Parable: For Hodja, Pretending to be Foolish has its Rewards…

Hodja: A Fool or Intelligent?

The Hodja  had already become a sort of attraction at the main market in the town.

Whenever he went there to beg, people would show him a large coin and a small one: Hodja always chose the small one.

A generous man who was tired of seeing everyone laugh at the Mulla, explained to him:

“When people offer you two coins, choose the larger one. Then you will have more money, and people will not think you a fool.”

“You are surely right”, replied Hodja. “But if I always chose the larger coin, people would stop offering me money, in order to prove that I am a greater fool than they are. And then I would no longer receive enough for my food. There is nothing wrong with appearing to be a fool, if what you are doing is in fact intelligent.”


We are all responsible

A group of men came along the street; heavily armed soldiers leading a condemned man to the gallows.

“That man is no good”, said a disciple to Hodja. “I once gave him a silver coin in order to help him start his life afresh, and he did nothing important.”

“He may be no good, but perhaps he is now on his way to the gallows because of you,” argued the master. “Perhaps he used the alms in order to buy a dagger, which he then used in committing his crime – because instead of helping him with love and care, you chose to give him alms in order to release yourself from your obligation.”


Each thing in its own place

All Mulla Nasrudin’s disciples were gathered at a feast.

They ate and drank for several hours, and talked about the origins of the stars. The night drew on and everyone made ready to go home.

A fine plate of sweets was left on the table: The Hodja made all his disciples eat it.

One, however, refused.

“The master is testing us,” he said. “He wants to see whether we can control our desires.”

“You are mistaken,” replied Nasrudin. “The best way of dominating a desire, is to satisfy it. I would rather you had the sweets in your bellies – their rightful place – than in your minds, which should be filled with nobler things.”


References: Stories adapted from Paulo Coelho’s blog,

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