Posts Tagged Nasrudin

une folle journée

I’ve just sat outside on this warm autumn evening and read La Folle Journée de Nasreddin Hodja, a picture-book  by Laurence Fugier, wonderfully illustrated by Véronique Joffre.

Some stories I didn’t know too! Here’s Nasreddin when he learns that small song birds are sold for three pieces of silver, selling his turkey – which after all is much bigger – for ten pieces of gold:


Here he is pouring hot water from the baths into the stream, because his donkey likes his herbs in tea form:


And here he is – this one’s familiar – “keeping an eye on the door” in case of burglars – by carrying it around with him:


Véronique Joffre’s simple collage-style illustrations in cool colours suit the spareness of the tales perfectly!


Leave a Comment

a nasrudin story and an illustrator

Having just read and enjoyed the tale of The Chained Lion and the Unchained Lion, here’s a tale from me:

Nasrudin usually gets about, as you know, on his donkey.

Well, one day while he was at the market, his donkey disappeared.

“OK, listen to me everyone!” he shouted. “Someone has stolen my donkey. If I don’t get it back soon… then I will do what my father did when his donkey was stolen!”

People got looking and, mysteriously, anonymously, the donkey reappeared. Everyone was relieved.

Nasrudin was about to set off home again. Someone came up to him to ask a question:

“Mulla, what was it your father did when his donkey was stolen?”

“What did he do? He walked home.”

& – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- & – &- &

Rebecca Dautremer has illustrated a book, by Odile Weulersse, that takes this tale and expands it into a great picture book, Nasreddine et son âne.

I love her colours, her lines, her sense of space…

I would love to see lots of other Nasrudin tales treated like this!

Lots of people (like serena and Babelfish) have remarked on her beautiful work, though I’m not sure how much of it is available in English.

Rebecca Dautremer also illustrated the film just out (site, bandwidth heavy, It looks beautiful and the plan is to go and see it next month.

Here’s the trailer:


Saw the film – loved it!

Lots of good blog entries on her work, some with good pics, eg  cruststation

Comments (1)

surprising results

Beneath the patched robe of the Mulla Nasrudin there is sometimes wisdom…

nasrudin 2

Two of his stories suggest to me that we could achieve surprising results if we were prepared to do unusual things. The first is about keeping dry:

A man invited Nasrudin to go hunting with him, but mounted him on a horse which was too slow. The Mulla said nothing. Soon the hunt outpaced him and was out of sight. It began to rain heavily, and there was no shelter. All members of the hunt got soaked through. Nasrudin, however, as soon as the rain started, took off all his clothes and folded them. Then he sat down on the pile. As soon as the rain stopped, he dressed himself and went back to his host’s house for lunch. Nobody could work out why he was dry. With all the speed of their horses they had not been able to reach shelter on that plain.

‘It was the horse you gave me,’ said Nasrudin.

The next day he was given a fast horse and his host took the slow one. Rain fell again. The horse was so slow that the host got wetter than ever, riding at a snail’s pace to his house. Nasrudin carried out the same procedure as before.

When he got back to the house he was dry.

‘It is all your fault!’ shouted his host. ‘You made me ride this terrible horse.’

‘Perhaps,’ said Nasrudin, ‘you did not contribute anything of your own to the problem of keeping dry?’

(text copied, with thanks, from here)

The second is about staying warm, and it’s just the first bit that I’m thinking about, though the rest is good too:

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 went up to the flat roof of a building. He spent the whole night pushing around a block of stone that had been left on the roof, and by doing so kept warm. In the morning, he went down 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 . 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.”

(adapted, with thanks, from here)

Comments (1)



Narrator:  The Mulla Nasrudin was in his house one day when there was a knock on the door. It was his neighbour.

Nasrudin:  Hello neighbour. What do you want?

Neighbour:  Nasrudin, I’m going on holiday for two weeks. Can you look after my 9 chickens for me?

Nasrudin: 9? 9? What is 9?

Neighbour: You know, 9. The number 9. 9 chickens.

Nasrudin:  I am no good with numbers. I don’t understand maths. Don’t say 9.

Neighbour: Let me just leave chickens then.

Nasrudin:  Bring them over.

Narrator:  The neighbour brought the nine chickens over.

The chickens are led over. Nasrudin receives them.

Narrator:  After 2 weeks the neighbour came back from his holiday and came to Nasrudin for his chickens.

Neighbour:  Hello Nasrudin, I’ve come for my chickens.

Nasrudin:  Here they are then.

Neighbour: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8;

Hold it, that’s not right.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8;

Nasrudin? Where is my ninth chicken? There should be 9 but there’s only 8.

Nasrudin:  I’m not good at numbers and I’m no good at maths. Stop talking about 8 and 9. You left chickens, you got chickens back.

Neighbour:  Right, I’m taking you to the judge! And the chickens too!

They all go off to the judge.

Neighbour:  Judge. I left 9 chickens with Nasrudin for him to look after. But he’s only given me 8 back.

Judge:  Is that right, Nasrudin?

Nasrudin:  I don’t understand numbers or maths. He left chickens with me, he got chickens back.

Judge:  But that is one less, Nasrudin

Nasrudin:  ‘Less’ is maths. I don’t understand ‘less’.

Judge:  How can I explain?… (thinks)

I know.

I need 9 volunteers from the audience.

Put your hand up if you can help us.

The judge chooses 9 and waits for silence in court. Then he counts the people:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Nasrudin, let me explain. There are nine people here.

And there are 8 chickens here

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

When I say go, I want each of these volunteers to catch a chicken.

Are you ready?


All the helpers except one catch a chicken.

Now, look Nasrudin. All the chickens have been caught. But one person has no chicken.

Why has this person not got a chicken?

Nasrudin:  Aaah, that is easy!

Judge:  Go on, Nasrudin…

Nasrudin:  Because he wasn’t fast enough!

I did this a while back for ten year olds to perform to younger children. I was lucky with the casting and had a hilarious Nasrudin. The chickens all made chicken hats and insisted on singing a chicken song as they marched in!

Comments (14)