Nasrudin went to a shop of a man who stocked all kinds of bit and pieces.
“Have you got nails?” he asked.
“And leather, good leather?”
“Then why, for Heaven’s sake, don’t you make a pair of boots?”
Occasionally I manage to take Nasrudin’s advice and make myself something useful from the jokes collected by Idries Shah in his Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin.
Here’s an example, entitled “Fixed Ideas”.
‘How old are you, Mulla?’
‘But you said the same last time I asked you, two years ago!’
‘Yes, I always stand by what I have said.’
This joke helped me take a second look at a highly principled politician with whom I agreed. But he prided himself on his “good ideas” and stood by them for decades. “How would he respond if changing circumstances necessitated a fresh approach?” I wondered. It was worrisome.
Here’s another, entitled ‘The Burglar’
A thief went into Nasrudin’s house and carried away almost all the possessions of the Mulla to his own home. Nasrudin had been watching from the street. After a few minutes Nasrudin took up a blanket, followed him, went into his house, lay down, and pretended to go to sleep. ‘Who are you, and what are you doing here?’ asked the thief. ‘Well,’ said the Mulla, ‘we were moving house, were we not’?
Shah’s intriguing little book provokes laughter & fresh insights into our selves and our world. Mulla Nasrudin’s antics parallel the workings of the mind. The tales of this ancient wise fool from the East are bottomless and bracing. I’ve reread this book and others in the Nasrudin corpus many times, and always discover something new. Over time I’ve “stolen” all kinds of “bits and pieces” to make something useful. But I’ve gotten much more than I bargained for. Nasrudin and his ways of seeing are now very present in my life. I think he’s moved in!