The Criticism Of Men
Hodja and his son went
on a journey once. Hodja preferred that his son ride the donkey and that he
himself go on foot. On the way they met some people who said:
-Look at that healthy young boy! That is today's youth for you. They have
no respect for elders. He rides on the donkey and makes his poor father
When they had passed by
these people the boy felt very ashamed and insisted that he walk and his
father ride the donkey. So Hodja mounted the donkey and the boy walked at
his side. A little later they met some other people who said:
-Well, look at that!
That poor little boy has to walk while his father rides the donkey.
After they had passed
by these people, Hodja told his son:
-The best thing to do
is for both of us to walk. Then no one can complain.
So they continued on
their journey, both of them walking. A little ways down the road they met
some others who said:
-Just take a look at
those fools. Both of them are walking under this hot sun and neither of them
are riding the donkey!
Hodja turned to his son
-That just goes to show
how hard it is to escape the opinions of men.
Everyone Who Sees The Light
Hodja's wife was
pregnant. One night, her labor pains started and Hodja called the
neighbours and the midwife. Soon they called out from his wife's room and
said, "Hodja! You have a son!"
He was very happy. A
few minutes later the midwife called out again,
"Hodja! You also have a
After a little while,
she called out again,
"Hodja! You have
Hodja, who had been
waiting in front of his wife's room, rushed into the room and bleww off the
"What are you doing?"
asked the surprised women.
"Well! Everyone who
sees the light wants to come out. What else can I do?" he answered.
Forty Year Old Vinegar
His neighbour asked
"Do you have some
forty-year old vinegar?"
"I have," answered
"Would you give me
some? I need it to prepare a medication", said the man.
"No, I won't," replied
Hodja. "If I had given
some to everybody who asked for it, would I have it for forty years!".
One day four boys
approached Hodja and gave him a bagful of walnuts.
"Hodja, we can't divide
these walnuts among us evenly. So would you help us, please?"
Hodja asked, "Do you
want God's way of distribution or mortal's way?"
"God's way" the
Hodja opened the bag
and gave two handfuls of walnuts to one child, one handful to the other,
only two walnuts to the third child and none to the fourth.
"What kind of
distribution is this?" the children asked baffled.
"Well, this is God's
way," he answered. "He gives some people a lot, some people a little and
nothing to others. If you had asked for mortal's way I would have given the
same amount to everybody."
How A Donkey Reads
During a conversation
with Tamerlane, Hodja started bragging about his donkey.
"It is so smart that I
can teach it even how to read, "he said.
"Then go ahead and
teach it reading. I give you 3 months.," Tamerlane ordered.
Hodja went home and
began to train his donkey. He put its feed between the pages of a big book
and taught it to turn the pages by its tongue to find its feed. Three days
before the three month period was over, he stopped feeding it.
When he took his donkey
to Tamerlane, he asked for a big book and put it in front of the donkey.
The hungry animal turned the pages of the book one by one with its tongue
and when it couldn't find any feed between the pages it started braying.
Tamerlane watched the
donkey closely and then said,
"This is sure a strange
way of reading!"
"But this is how a
One night the people heard a frightful noise from the Hodja's house. They
asked in the morning:
What was that noise?
Oh, my coat fell downstairs.
Can a coat make such a noise?,
If you were in it, like me, yes!
The Hodja had lost one of his hens. He searched it for a while, but it was
nowhere. Then he took a small peace of black cloth and put it around the
neck of another hen. People asked him:
Hodja, what is this?
This hen is mourning for its mother !!!
HODJA AND THE GOD
The Hodja was travelling from a long way away, he got very tired and decided
to rest. Then he prayed:
Dear God, he said. Please send me a donkey !
A few minutes later, he saw a man riding on a horse and leading a young
The man came nearer, stopped beside him and shouted:
You, leprous man! Instead of starving there, come on carry the donkey, it is
Although the Hodja said, that he was also tired, the tyrannical man beat him
with a stick and so the poor Hodja took the donkey on his shoulders.
Then the man on the horse proceeded on his way. Everytime the Hodja slowed
down, the man beat him and after many miserable hours, they reached the
town, where the man let the Hodja go, without thanking him. Then the Hodja
fall down on the earth and slept many hours. When he awakened he murmured
Oh, God! What happened? Was it that I couldn't explain, or that you couldn't
In his dream some people gave the Hodja nine gold coins, but Hodja wanted
ten.-So he refused them. Suddenly he awoke and saw that his hands were
empty. So he quickly closed his eyes again and said: It's okay, I'll take
the nine coins.
HODJA'S WIFE AND HIS DONKEY
When his wife died, the Hodja became very sorry, but he mourned for her only
a few days.
After a while his donkey died and he was even more sorrowful and mourned for
him many months.
People asked him why and he answered:
When my wife died, they all said, they could find a younger and better one
for me, but when my donkey died, nobody offered the same service.
One day a man asked the Hodja to write a letter for him.
Where will the letter go? the Hodja asked.
To Baghdad, said the man.
I cannot go to there, the Hodja told him.
But you don't have to go. The letter will go there, said the man and the
Nobody can read what I write. Therefore I must go there to read it.
IF I KNEW
One day the donkey of the Hodja got stolen. The Hodja began to search it.
While searching, he was shouting. The judge who saw that, asked him Who has
stolen your donkey, and how?
The Hodja became very angry and said: If I knew the answer, my donkey
wouldn't have been stolen!
IF IT IS A LIE
One day a friend of the Hodja asked him to count as a witness and said to
If the judge asks you 'did this man give away all the gold coins' you can
tell him that I did.
They appeared before the judge and the Hodja gave evidence that the man had
indeed given away all the 'silver' coins.
The judge accepted this and they were dismissed.
Outside the friend said to the Hodja:
Hodja Effendi, why did you say 'silver' instead of 'gold'?
If it is a lie, answered the Hodja, what does it matter, what it is?
One day, a thief came to the house of the Hodja and took everything he had
except the blanket which covered him.
When the Hodja saw the thief carrying all his things away, he put his
blanket over his shoulders and followed him.
When the thief arrived at his own house, he turned back and saw the Hodja.
What are you doing here? he asked.
What am I doing here, said the Hodja, you ask a thing like that? Didn't we
move to this house?
JESUS IN HEAVEN
In a village where the Hodja was giving a speech, he told the people
assembled there about Jesus, how he lived in the heavens. One old woman was
very curious and asked the Hodja, what this Jesus ate in Heaven.
Now the Hodja had been in the village for almost a month, and no-one had
offered him any food, and because of this he was rather angry. So he
You, silly woman, why do you ask what Jesus eats in heaven when you cannot
remember to ask what the poor Hodja Nasreddin eats on the earth!
LIGHT OF THE WORLD
During the birth of his children, the Hodja stood holding a lighted candle.
The first child was born, and as they were twins, after a while the second
child was also born. Suddenly the Hodja extinguished the candle. 'Why' asked
the attendant relatives. He replied:
Because, while there was light, first child was born, and then another. Who
knows how many more there may be!
When the Hodja was in bed, he heard a thief walking on the roof. He quickly
thought of a trick to catch him.
He turned to his wife and said:
One day when I lost the key and when you weren't at home, I said a prayer
held on to the moonlight and jumped into the house from the roof.
Then he said a short prayer.
The thief, listening to the Hodja believed to these words, so he said a
prayer held on the moonlight and fall into the house. The Hodja caught him
and ordered his wife to bring a rope.
No need, Sir, said the thief lying on the floor As long as you have that
prayer and I have that brain, I cannot escape.
MANY HENS, NO ROOSTER
One day when the Hodja went to the baths, his friends wanted to play a joke
on him. They each took an egg with them and came to the baths.
Hodja Effendi, said one of them. Everyone will say chuck-chuck-chuck and lay
an egg. The one who cannot do this must invite all the rest to dinner.
The Hodja agreed and they began to put the prepared eggs underneath them.
Then it was Hodja's turn. He shouted: Cock a-doodle-do
What is that? they asked.
Do not so many hens need a rooster? he replied.
MIRACLE OF THE TURBAN (old type of hat)
One day a man brought a letter to the Hodja and said:
Hodja Effendi, please read it to me.,
The Hodja saw that it was written in a foreign language and said:
I cannot read that, it isn't written in Turkish.
The man became angry:
You are a teacher. You should be ashamed of your turban! You cannot read a
The Hodja put the turban on the head of the man and said:
If the miracle is on the turban, take it and read the letter by yourself.
MISTAKES IN THE BOOKS
At the time of Temur no one was allowed to carry a knife or a gun.
One day the soldiers caught the Hodja with a big knife. The head of the
Don't you know, that you are not allowed to carry a knife!,
But, I use it to scratch out the mistakes in the books.
But why is your knife so big?
Because the mistakes are big!
When the Hodja was going out with his students, he sat on the donkey facing
the tail. They asked him why and he explained:
As a teacher I must be in front of you. But if I face the front, I cannot
see what you are doing behind me. Therefore, if I sit on the donkey this
way, I can see you all quite easily.
One day a man said to the Hodja that he saw a man bringing a roasted goose.
It doesn't interest me, said the Hodja.
But it was going to your house, said the man.
Then it doesn't interest you, replied the Hodja.
SEARCHING FOR THE HODJA
One day, a man came to Akshehir and wanted to see the Hodja, who was famous
as a great joker.
He saw a man leaning on a wall and asked him if he knew where the Hodja was.
This man said that he was busy at the moment leaning against the wall so
that it would not fall down, but if the man would do his job he would go and
look for the Hodja and call him.
The man said O.K. and leaned against the wall. He waited and waited but the
other man did not return.
He told some people passing by, of the situation. When he described the man
the people began to laugh and said to him:
Didn't you believe that the Hodja was a joker? That was the Hodja to whom
When the Hodja had no job he went to the head-judge and asked for a job. The
head-judge said that all places at the court were full and there was no
place for the Hodja.
Let me be the shadow judge, said the Hodja.
You can send the interesting law suits to me.
The head-judge liked this idea. So the Hodja began to his job, having a good
office to work in.
Every day the Hodja came to his office, put the papers in front of him,
waited until the evening, and went home. He did nothing during this time.
One day a man came to the head-judge and said of another:
This man was cutting that beat on the wood I said 'hink' and this made him
stronger. Now I want my money.
The head-judge thought and thought, suddenly he remembered that there was
the shadow judge for such lawsuits and sent the men to him and he listened
from behind the door.
The Hodja listened to the man, took the piece of wood and turned to the wood
Give me the money you got for this wood cutting. He took it, then let it
fall on the wood and said: You wood cutter, take your money and go! And you,
the 'hink' sayer, take your voice and go!
SILLY RESTAURANT OWNER
When the Hodja was in another village, he got very hungry. He was walking
through the market when he smelled food from a restaurant. He saw the owner
standing at the door. He asked:
Does all this food belong to you?
Yes, said the man.
Really? asked the Hodja.
You silly man, said the Hodja. Why do you stand here, instead of eating it
STRANGE JOB OF THE GOD
The Hodja collected over many years 1000 coins and one day a thief came and
stole the money. The Hodja was very sorry and prayed every night.
After many days, a man came and gave 1000 coins to the Hodja. The Hodja
What is this?
The man explained:
I am a sailor and the ship I was on was in perie. The waves lashed the ship
and we were all very frightened. So I said: 'If I return safely on land, I
will give 1000 coins to the Hodja' and here they are.
When the Hodja heard this he said:
Dear God? what a strange job you have. Where did my money go and from where
does it return! What is the use of this?
TAKING A BATH
A man asked the Hodja,
Hodja Effendi, to which side must I turn when bathing in the sea?
The Hodja answered;
To the side where your clothes are.
TIT FOR TAT
When the Hodja was repairing the roof a man called him from below.
What do you want said the Hodja.
Come down for just a minute, he said. I'll tell you something!
The Hodja got down and the man said: Can you lend me some money?
Come, said the Hodja, for just a minute up above.
The man came with him onto the roof and the Hodja said:
I have no money!
One day the Hodja wanted to eat peaches and he saw a garden full of peach
trees. So he climbed up the tree and began to eat them, one after the other.
But the Hodja was an unlucky man. While he was eating with great appetite,
the owner of the garden came. The Hodja hid behind the branches, but the man
heard something moving and shouted:
Who is there?
The Hodja was afraid and sang like a nightingale. The man shouted:
You, come down, a nightingale doesn't sing like that!
What didn't you like?, shouted the Hodja. Can an inexperienced nightingale
sing better than this?
WAY OF THE ROOSTER
One day the Hodja purchased some hens and a rooster and on the way to
Akshehir he released the rooster to lead the hens home. But of course, when
the Hodja freed them, they all fled. But he caught the rooster, gave it a
beating and cried:
You silly bird, you know when it is morning because you are crow, why don't
you know the way to Akshehir?
WHAT DOES THE HODJA THINK
One day the Hodja saw a garden and entered. There he saw many kinds of
fruits and began to put them in his bag. At this moment the owner of the
garden arrived and cried:
What are you doing there?
You know the storm we had yesterday, said the Hodja. It blew me here.
And who broke off this fruit?
I wanted to hold on to the branches and they fell down.
And who put this fruit in the bag?
I was just thinking of that, said the Hodja. Come on, we'll think together!
WHAT TEMUR DOES NOT KNOW
In the time of Temur, he was very strict and everyone committing a crime was
One day the Hodja was with him. Temur was shouting.
Beat this man 700 times!, This one 1000 times!, This one 1200 times!, This
one 1500 times!
Then the Hodja spoke: Dear Temur, do you know everything?,
Of course, shouted Temur angrily.
No, said the Hodja. Here is something which you don't know. It is the
meaning of the number 1500 or the taste of the stick.
WHERE THE COFFIN GOES
One day one of the men of Akshehir died. His wife was crying.
Oh, my husband! Where have you gone? There is no light, there is no food,
there is nothing!
When the Hodja heard this, he ran home and said to his wife.
My wife! Open the door! The coffin is coming to our house!
WHERE TO GO
The people asked the Hodja,
Dear Hodja, tell us, where should we go in a funeral procession, in front,
at the back, or at the side?
The Hodja answered, It doesn't matter where you go, as long as you don't go
in the coffin.
WHOM DO YOU BELIEVE?
One day, a friend of the Hodja came to him and asked if he could borrow his
donkey for two hours to go to the town. The Hodja, not really wanting to
lend his donkey, thought for a while and then said:
Dear friend, I would like to help you but I have lent my donkey to another
The man was turning to leave when he heard the donkey, who was in the
stable, bray. The braying became louder and louder. Then the man turned to
the Hodja with great anger and shouted:
You, Hodja, you have cheated me!
The Hodja, in turn, was very angry and shouted back: You silly man, haven't
you any sense, whom do you believe, me or the donkey.
WILL YOU OR WON'T YOU
One day, the Hodja became very angry with Sultan Temur, a strict ruler, who
had arrived in Akshehir with his powerful army. He went to him and asked in
an angry and threatening way:
Tell me, Temur, will you take your army and go away from Akshehir or not?
The Sultan was astonished and wanted to know what he meant.
No comment, said the Hodja. Tell me, will you take your army and go away
from Akshehir or not; If not, I know what to do!
Now the Sultan became very angry and said: If I don't, what will you do
The Hodja replied: What will I do? I'll take the people of the town and
we'll go away!
When the Hodja was going somewhere, he got on his donkey with his back
facing to front.
Hodja Effendi, the people said. You are sitting on your donkey the wrong way
No, he said. It's just that the donkey is standing the wrong way round.
One day, the Hodja went to another village. Nobody offered him something to
eat, instead they asked him:
"Hodja, why do people yawn?
There are two reasons: One of them is tiredness, the other is hunger.
After yawning for a while he finished up his words:
I'm not tired!
YOUTH OF THE HODJA
One day the Hodja wanted to get on his horse but he couldn't reach his aim.
Oh, what a shame, he said aloud. That I am not young as I was in the old
Then he said in a whisper which was heard only by himself:
I know how you were in your youth!
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