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The many spelling variations for Nasreddin include: Nasreddin, Nasr-ud-Din, Nasr-id-deen, Nasr-eddin, Nasirud-din,Nasrettin, Nasrudin,  Nasr-Eddin, and Nasr-Ed-Dine.

The many spelling variations for Hodja include: Hodja, Hodscha, Hoca, Chotza, Khodja, Hoxha and Khoja.

Nasreddin Hodja is truly a household name in Turkey. A ubiquitous cultural figure whose anecdotes are invoked with remarkable occurrence by authors, speakers, and ordinary people equally. Most of his gags and punchlines are used like proverbs. These proverbs reflect Turkish conversations which are often interlarded with suggestions to the infinite tales of the Hoca. Along with Aesop, who was born in a place near Ankara, and is the most tough folk philosopher and humorist to become known in Anatolia.

Few precious things are known about Nasreddin Hodja's life. According to some account, He lived probably in the 13th century and some authorities place him in the 14th or even the 15th century. He was most likely born in Sivrihisar near Eskisehir, and had his schooling either in Konya or Aksehir where he spent many years serving as a preacher, religious teacher, and judge. He died and was buried in Aksehir where his "catacomb" becomes a suitable view of silence. As you look at his mausoleum, all its walls are missing and only the Iron Gate remains whole with a huge padlock hanging on it. At this site, Nasrettin Hoca's devotees perform their humorous memorial ceremony each year.



Being a judge for several years made Nasreddin Hodja known to be Nasuriddin Hoca, which then becomes Nasreddin Hoca and gives familiarity to his noble name. The name Nasreddin also defines to be Helper of the Faith” which really descries the man's personality and humor. He was a positive person who sustained faith in life and in human beings. In addition to his positive traits, Nasreddin Hodja lived to help others to do wondrous things in life. No wonder the common people of Anatolia have always remembered him as a fat husky, sociable man - like Falstaff or Bottom. He is said to have lived at a time of war and instability, but he accepted life stoically, that turns suffering into humor and tears into smiles. He refused to accept the miserable litanies of the poets among his generation, but he have preference to states gentle words and offer his waywardness and fanciful railleries to give relief to the suffering people of his day that will last until the next generations. Nasireddin Hock’s importance as the humorist has been long-lasting. In fact, his "lore of laughter" has grown with the centuries - even in our time. Many of his authenticated stories have been - and are being - ascribed to him, in respect of his status as the creator, and the incarnation of Turkish folk humor.

Nasreddin Hoca’s significance gone beyond not in the incidents narrated themselves, but in the meaning behind his witty words, and their ironic or amusing elements. Some studies about his words show an expression of the lifestyle, sense of humor and slightly satirical manner of the people of Anatolia, and that his words are not to be seen as limited to one particular period or time alone. The anecdotes about him give emphasis on love, satire, praise and gentle mockery.



His sense of humor and self-mockery shows his resistance to the stricter elements of Islamic law. He use words of contradictory combined with wise, ignorant, pleasant, cunning, reserved, astonished, tactless, apprehensive and striking words to express his unfavorable conviction to Islamic law.
One particular feature of anecdotes that give impact to his personality is his delight that puzzled others. These reflect the attitude of the people of Anatolia to particular situations, and are actually the crop of their thoughts. Nasreddin Hoca therefore becomes known as to be the reflection of humorous stories and feelings of the people. Nasreddin Hoca existence is full of wisdom and intelligence that offers loud voices which speaks about fair and just society.

Another important element in Nasreddin Hodja teaching stories is the donkey that gives a manifestation of the people’s feelings, and also gives a picture of his vehicle of satire itself. The horse has no place in those humorous tales created by the imaginary thoughts of Anatolia. The donkey, with its suffering and pain, the blows that are inflicted on it, is the most extensive representation of human lives in those days. No donkeys are to be found in humorous tales from the palaces. Such people ride on horses. Another contradiction is to be seen in this context, is the humorous and the more mocking element of such tales.

Nasreddin Hoca is a folk philosopher with excellence. Many of his stories, as lessons in moral conduct and as witty practical jokes, give critical annotations on stereo typed social thought and behavior with points of view about imaginative alternatives. His wisdom influences all sections of society. And he also led to the birth of other humorous tales that reflects the mindsets of very different areas. For an example, Bektashi, that reflects the popular version for strict Shariah Law.

Every year, between July 5-10, International Nasreddin Hodja Festival is organized in Aksehir where his tomb is. To keep Hodja character alive, Turkish writers and artists have used it in drama, in music, in movies (especially cartoons), in comic strips, in paintings.

After reading the stories in this book, we think that you, too, will believe that Hodja will be living for generations to come. Just as Hodja did, may be you, too, will answer when asked "What do they do with the old full moons?", "They cut them up into small pieces and make stars!.."


Allah's House
A beggar knocked on the Hodja's door and said, "Allah has directed me to this house for a good meal."

"I am sorry, but you have the wrong house," replied the Hodja Effendi. Then pointing to a nearby mosque, he continued, "Allah lives over there."

Hodja and The God.
The Hodja was travelling from a long way away, he got tired and decided take a rest under a tree. Then he prayed:
My God, he said. Send me a donkey please !
A few minutes later, he saw a man riding on a horse and leading a young donkey.
The man came nearer, stopped beside him and shouted:
You, leprous man! Instead of starving there, come on carry the donkey, it is tired.
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. Every time 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 Nasreddin 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 understand?

Pumpkin and Walnut Tree
One hot day, Nasruddin was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eying speculatively, the huge pumpkins growing on vines and the small walnuts growing on a majestic tree.
- Sometimes I just can't understand the ways of God! he mused. Just fancy letting tinny walnuts grow on so majestic a tree and huge pumpkins on the delicate vines!

Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on Mullah Nasruddin's bald head. He got up at once and lifting up his hands and face to heavens in supplication, said:
- Oh, my God! Forgive my questioning your ways! You are all-wise. Where would I have been now, if pumpkins grew on trees!

Cleverest man in the world.
At the time of the Nasreddin Hodja, some clever and educated men were searching for an intelligent man, who could answer their three questions. They traveled through the whole world and then came to Aksehir Turkiye.

They asked:
Who is most intelligent man in this town?
Of course the people of the town brought the Hodja to the three men and they began to ask.
First question: Where is the central point of the world?
The Hodja's donkey was with him. So he pointed to his donkey. Where the front legs of my donkey are, there is the middle point of the world. How can you prove that? asked one of the men.
If you don't believe, you can measure it, the Hodja said. Measuring did not seem a good idea to them, so they went on to the next question.

How many stars are on the sky?
The Hodja replied without hesitation:
As many as the hairs on my donkey's mane.
The three men laughed. If you don't believe it, said the Hodja, you can count them.

The foreigners understood that they couldn't get a correct reply and one of them asked:
Can you say how many hairs are in your donkey's mane?
Oh, yes, said the Hodja. There are exactly the same number of hairs as you have in your beard. Now don't tell me, that you don't believe that because I can prove it by pulling one hair from your beard and one from the donkey's mane. When we pull each hair out one after the other, you can see at the end that there are the same number of hairs.

The three men went back to their country and told everyone that the cleverest man in the world lived in Akshehir.

A forty year old vinegar
One day, a neighbor said to the Hodja:
Have you a vinegar that is forty years old?
Yes I have, replied the Hodja.
Can you give me a little, asked the neighbor.
If I gave a little to everybody asking for it, said the Hodja, It would not be forty years old!

Bread and Yoghurt
One day the Hodja had 10 para(money) to buy himself lunch with. He first went into the bakery, handed 5 para over to the baker and asked for a bread. As the baker gave Hodja the bread he asked for his money.
"I just paid you" Hodja said.
"No, you didn't pay me." the baker insisted, "I didn't see any money." After a few minutes of debate, not being able to convince the bully baker, Hodja had to give in. He took out his other 5 para and gave it to him.
Left with no money at all, Hodja next entered the grocery store. He asked for a jar of yogurt. When the grocer asked for his money, Hodja claimed that he had just given him a 5 para. The good natured grocer had been a little preoccupied all morning, so he easily believed that he must have indeed taken the money and forgotten it.
Hodja took his provisions and sat under a tree. Before starting to eat his lunch, he raised his head towards the sky and said "Sublime Allah, You know what really happened, You take the 5 para from one and give it to the other."

We are even
One day, Hodja went to Turkish bath but nobody paid him much attention. They gave him an old bath robe and a towel. Hodja said nothing and on his way out he left a big tip. A week later, when he went back to the same bath, he was very well received. Everybody tried to help him and offered him extra services. On his way out, he left a very small tip.
"But, Hodja," they said,
"Is it fair to leave such a small tip for all the attention and extra services you received?"
Mullah Nasreddin answered,
"Today's tip is for last week's services and last week's tip was for today's services. Now we are even."




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