The show we went to see the other night was more than just a collection for flips, and tricks, stunts and such, it was a cultural introduction to a famous Uyghur folk hero. The greeting in the title was being addressed to none other than the famous Nasreddin Ependy. He is a hero to all Turkic people groups (and perhaps all of Islam) best-known as a trickster. His legendary wit and droll trickery were possibly based on the exploits and words of a historical imam. The performance the other night told the story of Nasreddin, and his always present donkey, using the stunts of their trade to save friends from hard situations. There are as many as 350 anecdotes that have been attributed to Nasreddin, many of them are found in our text book.
Around here you can see pictures of this hero everywhere. Sharing a Nasreddin story that relates to the situation is like sharing a proverb or piece of wisdom. However, sometimes the trying to make him fit into all areas of life gets a little out of hand. ( I not sure if Santa is trying to be Nasreddin or whether Nasreddin is trying to imitate Santa)
Below are a few of his famous tales, ( the story telling my seem a little stilted, but that is my fault, I just quickly translated them from out textbook).
Those Who Know Tell Those Who Don’t
One day Nasreddin stepped up to the platform to speak. He started by asking the crowd “do you know what I am going to talk about today?”
“No” said the people.
“I don’t want to talk to people who know nothing about what I am gong to talk about” replied Nasreddin as he stepped down to leave.
On the second day when he stepped up to speak Nasreddin started with the same question
“Do you know what I am going to talk about today?”
“Yes” responded the people
“Then there is nothing left for me to say” Nasreddin once again left them standing there uncertain.
The people decided if this should happen again then some of the people would respond that they knew and others would respond that they didn’t know.
On the third day when once again asked the same question “Do you know what I am going to talk about today?”
They answered “Some of us do… some of us don’t”
“Wonderful,” said Nasreddin “Those of you who know can tell those who don’t” and with that he left.
Eat, My Coat, Eat
The Nasreddin was invited to a banquet. Not wanting to be pretentious, he wore his everyday clothes, only to discover that everyone ignored him, including the host. So he went back home and put on his fanciest coat, and then returned to the banquet. Now he was greeted cordially by everyone and invited to sit down and eat and drink.
When the soup was served to him he dunked the sleeve of his coat into the bowl and said,
"Eat, my coat, eat!"
The startled host asked the Narsreddin to explain his strange behavior.
"When I arrived here wearing my other clothes," explained the Nasreddin, "no one offered me anything to eat or drink. But when I returned wearing this fine coat, I was immediately offered the best of everything, so I can only assume that it was the coat and not myself who was invited to your banquet."
What Type of Book
Nasredinn had a friend who often borrowed his books, but would not return them. This made Nasredinn very mad. One day while he was sitting out side reading this friend came along to join him.
“What are you reading?” He asked Nasredinn
Nasredinn answered without lifting his eyes from the page, “One that I paid for”.