever Mustafa the Younger (who was in fact the eldest of the three Mustafa’s) was available for the walk, his wife permitting him a reprieve from the household needs, the gentlemen would travel by way of the ancient cypress tress that stood in a straight line between the northern edge of town and the incline of the chalky White Hills that rose toward the blue sky. The cypresses were particularly kind by the shade they provided. Their fragrance beneath the sun hung a mist in which the men found themselves stimulated toward conversation; and through which Mustafa the Younger also found himself able to breathe free of the asthma which often, coincidentally, attacked him like a swarm of bees when at home with his family and in-laws. This morning the men were talking on many important topics such as the recent tax reforms, some distant military skirmishes, new trade with the east, how newly married Acelya and Aydin should be doing this and that but were not, and other matters of a similar nature. As the men turned from the line of cypresses onto the last road that dissolved into a soft and dusty single-track trail that bordered along the old stones of building foundations that had long since been abandoned, the men came to the home
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 4
of Moula Nasruddin, an old religious man who was both ridiculed for his peculiar behavior and celebrated for his pure heart. There were a few people in town who appreciated Nasruddin, who understood his humor and who did not hesitate to say so and send him oranges or dates when the occasion and season permitted. But most of the men on the walk were generally annoyed by Nasruddin’s strange ways. Immediately as they approached they heard a great wail, something in the range and vocabulary of a donkey. In fact Mustafa Ali said, “It must be the donkey.” But Nasruddin’s companion donkey stood silently in the shade a good distance to the right in the fields beneath a tree. Another great wail came forth, followed by bellows, and the sob, which was clearly Nasruddin. Nasruddin’s held his palms to his face while sitting against the wall of the house, tearfully moaning and rocking. Even the hem of his turban was unraveling in despair. Salman, the most openly friendly of the bunch had two daughters and had learned to at least feign listening when people were crying, inquired, maintaining some air of superiority, “Dear Nasruddin, what bothers you? Has something happened? Did someone die? Have you received some bad news?” Salman less patiently thought to himself, lift your spirits brother, this is making us all feel quite uncomfortable. And it was, as each of the men now gathered around Nasruddin fidgeted. “Oh lament!” cried Nasruddin. “I cannot say! It is too horrible – my fate has left me in an ocean of loss and despair,” his turban now dangling over his eyes. “Dear fellows, I think there is no way you can help, although I kindly appreciate your pause.” Mustafa Ali, so they could soon leave both quickly and with a blind peace in their own hearts, said, “Well friend, please let us not disturb your private mourning for too long. If there is something we can
A journal for people of the heart.