THE TURKISH JESTER; OR,
THE PLEASANTRIES OF COGIA NASR EDDIN EFENDI.
‘A breeze, which pleasant stories bears,
Relicks of long departed years.’
The story goes, one of the stories of a hundred, that Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi one day ascending into the pulpit to preach, said, ‘O believers, do ye not know what I am going to say to you?’ The congregation answered, ‘Dear Cogia Efendi, we do not know.’ Then said the Cogia, ‘What shall I say to you until you do know?’ One day the Cogia ascending again into the pulpit, said, ‘O Mussulmen, do ye not know what I am going to say to you?’ ‘We do know,’ they replied. Then said the Cogia, ‘Some of ye do know already, what should I have to say to you?’ Then descending from the chair he went out. The assembly separated quite astonished, and, when they were out, continued to say, ‘Which are those of us who know? Which are those who do not know?’ The Cogia one day again mounting the chair in the same manner, said, ‘O brothers, when I said to ye, “Do you know what I shall say?” there were some who said, “We know,” others said, “We do not.” It were now well that those among ye who knew what the Cogia said should teach those that did not.’
One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi said, ‘O Mussulmen, give thanks to God Most High that He did not give the camel wings; for, had He given them, they would have perched upon your houses and chimneys, and have caused them to tumble upon your heads.’
One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi having mounted the chair in a city, said, ‘O Mussulmen, the air above this city is just like the air above my city.’ The congregation said, ‘O Cogia Efendi, how do you know that?’ Said the Cogia, ‘Because I have seen as many stars above this city as I saw above Belgrade.’
One night the Cogia dreamt that he was given nine aspres, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘O now pray make them up ten’; afterwards he said, ‘Make them up eleven,’ and then presently, a dispute having arisen, he awoke and saw that in his hand he had nothing, thereupon closing his eyes anew and stretching out his hands, he said, ‘Well, well, I shall be content with nine aspres.’
One day the Cogia went out into the plain, and as he was going along he suddenly saw some men on horseback coming towards him. Cogia Efendi, in a great hurry, set off towards a cemetery, and having reached it took off his clothes, and entering into a tomb lay down. The horsemen, on seeing the Cogia run away, followed him to the place where he lay, and said, ‘O fellow, p. 255why do you lie here?’ Cogia Efendi, finding nothing else to say, replied, ‘I am one of the buried people, but came here to walk.’
Cogia Efendi one day went into a garden, pulled up some carrots and turnips and other kinds of vegetables, which he found, putting some into a sack and some into his bosom; suddenly the gardener coming up, laid hold of him, and said, ‘What are you seeking here?’ The Cogia, being in great consternation, not finding any other reply, answered, ‘For some days past a great wind has been blowing, and that wind blew me hither.’ ‘But who pulled up these vegetables?’ said the gardener. ‘As the wind blew very violently,’ replied the Cogia, ‘it cast me here and there, and whatever I laid hold of in the hope of saving myself remained in my hands.’ ‘Ah,’ said the gardener, ‘but who filled the sack with them?’ ‘Well,’ said the Cogia, ‘that is the very question I was about to ask myself when you came up.’
One day Cogia Efendi, on whom God be merciful, went to the city of Conia, and going into a pastry-cook’s shop, seized hold of a tart, and saying, ‘In the Name of God,’ began to eat it. The pastry-cook cried out, ‘Halloa, fellow, what are you about?’ and fell to beating him. The Cogia said, ‘Oh what a fine country is this of Conia, in which, whilst a man eats a tart, they put in a blow as a digester for every morsel.’
Cogia Nasr Eddin, at the time of the Holy Ramadan, thought to himself, ‘What must I do in order to hold the fast in conformity with the people? I must prepare an earthen pot, and every day put a stone into it, and when thirty days are completed I may hold my Beiram.’ So he commenced placing stones in the pot, one every day. Now it happened one day that a daughter of the Cogia cast a handful of stones into the pot, and a little time after some people asked the Cogia, ‘What day of the month is it to-day?’ Now it happened to be the twenty-fifth. The Cogia, however, said to them, ‘Have patience and I will see’; and going to his house and emptying the pot, perceived that there were a hundred and twenty stones in it. Says the Cogia to himself, ‘If I tell the people all this number they will call me a fool.’ So going to them he said, ‘This day is the forty-fifth day of the month.’ But, said they, ‘O Cogia, a month has in all but thirty days, so how can you say that to-day is the forty-fifth?’ ‘I spoke quite within bounds,’ said the Cogia. ‘If you were to see the account in the pot you would find that to-day is the hundred and twentieth.’
One day the Cogia was asked, ‘When there is a new moon, what becomes of the old one?’ ‘They make forty stars out of each,’ said the Cogia.
One day the Cogia went out of the city along with a cafila or caravan of people, and felt a wish to ride. Now there was a camel belonging to the cafila, and the Cogia said to himself, ‘Now, if instead of walking I should mount on this camel, how comfortably could I travel!’ Thereupon mounting on the camel, he proceeded along with the cafila. The camel, however, falling to kicking, flung the Cogia to the earth and knelt upon him. The Cogia cried out loudly, and the people of the cafila came and rescued him. After a little time the Cogia, coming to his senses, said, ‘O Mussulmen, did you not see how that perfidious camel maltreated me? Now do hold the perfidious brute for me, that I may cut its throat.’
One day the Cogia bought a quantity of eggs at the rate of nine for the aspre, and carrying them to another place, he sold them at the rate of ten. Some people asking him, ‘Why do you sell ten for what you gave for nine?’ the Cogia replied, ‘I always wish my friends to see that I lose by my bargains.’
One day the Cogia walking along the plain met a heifer, and forthwith laying thievish hands upon it, led it straight to his house, where he slaughtered it and stripped off the skin. The proprietor soon appeared before the Cogia’s house, making a loud cry and lamentation. ‘Who would have thought,’ said the Cogia to his people and his wife, ‘that my flaying the heifer would have made that fellow’s face look so black?’
One day the Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi passing along the bazaar, an individual coming up to him said, ‘Pray, Cogia, what is the moon to-day? Is it at three or four?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said the Cogia. ‘I neither buy nor sell the moon.’
One day the Cogia taking a ladder on his shoulder, placed it against a garden wall, and mounting, got over, taking the ladder with him. The gardener seeing him said, ‘Who are you? and what do you want here?’ ‘I am come to sell this ladder,’ said the Cogia without hesitation. ‘Is this a place for selling a ladder?’ said the gardener. ‘O you foolish man,’ said the Cogia, ‘cannot a ladder be sold anywhere?’
Nasr Eddin Efendi one day taking hold of some fowls one by one, tied some strips of an apron round their throats, and then let them go. The learned men having assembled round the Cogia, said, ‘What was the matter with these fowls?’ Said the Cogia, ‘They merely went into mourning for their slaughtered mothers.’
One day a bull mounted a young cow of the Cogia’s. The Cogia seeing what he was about, took a staff in his hand and ran towards him. The bull fled towards the car of a Turcoman, to which seven other oxen were attached. The Cogia keeping the ox in view, ran after him, and with the staff in his hand struck the ox several blows. ‘Halloa, man!’ said the Turcoman. ‘What do you want with my ox?’ ‘Don’t you interfere, you foolish dog,’ said the Cogia. ‘He knows full well what he has done.’
One day the Cogia made his last will. ‘When I die,’ said he, ‘place me in an old tomb.’ When the people about him said, ‘Why do you make this request?’ the Cogia said, ‘When the inquiring angels come and ask me questions, I can say, “I am deaf. Do you not see that I as well as my tomb am old?”’
One day Cogia Efendi, putting on very short habiliments, went to the mosque to say his prayers. Whilst performing the rakoua the man who was behind him perceiving the Cogia’s --- seized hold of them and squeezed them, whereupon the Cogia, seizing hold of those of the man who was before him, squeezed them too; the man, turning round and perceiving that it was Cogia Efendi himself, said, ‘Halloa, what are you about?’ ‘You must ask the man behind me,’ said the Cogia.
One day the boys of Belgrade took the Cogia along with them into the bath. They had secretly brought in their pouches a number of eggs. One and all going into the bathing-house, took off their clothes and went in, and then, sitting down on the bench, they all said to one another, ‘Come, let us lay eggs: whosoever does not lay an egg shall pay the expenses of the bath’; after which they began to make a great noise, cackling like hens, and flinging the eggs which they had brought on the stone bench. Cogia Efendi, seeing what they were about, suddenly began to make a great noise and crow like a cock. ‘What are you about, Cogia Efendi?’ said the boys. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘is not a cock necessary where there are so many hens?’
One day the Cogia, putting on black clothes, went out. The people, looking at him, said, ‘Cogia Efendi, for whose death are you in mourning?’ The Cogia answered, ‘My son’s father is dead, and I wear mourning for him.’
One day Cogia, returning from the harvest field, felt very thirsty. Looking around, he saw that they watered a tree by means of a pipe from a fountain. The Cogia exclaimed, ‘I must drink,’ and pulled at the spout, and as he did so the water, spouting forth with violence, wetted the mouth and head of the Cogia, who, in a great rage, said, ‘They watered this wretched tree in order that one fool might wet another.’
One day the Cogia, taking some water melons with him, went to the mountain in order to cut wood. Feeling thirsty, he cut one of the melons, and, putting it to his mouth, cast it away, saying that it was tasteless. He then cut up another, and, to be short, he cut them all up, and, having eaten a little of each, made water over what remained. He then fell to work at cutting wood. After some time the Cogia again became thirsty, and finding no water, he went to the bits of the melons which he had cut up, and saying, ‘This is sprinkled, and this is sprinkled,’ ate them all.
Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi had a lamb which he had fattened to a high degree. One day some of his friends having assembled, said, ‘Let us get the lamb from the Cogia and feast upon it.’ So coming to the Cogia as quick as possible, they said, ‘O Cogia, to-morrow is the Day of Judgment; what would you do with this lamb? Come, take it, and let us eat it.’ The Cogia, however, would not believe them. Coming again, however, they said the same thing, and the Cogia, at last believing their words were true, slaughtered the lamb, and, taking it on his back, he carried it to the public walk, and, lighting a fire, he began to prepare a roast. Presently, stripping their bodies, they delivered their clothes to the Cogia, and each went aside to sleep. Whereupon the Cogia, taking their garments, flung them all into the fire and burnt them. In a little time, their bellies becoming hungry from the sleep they had had, they came again, and saw that their garments were nearly reduced to a coal. Whereupon they said to the Cogia, ‘Who burnt our clothes?’ ‘My dear friends,’ replied the Cogia, ‘to-morrow is the Day of Resurrection, so what need can you have of clothes?’
One day a thief, entering the house of the Cogia, laid hold of everything there was there, and, placing it on his back, went away. The Cogia, however, spying somebody going out, followed the thief, who went into his own house. The Cogia following close behind, pushed against him at the door. Whereupon the thief said, ‘What do you want, Cogia Efendi?’ ‘What do I want?’ said the Cogia. ‘Why, are we not going to remove hither to-day?’
One day certain individuals stole from the Cogia a sum of money, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘O Lord, what need have you that you give my money to others.’ So he made a dreadful outcry, and going into the mosque, wept until it was morning, groaning like a ship labouring in the sea. Those who were there said, ‘Ye who have found salvation make up a sum of money for the Cogia.’ So whosoever had found salvation through the assistance of the Almighty made up what he could, and brought it to the Cogia. Whereupon the Cogia exclaimed, ‘Allah, Allah! by lying one night publicly in the mosque and weeping, I have caused Allah to send me my money again.’
One day the Cogia borrowed a cauldron of a brazier, and carrying it home, put a little saucepan into it, and then carrying it back, returned it to its owner. The owner seeing a little saucepan in the cauldron, said, ‘What is this?’ ‘Why,’ cried the Cogia, ‘the cauldron has borne a child’; whereupon the owner took possession of the saucepan. One day the Cogia asked again for the cauldron, and having obtained it, carried it home. The owner of the cauldron waited one day and even five days for his utensil, but no cauldron coming, he went to the house of the Cogia and knocked at the door. The Cogia coming to the door, said, ‘What do you want?’ ‘The cauldron,’ said the man. ‘Oh, set your heart at rest,’ said the Cogia, ‘the cauldron is dead.’ ‘O Cogia,’ said the man, ‘can a cauldron die?’ ‘Oh,’ said the Cogia, ‘as you believed it could bear a child, why should you not believe that it can die?’
One day the Cogia, walking amongst the sepulchres, saw a large dog lying upon a gravestone. The Cogia, in a great rage laying hold on a stick, aimed a blow at the dog, who in his turn assaulted the Cogia. The Cogia fearing that he should be torn to pieces, said to the dog, ‘Get you gone: I conquered. Get you gone.’
One day the Cogia laying hold on a crane, took it home, and saying that its beak and feet were very long, cut them off with a knife; and placing it on a lofty place, said, ‘Now you look like a bird.’
One day the Cogia having made his broth very hot, burnt his mouth, and making a great outcry, ran into the street, saying, ‘Make way, brothers: there is a fire in my belly.’
A Moolah, who had travelled about Arabia, Persia, Hindustan, and, in a word, the whole seven climes without finding any one who could answer his questions, was told by a man, ‘In this country there is a man called Cogia Nasr Eddin, who will answer your questions if any one can.’ The Moolah arising, went straight to Belgrade, where he bought an aspre’s worth of pomegranates, which he placed in his bosom. Going out of the suburbs of Belgrade, he saw a man going to his labour; now this was the Cogia himself. Going up to him he saw a man like a fakeah, with shoes of raw hide on his feet and a kiebbeh or rough cloak on his back. When he was close by him he said to him, ‘Salaam’; and the Cogia saying to him, ‘Peace be unto you,’ said, ‘Moolah Efendi, for what have you come?’ The Moolah replied, ‘Can you answer a question which I shall ask?’ The Cogia said, ‘I can.’ ‘Do you know so-and-so?’ The Cogia said, ‘I can do nothing without being paid. What will you give me?’ The Moolah taking the pomegranates which were in his bosom, gave him one; whereupon the Cogia answered his question, and got all his pomegranates, one by one, till not a single grain remained. The Moolah then said, ‘I have yet one question to ask.’ The Cogia replied, ‘Go your way: don’t trouble me. The pomegranates are spent.’ Whereupon the Moolah went away, saying, ‘If the labourers of Moom are of this description, what must the learned men be?’
One day the Cogia saw a great many ducks playing on the top of a fountain. The Cogia, running towards them, said, ‘I’ll catch you’; whereupon they all rose up and took to flight. The Cogia, taking a little bread in his hand, sat down on the side of the fountain, and crumbling the bread in the fountain, fell to eating. A person coming up, said, ‘What are you eating?’ ‘Duck broth,’ replied the Cogia.
One day the Cogia having bought a liver, was carrying it to his house; suddenly a kite, swooping from above with a loud scream, seized the liver, and flew off with it. The Cogia remained staring after it, but saw that it was impossible to recover his meat. Making up his mind, he ran up to the top of an eminence, and a person passing below with a liver in his hand, the Cogia darted down and snatched the liver out of the person’s hand, and ran again up the rock. ‘Hallo, Cogia,’ said the man, ‘what are you about?’ ‘I was merely playing the kite out of fun,’ said the Cogia.
A person coming to Nasr Eddin Efendi, requested him to let him have a rope. The Cogia went into his house, and coming out again, said, ‘The rope is striking ten.’ ‘How can a rope strike ten?’ said the man. ‘It will always be striking ten,’ said the Cogia, ‘till I feel inclined to give you the rope.’
One day the Cogia put some fowls into a cage and set out for the castle of Siouri. As he was going along he said to himself, ‘These poor wretches are here imprisoned: I think I may as well give them a little liberty.’ So he let them all out, and all the hens ran off in one direction or another. The Cogia taking a stick in his hand, placed himself before the cock, pushing him and driving him, saying, ‘O you who in the middle of the night knowest when it is morning, how is it that in broad day thou knowest not the way to the castle?’
One day as the Cogia was wandering amongst the tombs, by the side of the way he fell into an old tomb, and making believe as if he were dead, he said, ‘Let me see Mounkhir. Is Nekîr coming?’ As he lay there stretched at his length, it appeared to him that he heard from afar the voice of a bell. ‘It is the noise of the Day of Judgment,’ said the Cogia, and forthwith sprang out of the tomb. Now it happened that a caravan was coming, and the Cogia, by putting out his head, frightened the camels, who jostled each other in great confusion. No sooner did the conductors see the Cogia than, seizing their cudgels, they said to him, ‘You! Who are you?’ The Cogia said to them, ‘I am one who is dead.’ ‘And what are you doing here?’ said the conductors. ‘I merely came to take a walk,’ said the Cogia. ‘We will now make you take a pretty walk,’ said the carriers, and instantly began belabouring him with their cudgels. The Cogia, with tears streaming from his eyes, ran home. ‘Where have you been?’ said his wife. ‘I have been dead,’ said the Cogia, ‘and in the tomb.’ ‘And what is there in the other world?’ said his wife. ‘Nothing,’ said the Cogia, ‘provided you don’t frighten carriers’ camels.’
Once upon a time the Cogia was sent into Curdistan along with the Ambassador. Whilst he was there the Curdish Beys invited the Cogia to a feast which they had made in honour of him. The Cogia, putting on a pelisse, went to the place of festival. During the entertainment he chanced to belch. ‘You do wrong to belch, Cogia Moolah Efendi,’ said the Beys. ‘I am amongst Curds,’ said the Cogia. ‘How should they know a Turkish belching, even though they hear it?’
One day the Cogia went with Cheragh Ahmed to the den of a wolf, in order to see the cubs. Said the Cogia to Ahmed: ‘Do you go in.’ Ahmed did so. The old wolf was abroad, but presently returning, tried to get into the cave to its young. When it was about half-way in the Cogia seized hard hold of it by the tail. The wolf in its struggles cast a quantity of dust into the eyes of Ahmed. ‘Hallo, Cogia,’ he cried, ‘what does this dust mean?’ ‘If the wolf’s tail breaks,’ said the Cogia, ‘you’ll soon see what the dust means.’
One day the Cogia mounted upon a tree, and, sitting upon a branch, forthwith began to cut it. A person coming up said, ‘Hallo, man! what are you about? as soon as you have cut the branch you will fall.’ The Cogia made no answer, but went on cutting, and no sooner had he cut through the bough than down fell the Cogia to the ground. Getting up, he ran after the person, crying out, ‘Ho, fellow, if you knew that I should fall you also knew that I should kill myself,’ and forthwith seized him by the collar. The man, finding no other way to save himself, said, ‘Leave hold of me and fling yourself down on the road face upwards. At the first belching that you give half your soul will leave your body; at the second, all will go and not a particle will remain.’ The Cogia did so, and at the second belching, laying himself down on the ground, he cried, ‘I am dead,’ and remained motionless. Forthwith the Ulemas hastened to him, and bringing with them a coffin, placed him in it, saying, ‘Let us carry him home.’ On their way, coming to a miry place, they said, ‘We will rest,’ and began to talk together. The Cogia, forthwith raising his head from the coffin, said, ‘If I were alive I would get out of this place as quick as possible.’
One day the Cogia set about making a stable under the earth. As he was digging, he got into a stable of one of his neighbours, in which he found several oxen. The Cogia, very much rejoiced, went into his house, and said, ‘O wife, I have found a stable of oxen; a relic of the times of the Caffirs. Now what will you give me for bringing you this piece of good news?’
Nasr Eddin Efendi had two daughters. One day the two coming to see their father, the Cogia said to them, ‘Well, daughters, how do things go on with you?’ Now, the husband of one of them was a farmer, that of the other was a maker of tiles. One of them said, ‘My husband has sown a great deal of corn; if there is plenty of rain my husband will give me a new gown.’ The other said, ‘My husband is a tile-maker; he has made a great quantity; if there is not a drop of rain he will give me a new gown.’ The Cogia said, ‘One of you two may be worth a cucumber, but which of the two God knows, I don’t.’
One day the Cogia being at Siouri Castle he saw a great many people assembled to look at the moon. ‘What a strange land is this,’ said the Cogia. ‘In our country they pay no attention to the moon when it is as big as a cart wheel, but here, when it is quite new and of scarcely any size, what a number of people assemble to look at it.’
Once as Nasr Eddin Efendi was walking in Belgrade he cried out, ‘O Lord! give me a thousand altoons, but if one be wanting I will not take the rest.’ Now these words of the Cogia were heard by a neighbour of his, a Jew, who, in order to try the Cogia, put nine hundred and ninety-nine altoons into a purse and flung it down the Cogia’s chimney. The Cogia sees a purse full of money before him, up he gets, and saying, ‘Our prayer has been accepted,’ he opens the purse, and, counting the altoons, finds that one is wanting. ‘Never mind,’ says he, ‘He who gives these can give one more,’ and takes possession of the money. The Jew now began to be in a fidget, and, getting up, knocked at the Cogia’s door. ‘Good day, Cogia Efendi,’ said he, ‘please to give me back my altoons.’ Quoth the Cogia to the Jew, ‘You are a merchant, and not a fool; I made a request to God on high, He gave me what I asked; what business had you to fling altoons to me?’ The Jew said, ‘O Cogia of my soul, I said I will have a jest with you. On hearing you say, “If one is wanting I will not take the rest,” I said to myself, “I will see whether you will or not”; I did it merely in jest.’ ‘Jest,’ said the Cogia, ‘I know nothing of jest; I accepted the gold.’ ‘Come, come!’ said the Jew, ‘we will go before the Judge.’ Said the Cogia, ‘I will not go on foot before the Judge.’ Thereupon the Jew brought the Cogia a mule. ‘Very good,’ said the Cogia, ‘but I must now have a pelisse for my back.’ The Jew brought him the pelisse, and they set off to the tribunal of the Cadi. The Cadi asking what they came for, the Jew said, ‘This man took from me so many altoons and now he denies having done so.’ The Cadi looked in the Cogia’s face, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘My Lord, I asked in prayer of the Most High a thousand altoons, which He gave. On counting them, however, I found that one was wanting, whereupon I said, “He who gives so many altoons will doubtless give one more,” and I accepted them; but, my Lord, this Jew says that the pelisse which you see on my back, and the mule on which I am mounted, are also his.’ ‘Yes, assuredly, my Lord,’ said the Jew, ‘for mine they are both.’ No sooner had he said these words than every one cried out, ‘Upon you, you Jew rascal,’ and, rushing upon him, they broke his head and kicked him out of the tribunal, and the Cogia was sent home to his house in triumph, not only with the altoons but the pelisse and the mule beside.
One day Cogia Efendi went to a bridal festival. The master of the feast observing his old and wretched garments, paid him no consideration whatever. The Cogia saw that he had no chance of notice; so going out he hurried to his house, and putting on a splendid pelisse, returned to the place of festival. No sooner did he enter the door than the master advanced to meet him, and saying, ‘Welcome, Cogia Efendi,’ with all imaginable honour and reverence placed him at the head of the table, and said, ‘Please to eat, Lord Cogia.’ Forthwith the Cogia taking hold of one of the furs of his pelisse, said, ‘Welcome, my pelisse, please to eat, my lord.’ The master looking at the Cogia with great surprise, said, ‘What are you about?’ Whereupon the Cogia replied, ‘It is quite evident that all the honour paid is paid to my pelisse, so let it have some food too.’
Nasr Eddin Efendi going one day into a city, found the doctors of the law eating and drinking; no sooner did they see the Cogia than they showed him great honour, and brought him food. It happened that that year was a year of famine, and the Cogia whilst eating and drinking, said to himself, ‘No doubt this city must be one in which provisions are very cheap,’ and asked a man who was by him whether it were not so. The man replied, ‘Are you mad? this day is Beiram, every one according to his means cooks meat in his house and brings it forth, and on that account the food is plentiful.’ ‘Ah, my good man,’ said the Cogia, ‘I wish that every day was Beiram.’
One day Cogia Efendi led a cow to the market for sale; backwards and forwards he led it, but was unable to sell it; presently a man advancing to the Cogia, said, ‘Why do you hold this cow in your hand without selling it?’ Said the Cogia, ‘I have led it about since the morning, and notwithstanding all the fine things that I have said about it I have been unable to sell it.’ The individual taking the cow from the Cogia’s hand, began to walk it about, exclaiming, ‘Who will buy a young girl six months gone with child?’ Forthwith buyers followed at his heels, and a very considerable sum was offered. The Cogia, very much surprised, took the money for the cow, and went running to his house. The inspectors, however, coming, took away the Cogia’s daughter, whereupon his wife said, ‘O Cogia, do you stay a little. The inspecting matrons have been for the girl. I will now go to them, and will give the necessary character, so that they will take our daughter, being satisfied with what I say.’ Quoth the Cogia Efendi, ‘No, no, wife, do not open your mouth. I have now learnt various praises fitted for her. I will go and tell them. Do you see how they will be pleased with them.’ So he went to the inspecting matrons, who, as soon as they saw him, said, ‘O Cogia Efendi, what have you to do with us matrons? Get you gone, and let the girl’s mother come.’ Said the Cogia Efendi, ‘It is not the duty of the girl’s mother to give information with respect to any talents which the girl may possess. Whatever questions you may have to ask with respect to the talents we may have observed, do you ask of me.’ Quoth the matrons, ‘Let us hear you dilate a little on her talents.’ ‘Ladies,’ said the Cogia, ‘if the girl is not six months gone with child, she is my property.’ The ladies on hearing this looked at each other, and getting up went away. Said the Cogia’s wife, ‘O Cogia, why did you drive the matrons away by using such words to them?’ ‘Don’t you fear, wife,’ said the Cogia, ‘if they go through the whole country they will not find a girl of this description; so let them go and come back. But to tell you the truth, if I had not praised the cow in this manner, I should have found no purchaser for her.’
One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi, as he was winding the muslin of his turban, perceived that it was not long enough; he again tried all he could to bring it to a point, but in vain. The Cogia in great distress took the muslin, and going to the public mart, put it up to auction. Whilst it was being bid for, a person came and bought it. Whereupon the Cogia going softly up to him, said, ‘Brother, don’t take that thick thing; it is too short for a turban; you can’t bring it to a point.’
One day an individual coming to the Cogia said, ‘Something for my good news, Cogia Efendi. You have a son born to you.’ ‘If I have a son born to me,’ said the Cogia, ‘I owe thanks to God, but what do I owe to you?’
One day a man coming to the Cogia asked him for the loan of his ass. ‘Stay here,’ said the Cogia, ‘whilst I go and consult the animal. If the ass is willing to be lent, I will let you have him.’ Thereupon he went in, and after staying for a time came out and said, ‘The ass is not willing, and has said to me, “If you lend me to others I shall overhear all the evil things that they say of your wife.”’
One day the Cogia, mounting his ass, set off for his garden; on the road, wanting to make water, he took off his woollen vest, and placing it on the pack-saddle of his ass, he went aside. A thief coming up took the woollen vest and ran away with it. The Cogia returning saw that the vest was gone; whereupon taking the pack-saddle from the back of the ass, he put it upon his own shoulders, and giving the ass a cut with his whip, he said, ‘You lost my vest, so I take your saddle.’
One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi, mounting his ass, again set out; on the way, wanting to make water, he again laid his vest upon the ass, and went aside. A person who had his eye upon him, instantly seized the vest and ran away; just at that time the ass began to bray. The Cogia hearing him, shouted out, ‘The ass brays: the ass cries—no good sign.’ The person, however, hearing the braying and the shouting, cast the vest upon the ground and made his escape.
One day Cogia Efendi, having lost his ass, inquired of a certain individual whether he had seen him. ‘I saw him,’ said the individual, ‘in a certain town, officiating as Cadi.’ ‘You say true,’ said the Cogia, ‘I knew he would be a Cadi, for I observed when I taught him the principles of philosophy, that his ears were not sewed up.’
One day Nasr Eddin Efendi went to the mountain to cut wood; after he had cut the wood he loaded his ass, and began to drive him home. The Efendi’s ass, however, would hardly move. A person coming up, said, ‘Put a little sal ammoniac into the --- of the ass.’ The Cogia finding a little sal ammoniac, put it in; whereupon the ass began to run so quickly that the Cogia was left far behind. ‘I would fain see the cause of this,’ said the Cogia, and clapped a little of the sal ammoniac to his own ---. No sooner had he done so than the Cogia’s posterior began to swell, and he set off running so quickly that he soon got before the ass, and ran straight home, but not being able to contain himself in the house, he ran about it, and observing his wife, he said, ‘O wife, whenever you wish me to get me on, do you stick a little sal ammoniac in my ---.’
One day a man came to the house of the Cogia and asked him to lend him his ass. ‘He is not at home,’ replied the Cogia. But it so happened that the ass began to bray within. ‘O Cogia Efendi,’ said the man, ‘you say that the ass is not at home, and there he is braying within.’ ‘What a strange fellow you are!’ said the Cogia. ‘You believe the ass, but will not believe a grey-bearded man like me.’
One day the Cogia said to his wife, ‘O wife, how do you know when a man is dead?’ ‘I know it by his hands and feet being cold,’ said she. One day as the Cogia was going to the mountain for wood, he felt cold in his hands and feet; whereupon he said, ‘I am a dead man,’ and laid himself down at the foot of a tree. Some wolves, however, coming up and beginning to devour his ass, the Cogia shouted to the wolves from the place where he was lying, ‘The ass is dead, it seems, and not the master.’
One day as the Cogia was cutting wood in the mountain, a wolf, coming up to his ass, began to devour it; but on seeing the Cogia, it took the ass and went away. A man who saw what happened, cried out, ‘There he goes!’ Whereupon the Cogia said, ‘Hallo, man: why do you cry out? You must not hinder a wolf who has dined from mounting.’
One day as the Cogia was conducting his ass to the market, the tail of the animal becoming draggled with mud, the Cogia cut it off and put it into a sack. Arriving at the market, he put up the ass to auction; and on a person crying out, ‘What is the use of this tailless creature?’ he said, ‘Don’t you leave your tail in the desert when you come to market?’
One day as the Cogia was coming from a distant place, his ass chanced to be very thirsty, when all of a sudden they arrived at the margin of a pool. Unfortunately, however, the sides of the pool were very steep, and the ass of the Cogia, on seeing the water, not being able to restrain himself, ran forward to the pool. Just as he was falling in, the frogs of the pool began to croak violently; their voices frightening the ass, he ran back. The Cogia, however, seized hold of him, and exclaiming, ‘Bravo, ye birds of the pool!’ he took out a handful of aspres, and flung them into the pool, saying, ‘Here’s something for sweetmeats: take and eat.’
In the time of Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi, three priests, who showed themselves versed in every kind of learning, travelling through the world, at last came to the country of the Soldan Ala Eddin. The Emperor invited them to accept the true faith; whereupon the three said, ‘Each one of us has a question to ask, and if you can give us an answer, we will adopt your religion.’ All agreed to this condition; and Soldan Ala Eddin having assembled his ulemas and sheiks, not one of them was able to make any reply to the questions of the strangers. The Soldan Ala Eddin was very much incensed and mortified, and exclaimed, ‘So there is not one of the ulemas and sheiks in the countries beneath my jurisdiction who can answer these fellows.’ Whereupon one of the ulemas replied, ‘Though none of us can answer these questions, perhaps Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi can.’ The Emperor, on hearing these words, gave orders to his Tartar messengers to go in quest of Nasr Eddin Efendi. The Tartars, with all imaginable speed, went their way, and having found the Cogia, communicated to him the commands of the Sultan. Nasr Eddin, that moment saddling his ass, took his staff in his hand, and mounting the animal, said to the Tartar, ‘Lead the way and set off straight for the palace of Soldan Ala Eddin.’ On his arrival, he went into the presence of the Emperor, to whom he said, ‘Salaam,’ and received the same salutation from the Sultan, who, pointing out a place to him, bade him sit down. Said the Cogia to the Emperor, after wishing him a blessing, ‘For what may it have pleased you to summon me?’ Whereupon the Soldan Ala Eddin told him the whole circumstance. The Cogia forthwith turning to the priests said, ‘What are your questions?’ Then one of the priests, coming forward, said, ‘May it please your Efendiship, my question is this: “Where may the middle of the earth be?”’ Thereupon the Cogia, instantly dismounting from his ass, pointed with his staff to the fore foot of the ass, saying, ‘The middle of the earth is the spot on which my ass’s foot stands.’ ‘How do you know that?’ said the priest. ‘If you doubt my words,’ said the Cogia, ‘take a measure and see whether it comes to more or less.’ Another of the priests coming forward said, ‘How many stars are there in the face of the heaven above us?’ Said the Cogia, ‘As many hairs as there are upon my ass so many stars are there in the heaven.’ ‘How do you know?’ said the priest. ‘If you doubt,’ said the Cogia, ‘come and count, and if there is any difference, say at once.’ ‘Have you counted, then,’ said the priest, ‘the hairs upon your ass?’ ‘And have you counted how many stars there are?’ said the Cogia. Then another priest coming forward said, ‘If you can answer my question the whole of us will adopt your religion.’ ‘Speak,’ said the Cogia, ‘let us hear it.’ ‘Tell me, O Cogia,’ said the priest, ‘how many hairs there are in this beard of mine.’ ‘Just as many,’ said the Cogia, ‘as there are hairs in my ass’s tail.’ ‘How do you know?’ said the priest. ‘Soul of mine,’ said the Cogia, ‘if you don’t believe, come and count.’ The priest would not consent. ‘If you will not consent,’ said the Cogia, ‘come, let us pluck hair for hair from your beard and from the ass’s tail and see if they don’t tally.’ The priest, seeing that he had the worst of the argument, turned to the way of truth, and forthwith said to his companions, ‘I embrace the faith of Islam,’ and acknowledged the unity of God. The two others also with heart and soul embraced the true faith, and the whole three became servants and disciples of the Cogia.
Nasr Eddin Efendi one day placed three plums upon a great table and set out in order to carry them as a present to the Bey. On the way the plums chancing to dance on this side and that the Cogia said, ‘I will now eat you until I leave one to dance by itself.’ So the Cogia ate two of the plums, and carrying one upon the table, placed it before the Bey, who being very much delighted with the plum which the Cogia brought, presented him with a great deal of money. The Cogia went home, and a few days after, taking a number of beetroots, set out again in order to carry them to the Bey. As he was going along he met an individual, who said to the Cogia, ‘To whom are you carrying those things?’ ‘I am carrying them to the Bey,’ said the Cogia. ‘If you were to carry him some figs instead,’ said the individual, ‘he would like it better.’ The Cogia instantly went and procured a few pounds of figs, which he carried to the Bey, who ordered his attendants to fling them all at his head. Some of the figs striking the Cogia’s head, he forthwith began to cry out, ‘Thank God, thank God!’ ‘How is this, Cogia?’ said they. ‘Why do you thank God?’ ‘I was bringing a great quantity of beetroots,’ said the Cogia, ‘but meeting an individual on the road, he advised me to bring these instead. Now if I had brought beetroots, my head would have been broken.’
The Cogia going on another day to visit the Bey, the Bey took him out a-hunting, but mounted him on a good-for-nothing horse. As they were hunting, it began to rain; every one escaped by means of his horse, but the good-for-nothing horse would scarcely move. The Cogia forthwith stripping himself naked, took his garments and sat down upon them. No sooner was the rain over, than he got up, and having dressed himself, he went to the Bey. Said the Bey, ‘It is a wonder you escaped a wetting.’ Said the Cogia, ‘I was mounted on a horse that was a great goer, he flew away with me so fast that I escaped the rain.’ The Bey believed every word that he said. On another day the Bey again went out a-hunting, but he now rode that same horse himself, whilst the Cogia was mounted on another; now it so pleased God that it again began to rain, every one escaped as fast as he could, but the Bey on the good-for-nothing horse was left behind, and at last reached home, creeping along like a crane. He was very much incensed at what the Cogia had told him, and the next day addressed him in this manner: ‘Was it fit and proper that you should tell me the lie you did, and cause me to be wet through by the rain which God sent?’ Said the Cogia, ‘Why are you angry with me? Why had you not sense enough to strip off your clothes as I did, and sit upon them, and when the rain was over, dress yourself and come here?’
One day the Bey sent this message to the Cogia, ‘Come, I intend to play the jerreed with you, for I wish to have a little jerreed playing.’ Now the Cogia had an old ox, which, saddling immediately, he mounted, and rode to the place where they played at the jerreed. No sooner did the people see him than they fell to laughing, and the Bey said, ‘O Cogia, why did you mount that ox, for it can’t run?’ ‘Can’t it?’ said the Cogia. ‘I have seen it when it was a calf running so fast that no horse could overtake it.’
One day Tamerlank invited the Cogia to dine with him. The Cogia accepted the invitation, and mounting his ass, taking the groom along with him, set out, saying, ‘Now, Tamerlank, where may you be?’ When he came to the Emperor, Timour Shah, pointing to a place, bade him sit down. The Cogia, seeing that Timour Shah sat with one foot supported on a cushion, when he sat down, stretched out his own leg, and placed it upon a corner of the cushion. Timour Shah being very much offended that the Cogia stretched out his leg as he did, said to himself, ‘If I do so I have an excuse, and I am also a king’; and then said to the Cogia, ‘When you mount your ass, what is the difference between you and him?’ The Cogia replied, ‘My Emperor, only this cushion divides us which is placed upon his back.’ The Shah, perceiving the taunt, was very much incensed, and determined to mortify the Cogia. The food being brought, they began to eat, and presently Timour, without any cause, sneezed in the Cogia’s face. The Cogia, when he saw Tamerlank do this, said, ‘My Emperor, is it not ill manners to do so?’ ‘It is not in our country,’ said Tamerlank. Forthwith the Cogia let a ---; and when Tamerlank said, ‘Is not that ill manners?’ he replied, ‘It is not reckoned so in our country.’ The repast being over, the sherbet was brought; and then the Cogia, getting up, set off on his way home. ‘Why did you break wind in the presence of Timour?’ said the groom. Answered the Cogia, ‘When the Imam --- the assembly breaks up.’
One day the Cogia roasted a goose, and set out in order to carry it to the Emperor. On the way, feeling very hungry, he cut off one leg and ate it. Coming into the presence of the Emperor, he placed the goose before him. On seeing it, Tamerlank said to himself, ‘The Cogia is making game of me,’ and was very angry, and demanded, ‘How happens it that this goose has but one foot?’ Said the Cogia, ‘In our country all the geese have only one foot. If you disbelieve me, look at the geese by the side of that fountain.’ Now at that time there was a flock of geese by the rim of the fountain, all of whom were standing on one leg. Timour instantly ordered that all the drummers should at once play up; the drummers began to strike with their sticks, and forthwith all the geese stood on both legs. On Timour saying, ‘Don’t you see that they have two legs?’ the Cogia replied, ‘If you keep up that drumming you yourself will presently have four.’
Cogia Efendi, now at rest with God, having been made Cadi, two individuals came before him, one of whom said, ‘This fellow nearly bit my ear off.’ The other said, ‘Not so: I did not bite it, but he bit his own ear.’ The Cogia said, ‘Come again in a little time and I will give you an answer.’ The men went away, and the Cogia, going into a private place, seized hold of his ear. ‘I can’t bite it,’ said he. Then trying to rise from the ground, on which he had seated himself, he fell back and broke a part of his head. Forthwith wrapping a piece of cloth round his head, he went back and sat in his place. The two men coming and asking for his decision, the Cogia said, ‘No man can bite his own ear; but, if he tries, may fall down and break his head.’
Once as the Cogia was lying in bed, at midnight a noise was heard in the street before the door. Said the Cogia to his wife, ‘Get up and light a candle, and I will go and see.’ ‘You had better stay within,’ said his wife. But the Cogia, without heeding his wife, put the counterpane on his shoulders and went out. A fellow perceiving him, instantly snatched the counterpane from off his shoulders and ran away. The Cogia, shivering with cold, went in again; and when his wife asked him the cause of the noise, he said, ‘It was on account of our counterpane: when they got that the noise ceased at once.’
One day the Cogia’s wife said to him, ‘Nurse this child for a little time, for I have a little business to see after.’ The Cogia, taking the child, sat with him upon his lap. Presently, however, the child p--- upon the Cogia; whereupon the Cogia, getting up, p--- over the child, from head to foot. His wife coming, said, ‘O Cogia, why have you acted in this manner?’ ‘I would have --- over him,’ said the Cogia, ‘if he had done so over me.’
One day the Cogia’s wife, having washed the Cogia’s kaftan, hung it upon a tree to dry; the Cogia going out saw, as he supposed, a man standing in the tree with his arms stretched out. Says the Cogia to his wife, ‘O wife, go and fetch me my bow and arrow.’ His wife fetched and brought them to him; the Cogia taking an arrow, shot it and pierced the kaftan and stretched it on the ground; then returning, he made fast his door and lay down to sleep. Going out in the morning he saw that what he had shot was his own kaftan; thereupon, sitting down, he cried aloud, ‘O God, be thanked; if I had been in it I should have certainly been killed.’
One day the Cogia, going to the College, mounted into the car, in the rear of the Moolahs. Said the Moolahs, ‘O Cogia, why did you mount backwards?’ ‘If I got in straightways,’ said the Cogia, ‘you would be at my back. If you went before me your backs would be in my face, therefore I mounted in this manner.’
One night as the Cogia was lying in his bed he perceived a thief moving upon the housetop. Now, the Cogia’s wife was lying at his side, and he said to her, ‘O wife, last night wishing to enter the house, I repeated this prayer and descended the chimney on the rays of the moon.’ The thief above heard these words of the Cogia, and after a little time, repeating the prayer which the Cogia had repeated, essayed to go down the chimney upon the rays of the moon, but tumbled down headlong. The Cogia, who was not yet sleep, rising in haste, seized the thief by the collar and cried out, ‘O wife, be quick and light a candle, for I have caught a thief!’ hereupon the thief exclaimed humorously, ‘O Cogia Efendi, don’t be in a hurry; the virtue in that prayer being in me was rather too much for me, and so I tumbled down here.’
Nasr Eddin Efendi had an old ox which had exceedingly great horns, and so far apart, that it was possible for a person to sit between them. Every time that the ox drew nigh the Cogia was in the habit of saying to himself, ‘How I should like to sit between his horns,’ and calculating as to the possibility of doing so. One day the ox came and laid himself down before the house. Cries the Cogia, ‘Now is my time!’ and mounting, he took his seat betwixt the ox’s two horns. Presently, however, the ox, rising upon his legs, flung the Cogia upon the ground, where he lay for some time quite senseless. His wife coming and seeing him lying motionless, began to lament. After some time, the Cogia, recovering a little, on seeing his wife weeping by his side, exclaimed, ‘O wife, do not weep, I have suffered a great deal, but I have had my desire.’
One day a thief got into the Cogia’s house. Cries his wife, ‘O Cogia, there is a thief in the house.’ ‘Don’t make any disturbance,’ says the Cogia. ‘I wish to God that he may find something, so that I may take it from him.’
One day the Cogia’s wife said to him, ‘Go and lie down yonder, a little way off.’ The Cogia, getting up, forthwith took his shoes in his hand, and walked during two days; at the end of which, meeting a man, he said, ‘Go and ask my wife whether I have gone far enough, or must go yet farther.’
One night as the Cogia was lying with his wife, he said, ‘O wife, if you love me, get up and light a candle, that I may write down a verse which has come into my head.’ His wife, getting up, lighted the candle, and brought him pen and inkstand. The Cogia wrote, and his wife said, ‘O Efendi of my soul, won’t you read to me what you have written?’ Whereupon the Cogia read, ‘Amongst the green leaves methinks I see a black hen go with a red bill.’
One day the Cogia being ill, a number of women came to inquire about his health. One of the women said, ‘God knows whether you will die; but if you do, what shall we say when we lament over you?’ ‘Say this,’ said the Cogia, ‘when you lament over me, “Notwithstanding all he did, he could never understand everything.”’
Cogia Efendi, every time he returned to his house, was in the habit of bringing a piece of liver, which his wife always gave to a common woman, placing before the Cogia leavened patties to eat when he came home in the evening. One day the Cogia said, ‘O wife, every day I bring home a liver: where do they all go to?’ ‘The cat runs away with all of them,’ replied the wife. Thereupon the Cogia getting up, put his hatchet in the trunk and locked it up. Says his wife to the Cogia, ‘For fear of whom do you lock up the hatchet?’ ‘For fear of the cat,’ replied the Cogia. ‘What should the cat do with the hatchet?’ said the wife. ‘Why,’ replied the Cogia, ‘as he takes a fancy to the liver, which costs two aspres, is it not likely that he will take a fancy to the hatchet, which costs four?’
One day the wife of the Cogia wanted to go to the bath. Now the Cogia had a little money which he kept in a corner hid from his wife. As she went out of the door she looked back. ‘Stay,’ said the Cogia, ‘I am just dead, and here’s a little money I have left behind me.’
One day the Cogia and his wife went to the side of a pool, in order to wash their linen. As they were making a beginning with their linen by beating it upon the plain and using soap to it, a raven coming seized the soap and flew away with it. ‘O Cogia,’ shrieked the wife, ‘the raven has taken away the soap.’ ‘Say nothing, wife,’ said the Cogia, ‘it was dirty enough after our using it; let him take it and wash it.’
One day the Cogia and his wife made an agreement to copulate every Friday night. The wife was perfectly satisfied with the arrangement; ‘But,’ said the Cogia, ‘let us agree upon a sign by which I may know that the time for doing my duty is come.’ The wife said, ‘When Friday night is come I will hang your turban above the alcove; you will know by that that it is Friday night.’ ‘Good, good!’ said the Cogia. One night, however, which was not Friday night, the Cogia’s wife being desirous for copulation, as soon as she arose to go to bed, placed the Cogia’s turban above the alcove. Said the Cogia, ‘O wife, this is not Friday night!’ ‘It is Friday night,’ said the wife. Whereupon the Cogia said, ‘O wife, in this house either let Friday night keep the reckoning, or let me.’
One day the Cogia’s wife went with the wife of a neighbour to wash at a pool. It happened that the Governor of the country, who was taking a walk, came up and looked at them. Said the wife of the Cogia, ‘Pray, man, what are you looking at?’ ‘Who is that woman?’ said the Governor to some one who was standing by. ‘She is the wife of Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi,’ replied the individual. On the following day the Governor, sending for the Cogia, said to him, ‘Is such and such a woman your wife?’ ‘Yes,’ said the Cogia, ‘she is my wife.’ Said the Governor, ‘Go and bring her to me.’ ‘What do you want with her?’ said the Cogia. ‘I have a question to ask her,’ said the Governor. ‘Do you only tell me the question,’ said the Cogia, ‘and I will go and put it to her.’
One day some people said to the Cogia’s son, ‘What is padligean?’ ‘It is a little deaf thing which walks without opening its eyes,’ said the child. ‘It did not know that of itself: I taught it,’ said the Cogia.
One day a chariot departed for the Castle of Siouri. The Cogia also set off for that place, running quite naked. The drivers, on arriving at the town, having given information of the Cogia’s coming, all the people came out to meet him, who, on seeing him quite naked, said, ‘O Cogia Efendi, why do you come in this manner?’ ‘From the love I bore you,’ said the Cogia. ‘I was in such a hurry in dressing, that I forgot my clothes.’
The Cogia had a scalt head. Once he went to the barber, had his head shaved, paid an aspre, and went away. The following week he went again, was shaved, and had a looking-glass placed before him. ‘As the half of my head is scalt,’ said the Cogia, ‘is not an aspre for shaving it too much by half?’
One day the Cogia went with some men a-fishing. They cast the net into the sea, and the Cogia cast himself into the net. ‘O Cogia,’ said they, ‘what are you about?’ ‘I imagined myself a fish,’ said the Cogia.
One day the boys of the town said to one another, ‘Come, let us get the Cogia to climb a tree, and we will steal away his sandals.’ The boys coming to the foot of a tree stopped, and said, ‘No one can climb this tree.’ The Cogia coming up, said, ‘I can climb it.’ ‘No, you can’t,’ said they. Forthwith the Cogia tied the skirts of his robe about his loins and put his sandals in his bosom. ‘O Cogia Efendi,’ said the boys, ‘what will you do with your slippers in the tree?’ Said the Cogia, ‘If I find a road when I am above there, I shall have my slippers ready to put on.’
One day a man coming from the country brought the Cogia a hare. The Cogia, with much politeness and civility, gave him some broth to eat. At the end of a week he came again; but the Cogia appearing to have forgot him, said, ‘Who may you be?’ ‘I am the person who brought the hare,’ said the man; whereupon the Cogia again entertained him. After some days a number of men made their appearance and wanted to be entertained. ‘Who may you be?’ said the Cogia. ‘We are the neighbours of the man who brought you the hare,’ said they. A few days after a whole troop of men arriving, the Cogia asked them who they were? ‘We are the neighbours of the neighbours of the man who brought the hare,’ said they. ‘You are quite welcome,’ said the Cogia, and placed before them a large jar of pure water; on seeing which they said, ‘What is this?’ ‘The water of the water of the hare is what it is,’ said the Cogia.
One day the Cogia, whilst labouring in the field, found a tortoise, and, seizing hold of it, tied a string round its neck and hung it to his spade. The tortoise beginning to cry and squeal, ‘It is of no use crying,’ said the Cogia, ‘you must now learn to work.’
One day the Cogia, being on the point of death, called his neighbours about him. The neighbours coming, began to eat and make merry, without saying to the Cogia, ‘Come and partake.’ The Cogia incensed, got up and went out. After a little time they sought for the Cogia, and could not find him; so dispersing themselves about, they went after him, and at last found him. ‘Ho, Cogia,’ said they, ‘come, where have you got to?’ Said the Cogia, ‘He who this day supplies the bridal meats has, surely, a right to go into the bridal chamber.’
One day the Cogia, being out on a journey, encamped along with a caravan, and tied up his horse along with the others. When it was morning the Cogia could not find his horse amongst the rest, not knowing how to distinguish it; forthwith taking a bow and arrow in his hand, he said, ‘Men, men, I have lost my horse.’ Every one laughing, took his own horse; and the Cogia looking, saw a horse which he instantly knew to be his own. Forthwith placing his right foot in the stirrup, he mounted the horse, so that his face looked to the horse’s tail. ‘O Cogia,’ said they, ‘why do you mount the horse the wrong way?’ ‘It is not my fault,’ said he, ‘but the horse’s, for the horse is left-handed.’
The Cogia had a disciple, who was an Abyssinian, black, of the name of Hamet. One day Hamet having inadvertently broken a bottle of ink over the Cogia, ‘What is this, Cogia?’ said the others. ‘Don’t you think a few good kicks would be a useful lesson to our Hamet?’ ‘Let him be. He got into a sweat by running,’ said the Cogia, ‘and melted over me.’
One day the Cogia having mounted up into the pulpit, said, ‘O Mussulmen, I have a piece of advice to give you. If you have sons, take care that you do not give them the name of Eiïoub (Job).’ ‘Why, O Cogia?’ cried the people. ‘Lest the quality should accompany the name,’ he replied, ‘and they should all become ips (ropes).’
One day as the Cogia was performing ablution, he found he had not sufficient water. When the hour of prayer came on, he stood like a goose on one foot. ‘O Cogia Efendi,’ said the people, ‘why do you do so?’ ‘Because,’ said the Cogia, ‘this foot has not performed ablution.’
One day a man arriving, became the guest of the Cogia. It happened at night, some time after they had lain down, that the light went out. ‘O Cogia Efendi,’ said the guest, ‘the taper is gone out. But there is a taper on your right side; pray bring it, and let us light it.’ ‘Surely you must be a fool,’ said the Cogia. ‘How should I know my right side in the dark?’
One day they said to the Cogia, ‘Pray what may be your horoscope?’ Said the Cogia, ‘I was born under the sign of the He-goat.’ ‘O Cogia,’ said they, ‘there is no such sign as the He-goat.’ Said the Cogia, ‘When I was a child my mother had my horoscope taken, and at that time the Kid was in the ascension.’ ‘O Cogia,’ said they, ‘that’s all right; but a kid is one thing and a he-goat is another.’ Said the Cogia, ‘O you simpletons! Forty or fifty years have passed since then. Must not the kid have become an old goat?’
One day whilst the Cogia was holding an oration at the Castle of Siouri, he was contradicted by the Soubashi or Superintendent. Shortly after, it happened that the Soubashi died and was buried; whereupon they said, ‘Come, Efendi, preach a sermon over him.’ ‘You must find some one else,’ said the Cogia. ‘He won’t mind my words, for he always contradicts me.’
One day two men were sitting together in a shop before their houses, engaged in discourse. Their houses abutted upon each other, and it so happened that a dog came and deposited his dirt on the ground in the middle of the street before their houses. Said one, ‘It is nigh your house.’ ‘Nay, my good friend,’ said the other, ‘it is nearest to your house, so you must go and take it up.’ So they got into a dispute; and not being able to settle it, they went before the Tribunal. Now it happened that the Cogia had come that day to pay a visit to the Cadi, and sat beside him. Said the Cadi to the Cogia, ‘Do you decide upon their dispute.’ Thereupon the Cogia said to them, ‘Is not that street a public way?’ ‘It is,’ said they. ‘Then,’ said he, ‘one half of the perfumery belongs to you two and the other half to the Cadi.’
One day the Cogia put a yoke upon a calf which he had; the calf ran here and there. Forthwith the Cogia, seizing a stick, fell to banging his ox. ‘O Cogia,’ said the people, ‘why do you beat the ox; how can he be in fault?’ ‘All the fault is his,’ said the Cogia, ‘if he had taught him the calf would have known how to turn.’
One day as the Cogia was travelling in the Derbend he met a shepherd. Said the shepherd to the Cogia, ‘Art thou a faquir?’ ‘Yes,’ said the Cogia. Said the shepherd, ‘See these seven men who are lying here, they were men like you whom I killed because they could not answer questions which I asked. Now, in the first place let us come to an understanding; if you can answer my questions let us hold discourse, if not, let us say nothing.’ Says the Cogia, ‘What may your questions be?’ Said the shepherd, ‘The moon, when it is new, is small, afterwards it increases, until it looks like a wheel; after the fifteenth, it diminishes, and does not remain; then again, there is a little one, of the size of Hilal, which does remain. Now what becomes of the old moons?’ Says the Cogia, ‘How is it that you don’t know a thing like that? They take those old moons and make lightning of them; have you not seen them when the heaven thunders, glittering like so many swords?’ ‘Bravo, Faquir,’ said the shepherd. ‘Well art thou acquainted with the matter, I had come to the same conclusion myself.’
Nasr Eddin Efendi, now with God, had a sum of money. One day, when all was quiet in the house, he dug in the earth and buried it; then going to the door he looked out and said, ‘I’ll suppose myself a thief, and that I find this, and forthwith take it away and bury it in another place, and my heart is no more troubled about it.’ Thus saying, he came and took up his treasure. Now before the house there was a height, and the Cogia going to the garden of the house, cut a pole, and putting the money in a sack, tied the sack to the top of the pole, and bringing the pole, stuck it up on the top of the height; then going down he looked upwards and said, ‘Unless a man is a bird he cannot fly up to that, I have surely chosen a good place,’ and having said this, he went away. Now it happened that a thief saw all that Cogia did, and no sooner was the Cogia gone, than he climbed up the height and took down the money, and putting upon the top of the pole a quantity of bullock’s dung, he stuck up the pole again and went his way. Some time afterwards the Cogia being in need of money, came to the foot of the pole and saw that all the money was gone, and that a quantity of bullock’s dung was on the pole. Said he, ‘I said that no man could mount this pole and take away the money, but how bullock’s dung should get to the top of the pole is a very strange matter indeed. So,’ said the Cogia, ‘may the Lord have mercy upon him.’
One day as the Cogia was going to his house, he met a number of students, and said to them, ‘Gentlemen, pray this night come to our house and taste a sup of the old father’s broth.’ ‘Very good,’ said the students, and following the Cogia, came to the house. ‘Pray enter,’ said he, and brought them into the house; then going up to where his wife was, ‘O wife,’ said he, ‘I have brought some travellers that we may give them a cup of broth.’ ‘O master,’ said his wife, ‘is there oil in the house or rice, or have you brought any that you wish to have broth?’ ‘Bless me,’ said the Cogia, ‘give me the broth pan,’ and snatching it up, he forthwith ran to where the students were, and exclaimed, ‘Pray, pardon me, gentlemen, but had there been oil or rice in our house, this is the pan in which I would have served the broth up to you.’
One day the Cogia going into the kitchen of his house, laid himself down; presently the Cogia’s daughter entering into the kitchen to fetch something, saw her father lying hidden behind a cask. ‘O my lord and father, what do you do here?’ said she. ‘What could I better do to get out of your mother’s way than come into this foreign country,’ said the Cogia.
One day when the Cogia was in his chamber, a man knocked at the door of the house. ‘What do you want?’ said the Cogia from above. ‘Come down,’ said the man, who was a beggar. The Cogia forthwith came down and said, ‘What do you want?’ ‘I want your charity,’ said the man. ‘Come upstairs,’ said the Cogia. When the beggar had come up, the Cogia said, ‘God help you.’ ‘O master,’ said the other, ‘why did you not say so below?’ Said the Cogia, ‘When I was above stairs, why did you bring me down.’
Once upon a time the wife of the Cogia was in labour; one day, two days, she sat upon the chair but could not bring forth; the women who attended her cried from the interior apartment to the Cogia: ‘O master, do you know no prayer by means of which the child may be brought into the world?’ ‘I know a specific,’ said the Cogia, and forthwith running to a grocer’s shop he procured some walnuts, and bringing them he said, ‘Make way,’ and going into the room he spread the walnuts under the chair, and said: ‘Now that the child sees the walnuts he will come out to play with them.’
One day the Cogia’s wife, in order to plague the Cogia, boiled some broth exceedingly hot, brought it into the room and placed it on the table. The wife then, forgetting that it was hot, took a spoon and put some into her mouth, and, scalding herself, began to shed tears. ‘O wife,’ said the Cogia, ‘what is the matter with you; is the broth hot?’ ‘Dear Efendi,’ said the wife, ‘my mother, who is now dead, loved broth very much; I thought of that, and wept on her account.’ The Cogia thinking that what she said was truth, took a spoonful of the broth, and burning his mouth began to cry and bellow. ‘What is the matter with you?’ said his wife; ‘why do you cry?’ Said the Cogia, ‘You cry because your mother is gone, but I cry because her daughter is here.’
One day the Cogia’s wife went to the hall of preaching; and, after listening to the sermon, came home. Said the Cogia, ‘O wife, what did the preacher say?’ ‘He said,’ replied the wife, ‘that if any one has a night’s copulation with his lawful wife the Almighty God will build for him a mansion in paradise.’ After they had gone to bed the Cogia said, ‘Come, let us build a house in paradise.’ Thereupon they copulated. Shortly afterwards the wife said, ‘O Cogia, you have built a house for yourself, pray now build a house for me!’ Said the Cogia, ‘I could easily build a house for you, but I fear that I should have to build houses for your father and mother, and not only for them, but for all your family and relations, so that the Master Builder above would become angry. Come, one house must suffice for us two.’
One day the Cogia met a company of young students and said unto them, ‘Pray come along with me to our house.’ So he led them to the door of the house and then said, ‘Pray stay here a little, whilst I go in.’ Then going in he said, ‘O wife, pray go and send those people away.’ Whereupon the wife went and said, ‘The Cogia is not come home.’ Said the students, ‘What do you mean by talking so? The Cogia came hither in our company.’ ‘He did not come,’ said the wife. ‘But he did,’ said the students, and made a great outcry. The Cogia hearing a noise from above, thrust his head out of the window, exclaiming, ‘Holloa, my men: what is all this dispute for? You must know that this house has two doors. No sooner did I come in by one than I left the house by the other.’
One day the son of the Cogia said, ‘O Father, I know that I was begotten by you.’ His mother becoming very angry, said, ‘What nonsense is the brat talking that he calls himself the son of a whore?’ Said the Cogia, ‘O wife, don’t be angry, he is a wise son if he knows what he says he does.’
Once on a time there was a drunken Governor of Siouri Castle. It happened one day that he lay in a state of drunkenness in the garden; and the Cogia taking a walk in the garden with Amad, came up and found him lying drunk and insensible. The Cogia instantly stripped him of his feradje or upper coat, and putting it on his own back, walked away. On the other hand, the Governor, on getting up, saw that he had lost his feradje, and going to his officers gave them the following command, ‘Whomsoever you find with my feradje upon him, lay hold on and bring him before me.’ The officials seeing the feradje on the back of the Cogia, made him their prisoner, and brought him before the Governor, who said to him, ‘Ho, Cogia, where did you find that feradje?’ ‘As I was taking a walk with Amad,’ said the Cogia, ‘we saw a fellow lying drunk; whereupon Amad twice uncovered his breech, and I, taking off his feradje, went away with it. If it is yours, pray take it.’ ‘Oh no, it does not belong to me,’ said the Governor.
One day the Cogia having lain down to sleep on the bank of a river imagined himself dead. An individual coming up said, ‘I wonder where one could cross this water.’ Said the Cogia, ‘When I was alive I crossed over here, but now I can’t tell you where you should cross.’
One day a Persian barber was shaving the Cogia’s head. At every stroke of his razor he cut his head, and to every place which he cut he applied a piece of cotton. Said the Cogia to the barber, ‘My good fellow, you had better sow half of my head with cotton and let me sow the other half with flax.’
One time the Cogia went to the well to draw water, but seeing the face of the moon reflected in the well, he exclaimed, ‘The moon has fallen into the well, I must pull it out.’ Then going home, he took a rope and hook, and returning, cast it into the well, where the hook became fastened against a stone. The Cogia, exerting all his might, pulled at the rope, once, twice, but at the second pulling the rope snapped, and he fell upon his back, and looking up into the heaven, saw the moon, whereupon he exclaimed, ‘O praise and glory, I have suffered much pain, but the moon has got to its place again.’
One day the Cogia going into a person’s garden climbed up into an apricot-tree and began to eat the apricots. The master coming said, ‘Cogia, what are you doing here?’ ‘Dear me,’ said the Cogia, ‘don’t you see that I am a nightingale sitting in the apricot-tree?’ Said the gardener, ‘Let me hear you sing.’ The Cogia began to warble. Whereupon the other fell to laughing, and said, ‘Do you call that singing?’ ‘I am a Persian nightingale,’ said the Cogia, ‘and Persian nightingales sing in this manner.’
The Cogia, now with God, was master of all learning, and perfect in every art. If some people should now say, ‘We were in hope of receiving instruction from his sayings, but have read nothing but the ravings of madness’; and if they should require some other book of his utterances, we must tell them that he uttered nothing beyond what is noted here. Some people say that, whilst uttering what seemed madness, he was, in reality, divinely inspired, and that it was not madness but wisdom that he uttered. The mercy of God be upon him, mercy without bounds.
Translated by GEORGE BORROW,1884
Nasreddin Hoca (1208-1284) Akşehir/Türkiye
1996-1997 was the year of Nasreddin Hoca /UNESCO