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Nasreddin and the Mountain

Nasreddin Hodja was out walking when he noticed that it was time to pray. As he was doing so, a stranger passed by and made a comment. The Hodja defended the strength of his faith.

“Well then,” said the stranger. “If your faith is so strong, then, pray to that mountain until it COMES to you.”

The Hodja prayed and prayed, but the mountain remained stubborn. It did not budge.

The Hodja gave up and walked away in the direction of the mountain.

“Hah! So you concede defeat!” jeered the stranger.

The Hodja smiled. “I’m only a humble servant of Allah. If the mountain does not come to me, then…”


Nasreddin Hodja is a stock figure in Ottoman folklore. A wise man, a trickster, and the bumbling hero all at once, the greatest talent of the Hodja (“Teacher”) is subverting situations by doing/saying seemingly nonsensical things with an element of wisdom and truth. All the stories involving him are funny and short and great. This one about the mountain is one of my favourites, and taps into the main theme of The Carpet Merchant.

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