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Nasreddin Hodja

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Nasreddin Hodja

Postby brother » Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:36 pm

Nasreddin Hodja

Nasreddin Hodja is an important cultural icon in Turkey. Everybody knows him and can tell you at least couple of his jokes.

Nasreddin Hodja actually lived in Aksehir, Turkey in the 13th century. His father was the village imam in their village, and Nasreddin Hodja took after the duty after his father's death.

He is also known to have taught lessons at the village school and to act as the kadi (judge that resolves the issues between people) at the same time.

Since he is very famous and there are not enough written documents about him from his time, facts about Nasreddin Hodja are definitely mixed with some myths as well.

Looking at his jokes, we can tell many things about Hodja. He was an imam (religious leader that leads prayer at the mosque), teacher and kadi (judge). He was husband to a wife and he was pretty poor, struggling with the difficulties of life in different ways.

He often had a hard time to support his family, and tried several jobs for this. He was honest, if we don't count the little tricks he played once in a while. Lastly, he had a donkey that was an important part of his life and equally formed the base of many of his jokes.

The jokes of Nasreddin Hodja take their topics from the simple daily village life of the 13th century, but many jokes contain wit and humor of universal value.

He sometimes does foolish things, sometimes acts weird but always comes to a smart and funny conclusion that makes you smile and think at the same time. Here are some Nasreddin Hodja jokes - hope you like them


Every month of Ramadan, Nasreddin Hodja had the habit of putting a pebble in an earthenware jug each morning to mark the days of fasting.

Whenever he wanted to know what day of Ramadan it was, he would take the pebbles out and count them.

However, one day his mischievous son saw his father's jug in the kitchen and put two handfuls of pebbles in it.
A few days later, a friend stopped by to chat with Hodja. After some conversing, the topic came to Ramadan.

'Hodja Effendi, do you know what day of Ramadan it is today?' asked the friend.

'Wait a minute,' the Hodja said, 'I have been marking them, I'll look it up and tell you, exactly.'

Nasreddin Hodja went to the kitchen, took out all the pebbles from the jug and counted them. There were 149 pebbles. The Hodja knew this couldn't be right.
When he came back to the sitting room, he told his friend that it was the 49th of Ramadan.

'Hodja Effendi,' the friend was baffled, 'it can't be the 49th of Ramadan. That's not possible!'

'My dear friend,' the Hodja smiled, 'you better believe me, because if you believe the jug instead, today is the 149th of Ramadan!'

Holy Man's Advice

'Hodja Effendi, you are supposed to be a man of religion. But you never talk about the verses of Koran, you never mention hadiths, you never participate in discussions of the Islamic faith.

What kind of a hodja are you?'

'Well then, I will talk to you about Islam. Do you know the Great Holy Man Ikrimah? Do you know his most important two admonitions for Muslim Brotherhood?

Holy Ikrimah Effendi has two very prominent admonitions that all Muslims must know by heart."
'So what are these two admonitions, Hodja Effendi?'

'One of these admonitions, the Holy Ikrimah Effendi forgot to tell me. The other one he did tell me, but that one I can't remember.'


Nasreddin Hodja had just arrived from his trip to Arabia.

All neighbours and friends gathered in the Hodja's house to welcome him and to listen to the adventures of his voyage.
'Hodja Effendi, did you learn any Arabic?' they asked.

'I did learn some Arabic, yes indeed.'

'So tell us, in Arabia, what do they call an elephant?'

'You asked a very big one. I can't be expected to know such big ones.' the Hodja dismissed.

'What do they call a flea?'

'That's too small. I don't know such small ones.'

'Then what do they call a lamb?'

'They don't call a lamb, they wait until it grows and becomes a sheep, then they call it "ganem".'

Literal Donkey

One day Timur was in the mood for teasing Nasreddin Hodja.

'Hodja,' he asked, 'can you teach your donkey how to read?

'Yes I can Great Timur.'

'Come now Hodja! How can you teach a donkey to read?'

'If you give me three years time and 3000 gold coins, then I can teach my donkey how to read.' the Hodja was adamant.

'But if in three years time, your donkey cannot read, then I will punish you most severely for trying to mock the Great Timur.'

Nasreddin Hodja and Timur agreed on the terms, the Hodja took the 3000 gold coins and left Timur's luxurious tent.

Hodja's friends who witnessed the deal were incredulous.

'Hodja Effendi, what did you do? You know you can't teach a donkey anything other than braying.

Three years later Timur will have your head chopped off!' However, Nasreddin Hodja was not worried.

'My dear fellows,' he said calmly, 'before three years are up, either I will die or Timur will die.

Or else, the donkey will die!'

Account Book

The chief of police of Aksehir was a corrupt man who had made a fortune by receiving bribes. One day Timur asked him to bring his books in for examination.

Nasreddin Hodja was present at this interview as well.

When Timur saw the improbable amount of possessions listed in the chief's accounts, he got very upset. He ripped each page of the accounts and made the chief of police eat them. Nasreddin Hodja watched in horror.

Next, Timur asked the Hodja to collect the taxes of Aksehir and present them to him accompanied by a good list of how much is collected from whom.

Nasreddin Hodja took this task very seriously, collected the taxes and kept accurate accounts. Then he asked his wife to bake a large pita bread. When the pita was ready, the Hodja wrote his numbers on it and presented it to Timur along with the collected money.
'Hodja, what is this?' asked Timur, 'Why are your numbers on a pita bread?'

'Great Timur, I did so just in case you would make me eat my accounts too.'
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