Nasrudin and no cream

Nasrudin was a waiter in a five star restaurant. He was told that he had to always make sure the rich customers would be kept satisfied.

One day the restaurant had ran out of cream when a customer asked for coffee without cream.

Nasrudin who wanted to keep the customer satisfied said, “We don’t have any cream today but we have plenty of milk. May I bring you coffee without Milk instead?”

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Nasrudin, Shakespeare, and Mamet

This afternoon I saw “American Buffalo” by David Mamet. So this reminds me of the following:

After some political upheavals in his native country Nasrudin emigrated to the USA and was now an American.

Upheavals were the events du jour for Nasrudins and he soon found himself in England hungry and without any money.

He found the castle of a rich Lord and knocked on the door.

A minute later a butler dressed in tails opened the door and superciliously said, “Yes?”

Nasrudin obsequiously asked, “Please sir, I’m out of luck. I used to be a gentleman. I am hungry. Can I borrow a meal from you?”

The butler replied, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be, William Shakespeare!” and slammed the door in poor Nasrudin’s face.

Nasrudin was really miffed at this. He walked around like a lost sheep without his shepherd. Then he remembered that he was now an American. So he went back and knocked the door again.

Once more the butler went through the same routine but this time when he said, “Neither a lender nor a borrower be, William Shakespeare!” before the butler could close the door, Nasrudin put his foot in the door and replied, “Fxxk you! David Mamet!” gave the bird, and returned home.

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Mullah Nasrudin and I agree

I was searching for this (one of the best known stories) to send to my sister and much to my surprise I had never written it. So here it is for you Sousan jan. Others can benefit too.

Mullah Nasrudin was a Ghazi (judge) and there was a major case before him.

First it was the turn of the plaintiff. He had the gift of the gab. He declared his case brilliantly. At the end he sat down and Mullah Nasrudin commented, “I agree, I agree!”

Now it was the turn of the defendant. He was so eloquent and point by point countered the plaintiff. He said it all and demonstrated how he was right. At last he sat down and Nasrudin exclaimed, “I agree, I agree!”

To this the clerk of the court added: but Mullah they can’t both be right.

The Mullah thought for a while and put his head in his hands and whispered, “I agree, I agree!”

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Parables as teaching stories

Jesus Christ taught in parables because we are story telling and hearing creatures. We love stories and learn much better from them than from cold facts. Advertisers know this and often use stories to sell their products.

Here is a teaching story from the Jewish tradition on parables:

Truth entered a village naked as the day he was born. The villagers had one look at the naked truth and were afraid of the stark harshness and drove him out in anger and malice.

Dejected, the Truth wondered in the desert. Without food and nourishment, he weakened and would have soon died of loneliness. One day he got to the home of the Parable.  She took him in, nursed him back to life. Soon the Truth was feeling well again. This time he returned to the same village clothed in a parable and was welcome and accepted with ease.

Short and sweet and coincidentally self-reflexive – refers back to itself – in this case it is truth clothed in a parable to teach you about teaching stories.

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Fried human brain

This story was told to me by my uncle Dr. Djalal Abdoh, who was the United Nations Governor of British Cameroons for two years and conducted a plebiscite to decide how they should join upon decolonization. It is a true story in as much as my uncle told me. I’m retelling the story as my uncle told it to me from the point of view of the Governor:

Six months after I was the Governor of British Cameroons the people trusted me enough to take me to a special restaurant. They blind folded me and took me out of town. We drove on a dirt road for hours, and eventually they removed my blind folds. We were in a village surrounded by a lush tropical forest.

They told me to be careful not to make anyone angry as this was the last village on earth where they still practiced cannibalism. Carefully we drove on and we got to a restaurant hidden in the bush.

We entered and inside it was a modern restaurant with neon lights and glitter. They explained that the restaurant specialized in fried human brain. The placed me at the place of honor in the top table and brought me a menu. It listed the foods served and the costs. There was only a choice of brains from different nationalities thus:

French brain $15
English brain $15
Iranian brain $15
German brain $20

The list was long and most meals cost less than $50. At the end of the menu was written:

American brain $1000

I was not going to eat human brain but I did get angry. Iranian brain was only fifteen dollars but American brain cost a full thousand (this was around 1958 when a thousand dollars was still a huge amount).

Angrily I asked, “How come American brains are so expensive?”

They replied, “Your honor, you should see how many we have to kill to get enough brains for a single meal!”

and it was not true as you saw. The above story is dedicated to the fifty eight percent of my fellow Americans who do not believe that President Obama was born in the USA.

Goebbles of the big lie (intellectual father of  Rupert Murdock) is alive and well. You repeat a lie over and over again and the stupid idiots believe. My apologies to all stupid idiots who are damn site more intelligent than those brainless animals who follow FOX news propaganda.

Joseph Goebbles:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Just change state with FOX news.

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Mullah Nasrudin and the misunderstanding

Mullah Nasrudin immigrated to the USA and became a university professor. One day he arrived at the weekly university talk open to all the public. Typically these talks were given by visiting professors and attended by the university staff and their spouses, as well as few students and general public.

As Nasrudin entered the huge lecture theater the university president took him to the side and said, “You are giving the talk.”

The Mullah replied, “I’m not ready for a lecture. What happened to the guy who was supposed to give the talk?”

The president informed him that the visiting professor had been delayed because of a snow storm and he had to give the talk.

Nasrudin asked, “Why me and what’s the topic?”

The President told him, “You talk on the subject of sex because you are the only one who’s spouse is not here,” and before he could complain he pulled Nasruding with him to the podium and they announced that professor Nasrudin was going to give a talk on sex and marital bliss.

So Nasrudin started to wing it and soon he was quite enjoying himself and got into a stride. Everyone really enjoyed the talk. Forty five minutes later he finished and received a standing ovation.

That evening when Nasrudin got home his wife asked how the day had gone? The Mullah said that he had given a talk.

“Really,” asked his wife, “What was the talk about?”

The Mullah did not wish to tell his wife that he had been talking about sex and marital bliss and perhaps reveled some information about their sex life and bedroom happening. So he replied, “I talked about sailing.”

His wife was incredulous. She said, “But you don’t know anything about sailing?”

“I know that, but they didn’t,” and that was the end of the conversation.

The next day Nasrudin’s wife bumped into a couple of ladies who had heard the talk. One of then told her, “I didn’t know your husband was such an expert in the subject.”Nasrudin’s wife said, “Oh, no he really isn’t such an expert. In fact he’s only done it twice, and the first time he lost his hat and the second time he fell over the side.


I heard the above teaching story in a seminar and changed it and put it in my own words as a Mullah Nasrudin story. As I have mentioned before when I find a teaching story with the right kind of absurdity that it could be a Nasrudin story I make it into one.

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The truth and the hundred monkey phenomenon

So the story goes:

In the nineteen sixties or seventies some Japanese behavioral biologists were conducting a research project on a group of monkeys which lived around the shores on a series of islands off Japan.

They fed the monkeys some kind of tuber roots (yams. sweet potatoes or something similar). The roots were not washed and covered by dirt from the ground. This made them less desirable to the monkeys.

However, soon some of the younger monkeys learned that they could drop the roots in the ocean water and the sand and grit would wash away and the food would be tastier. These adventurer younger monkeys taught the skill of washing the sand and grit off to the others in their tribes and even the elder monkeys learned the trick.

Slowly, the monkeys on the different islands learned to wash the tubers.

Until one day…

The original book wrote that “say” after ninety nine monkeys had learned the washing trick – the next day when the hundredth monkey had learned the trick the researchers had observed something totally unexpected and exiting. Even though some of the islands were hundreds of miles from the other, the next day every single monkey had learned the behavior. It was as though once a critical mass had learned the skill they all learned it through ESP or some other way.

The above story is the hundred monkey phenomenon.

The idea is that once enough people understand that peace, love, compassion and so on are the way, suddenly all will get the wonderful ideas.

Only one problem…

The story is not true. In fact when you examine the original paper, you notice that the elder monkeys typically learned the activity and then taught it to the younger ones in the tribe. There was no critical mass and suddenly the number of the animals which had learned the skill increasing.

I love the story if it was told as a metaphor, as a teaching story. In fact given modern media and Internet viral marketing and viral memes do take place. It is not through ESP or anything else but through technology and communication.

Moreover, we do affect the others near us. So if you go around smiling and being kind to others, they will smile more and tend to be kind.

My only complain is that many self improvement gurus retell this story even today (more than thirty years after the truth has been known by anyone who wishes to know) quote the story as scientific truth. But then there are human beings who believe every single word in a certain English translation of the bible is true…

As Einstein said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the the universe.”

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Mullah Nasrudin the priest and the minister

Mullah Nasrudin was walking in the countryside with a priest and a minister. It was a hot day and they were sweating  profusely. Nasrudin cried aloud, “Dear God, we are three of your hard working servants, please let us find solace from this heat.”

Just then they came to a large pond. Since there was no one around and they had no swimming custumes, they quickly disrobed and began cooling themselves as God had created them.

Unfortunately some mischievous children discovered their clerical robes and took them for fun and started screaming for the villagers to come and look.

The priest and the minister ran out of the pond covering their genitals. Nasrudin too ran out but he covered his face. The minister said, “Don’t you have any shame. Why do cover your face?”

Nasrudin replied, “That’s the part of my anatomy my congregation knows.”

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Mullah Nasrudin the Calvinist

Most of these Mullah Nasrudin stories I remember from my childhood. I heard them in Iran from oral traditions. I recreated them from my memory into English (not translation but recreation since I do not always remember the original Persian stories). Others I have got from a few Persian books I have gathered over the years (whenever my family visits Iran and asks me what they can bring me I ask for any Mullah Nasrudin books they can find) and also from the wonderful books of Idris Shah.

A few stories I have made up myself based on the fact that Nasrudin has the function of showing up human stupidity or paradoxes of language and the facts of human existence.

To understand this story you have to know that some religions believe in predestination. This is taken to its logical extreme (stupidity if I dare write) in Calvinism. The Calvinists believe that the “elect” have been predestined to receive grace and hence be saved and hte rest of us have been predestined to be damned to hell no matter what we do.

And now for:

Mullah Nasrudin the Calvinist

Mullah Nasrudin emigrated to the USA and much to his Chagrin he ended up living next door to an evangelical Christian. Nasrudin minded his own business and faced Mecca five times a day saying his prayers without trying to convert anyone. His neighbor however would visit him every single day telling him about the mercy and generosity of his God and how he should believe in Jesus as his personal savior, else he would spend eternity in hell.

Nasrudin each day would reply that he believed in the one God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad and he was satisfied that his good deeds would serve him well at end of times. The neighbor went on and on explaining that his deeds could never save him but would condemn him to firs and brimstone as only faith in Jesus as his personal savior could save him.

This went on for six months and then one day Nasrudin greeted his neighbor, “Good friend I have great news for you. I have become a Christian. I have accepted Jesus as my personal savior.”

The neighbor replied, “I’m so glad you have seen the light but what I don;t understand is why are you still turning to Mecca and praying in your infidel ways.”

Nasrudin replied, “You see, my friend, I have become a Calvinist and we believe that God predestines some to be saved and te rest to be damned. Alas I’m not one of the elect. I am predestined to go to hell. So I’m making sure that I do God’s will by praying in my heathen ways so I will go to hell.”

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Insincere story of sincere

I heard one of my heroes in the field of self-improvement tell this insincere story of sincere:

The etymology of sincere is that the word comes from the Latin sine cera (without wax). It derives from the fact the the Romans loved marble statues. These were very difficult to sculpt without breakage. So the typical sculptor would re-attach broken parts (limbs and so on) with wax (cera) and cover it up so the wax would not be seen.

However, the best stores would only sell the best statues, the ones which were whole and unbroken. They had a huge sign above the store saying: “Sine Cera,” without wax.

In the same way when you are sincere you have integrity and you are whole.


Beautiful teaching story. The only problem is that it is not true. In fact the person saying this story was not sincere at this time. Why do I say this because he was a best selling author and public speaker. He had the resources to check his story and discover that it was not true. Even in those pre-Internet days this self-improvement guru had the resources to send an assistant to the nearest dictionary and discover the true etymology of sincere.

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