Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nasreddin Hoca and the Elephant

If you live in Turkey for very long, you will eventually hear of a Turkish character of folklore ad_named Nasreddin Hoca (Nahs-RED-din Ho-jah).  Loosely based on an historical figure,   Nasreddin  probably  lived in the 13th century. He was presumably born in Sivrihisar near Eskisehir, and  acquired his education either in Konya or Aksehir where he spent many years serving as a religious instructor, imam, or  preacher, and judge. He died and was buried in Aksehir.

The cultural figure that Nasreddin eventually became is unique combination of wit and philosophy , add a dash of self-deprecating humor and irony. HIs tales are usually quite short and uncomplicated but sometimes the underlying point may take a moment to sink in.  With that said, in this and coming posts, I would like to share some of my favorite Nasreddin Hoca stories.

Nasreddin Hoca and the Elephant

After a pillaging a path through Middle Asia, the brutal conqueror, Tamerlane arrived in Aksehir and settled in to decide his next step. The townspeople were all terrorized by the man and his army. Tamerlane ordered the people to feed and care for one of his many war elephants. Because of the elephant's appetite, the poor people suffered and finally decided to send a committee to plead their case beyond Tamerlane himself. To head this group, the people nominated Nasereddin Hoca. "I will speak to Tamerlane, if all of you will come with me,"he told the crowd.

As he marched along to tyrant's palace, one by one the people turned away and fled back to their homes. By the time, Hoca arrived he stood alone before the brutal conqueror. "It's about your elephant,"Nasreddin said, meekly. "The townspeople are so happy with your elephant that they wished to ask if you have another one to care for."


  1. I love Nasreddin Hoca stories and I have to admit it took me a while to "get" them, until I realised that I was looking for a more complicated meaning instead of just accepting them for their simplicity.

    I look forward to more.

  2. Interesting story! I really enjoy reading your blog-

    I am considering becoming an English teacher at Yasar University. I was wondering- have you heard anything about working there? Also, is it difficult/expensive to find furnished apartments for rent?

    Any advice you can provide that might help inform my decision would be wonderful! Thanks!

  3. You can find a link to my email here on the blog on the right column. Go ahead and send me a note and I can give you advice (FREE!)


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