Nasreddin Hodja is a Turkish folk symbol known for his wise humour. Full of intelligence and spirit, his humour which would encourage thinking while laughing has helped shape the Turkish humour and personality.
Nasreddin Hodja was born in 1208 in the village that bears his name, near the city of Eskisehir in Turkey. His father was the imam in the mosque of the village.
Nasreddin Hodja had a strong academic background and worked as the deputy judge to Aksehir and Konya as well as teaching in medreses and other schools in the same cities.
Althouh a national icon in Turkey and the Ottoman diaspora, Nasreddin Hodja is also known outside Ottoman diaspora for his humorous anecdotes.
Some sublime words and anectodes from Nasreddin Hodja:
How to excel
Nasreddin Hodja crosses through the city riding his galloping donkey
“Where are you going Hodja, you look like you’re in a hurry” someone asks.
“I’m not in a hurry but I want him to go so fast he forgets that he is a donkey.” He answers.
Value of the person
While resting in a Turkish bath, Timurlane (*) asks Hodja who is also resting in the bath as part of Timurlane’s entourage.
“Hodja, you must know as you’re the wise man” Timurlane asked “Tell me how much would I, the mighty king of Mongolian armies, be of worth”
Hodja looked at him from head to toe. Timurlane was wearing a peshtamal (a special towel) which was attached to his waist by a belt with a silver buckle.
Hodja said “20 coins”
Timurlane got furious and said “Hodja, what are you talking about? Even the belt I am wearing is worth 20 coins”
Hodja said without hesitation “That’s what I was really talking about”
My dear fur coat
A rich and a notable man invited all prominent figures and scholars to a feast. Nasreddin Hodja was also among those who were invited. Hodja arrived wearing his ordinary clothes. The host of the feats paid little attention and didn’t show much respect to him.
Sometime later, the rich mane invited everyone again to another feast. This time Hodja attended the feast wearing his expensive fur coat. And this time all the attention was on Hodja, the host and his entourage was circling around him. When food was served, he dipped the collar of his fur into the food and said “eat, my dear fur coat, eat.. enjoy your meal”
The host and the guests asked Hodja why he was feeding his furcoat.
Hodja said “well, it seems the great hospitality is not for me but for my furcoat”