One day, while the Hodja was walking in a cemetery, he suddenly fell into a newly dug grave. While he was cleaning the dirt from his clothes he wondered whether the angels would come or not, so he lay back in the grave. He closed his eyes and started to dream.
He dreamt that he heard the sound of donkeys,
bells and human beings coming nearer and nearer. He awoke wondering what on earth
was happening and jumped out of the grave.
The owners of the donkeys were very angry, caught hold of the Hodja and asked:
“Who are you?”
The Hodja answered:
“I was in the next world and am returning to see this one.”
“Come on friends, we'll show him what this world is like”, said one of them and they proceeded to beat the Hodja. Then they collected their belongings and went away.
Hodja returned to his house at midnight. His wife asked him:
“Where are you coming from?”
“From the next world”, he replied
“What is there”, she asked.
“Nothing dear, nothing if you don't disturb the donkeys.”
One day two men came to the head judge and one of them said of the other:
“This man had wood on his shoulders and it fell on the ground. He wanted me to help him and I asked him what he would give me if I did. He said “nothing”, so I helped him. When I finished the job, I wanted my “nothing” but he wouldn't give it to me. Now I want my nothing.”
The judge thought and then decided to send them to the shadow judge, meaning the Hodja. So they came to the Hodja and told him the same story.
“Yes, you are right. He must give you your “nothing”.
But I think he perhaps had it not already in his hand. Now would you please hold
The man held it.
“What is there?” asked the Hodja.
“Nothing”, the man replied.
“Now take your “nothing” and go away”, he
One day, the Hodja said to his friends: “If I die, bury me in an old grave.” “Why”, asked his friends. “Because”, he explained, “if the angels come, I'II tell them that I died years before and have already been questioned and then they will return the way they came.”
OPPOSITE OF SOMETHING
One day, people asked the Hodja;
“Where is your nose?” and he showed them the back of his neck.
They said that he was showing the opposite.
The Hodja answered quickly:
“If you don't know the opposite of something you cannot know the thing itself.”
One day, when the Hodja was in a certain village, some people invited him to dinner. As you know, the Hodja never lets the opportunity of a free meal. So he accepted and went to the house carrying a bag which was made from thick tissue paper.
During the meal when the Hodja was eating with great appetite, he noticed that his bag has disappeared. He shouted:
“Who has stolen my bag? If he doesn't return it, I know what I'll do!”
The thief was afraid of the Hodja, so he gave the bag back. Then he asked:
“Hodja Effendi what would you have done, if I hadn't returned it to you?”
“Oh, nothing special”, said the Hodja. “I have a lot of tissue paper at home. I would just have made a new bag for myself.”
One day, the Hodja borrowed a pan from his neighbor. After he had finished using it, he took it back to the neighbor with a small pan tucked inside.
When the man saw it, he was most surprised.
“What is that?” he asked.
“Well, said the Hodja, when I borrowed your pan it was pregnant and it brought a child into the world.”
The man smiled and accepted them.
A few days later the Hodja borrowed the pan again but this
time he did not return it.
The man was rather cross. He went to the Hodja and asked “What about my pan?”
“I am very sorry”, said the Hodja, “but it died.”
“Don't make jokes with me”, replied the man, “How can a pan die?”
“If you believe that it brought a child into the world”, said the Hodja, “why can't you believe that it died?”
One day, the Hodja gave a load to a porter to carry but on the way he lost him. His search was unsuccessful so he went home.
By great coincidence
he saw the same porter after ten days still carrying his load, but this time the
The people asked him afterwards, “You already found the porter with your load? why didn't you want to catch him?”
“Let it be”, said the Hodja, “what would I do if he said he wanted money for carrying the load for ten days.”
OF A SULTAN
One day Sultan Temur asked the Hodja: “How much would I cost, if I were a slave?”
The Sultan, thinking that he had a beautiful body, expected a very high sum to be offered. But the Hodja's answer came without hesitation and it was most unsatisfactory. “Fifty pounds!”
“But my clothes alone cost that much”, said the Sultan.
The Hodja's answer came quickly and clearly. “I meant your clothes”, he said.
One day the Hodja claimed that the could do whatever he wanted. The people wanted him to show his ability. They told him to call the mountain.
“Mr. Mountain”, said the Hodja. “Would you come here for just a minute?”
Of course nothing happened to the mountain. He called again and again, then he began to walk.
“Hodja Effendi”, said one of the men.
“Where are you going?”
“I”, said the Hodja, “am not a vain person myself, If I call the mountain and it doesn't come to me, I go to it.”
One day, one of the neighbors came to the Hodja and cried: “Quick Hodja, come with me, my wife and my sister-in-law are quarrelling”
“What about”, asked the Hodja, “their ages?”, “No” the neighbor replied.
“Then don't worry”, said the Hodja, “go home in peace, I'm sure you will find that it is all over”.
A nice donkey was given Temur as a present. The people around him told how nice, how good, how beautiful the donkey was. Suddenly the Hodja, who had enough from all this stuff said:
“Sultan, this donkey is very clever. It can even learn reading.”
“Hodja, how can a donkey read?”
“Give me the donkey for a month, I'll prove
Temur gave it to him and Hodja went home.
One month later Hodja came back to the palace. In
the middle of the courtyard, there was a table with a thick book on it. The donkey
began to turn the pages with his tongue. After having finished the book, it began
“You have seen that the donkey has turned the pages of the book and he read it.”
One of the people said:
“But Hodja, we couldn't understand anything.”
“Of course you couldn't understand, it was donkey language. In order to understand it, you have to be a donkey.”
time Temur asked, how Hodja could teach the donkey reading.
“As soon as we were at home, I put the donkey in to the stable. I gave him no food for some days. Then I found a thick book and put some hay between the pages. At the beginning I turned the pages and gave him the hay between the pages. After a while the donkey began to turn the pages and eat the hay by itself. Each time when he had finished the book, he began to bray.”
One day the Hodja thought he would like to eat liver. So he went and bought some from the butcher. When he was happily returning home, he met a friend of his and told him what he had bought.
“Do you know, how to prepare this liver?” asked his friend, and the Hodja suddenly remembered that he didn't. Because he was poor, he couldn't eat it very often. “No” he said.
His friend told him how to prepare it, but the Hodja asked him to write it down. This he did, and the Hodja took the recipe, put it in his pocket and went on his way.
As he neared his home a peregrine falcon swooped down, took the liver, and
The Hodja called after it helplessly:
“You have got the liver, but you will not enjoy it because I have still the recipe!”