Mullah Nasrudin appears as the whimsical character in a growing tradition of
stories dating from at least the thirteenth century.
The tales of Nasrudin are sometimes adapted and used as teaching stories
not just by the Sufis but also by such diverse and alien organizations as the
British Society of the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and the Soviet
His stories also appear in psychology
textbooks, illuminating the workings of the mind in a way no straightforward
These traditions use jokes and stories to express certain ideas, allowing
one to bypass normal thought patterns.
By developing a series of impacts that reinforce certain key ideas, the rational mind is occupied with a surface meaning whilst other concepts are introduced. Thus paradox, unexpectedness, and alternatives to convention are all expressed in the
humor of Mullah Nasrudin.
Once a renowned philosopher and moralist was traveling through
Nasruddin's village and asked Nasruddin where there was a good place to eat. Nasruddin 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 requested.
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, Mullah 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.
It is said, there are as many interpretations
to Nasrudin's stories as stars in the sky.
If you would like to share your
interpretation of this story please Click