The Pleasantries Of Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi

Author: Nasreddin Hoca

‘A breeze, which pleasant stories bears,
Relicks of long departed years.’

The story goes, one of the stories of a hundred, that Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi one day ascending into the pulpit to preach, said, ‘O believers, do ye not know what I am going to say to you?’ The congregation answered, ‘Dear Cogia Efendi, we do not know.’ Then said the Cogia, ‘What shall I say to you until you do know?’ One day the Cogia ascending again into the pulpit, said, ‘O Mussulmen, do ye not know what I am going to say to you?’ ‘We do know,’ they replied. Then said the Cogia, ‘Some of ye do know already, what should I have to say to you?’ Then descending from the chair he went out. The assembly separated quite astonished, and, when they were out, continued to say, ‘Which are those of us who know? Which are those who do not know?’ The Cogia one day again mounting the chair in the same manner, said, ‘O brothers, when I said to ye, “Do you know what I shall say?” there were some who said, “We know,” others said, “We do not.” It were now well that those among ye who knew what the Cogia said should teach those that did not.’

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi said, ‘O Mussulmen, give thanks to God Most High that He did not give the camel wings; for, had He given them, they would have perched upon your houses and chimneys, and have caused them to tumble upon your heads.’

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi having mounted the chair in a city, said, ‘O Mussulmen, the air above this city is just like the air above my city.’ The congregation said, ‘O Cogia Efendi, how do you know that?’ Said the Cogia, ‘Because I have seen as many stars above this city as I saw above Belgrade.’

One night the Cogia dreamt that he was given nine aspres, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘O now pray make them up ten’; afterwards he said, ‘Make them up eleven,’ and then presently, a dispute having arisen, he awoke and saw that in his hand he had nothing, thereupon closing his eyes anew and stretching out his hands, he said, ‘Well, well, I shall be content with nine aspres.’

One day the Cogia went out into the plain, and as he was going along he suddenly saw some men on horseback coming towards him. Cogia Efendi, in a great hurry, set off towards a cemetery, and having reached it took off his clothes, and entering into a tomb lay down. The horsemen, on seeing the Cogia run away, followed him to the place where he lay, and said, ‘O fellow, why do you lie here?’ Cogia Efendi, finding nothing else to say, replied, ‘I am one of the buried people, but came here to walk.’

Cogia Efendi one day went into a garden, pulled up some carrots and turnips and other kinds of vegetables, which he found, putting some into a sack and some into his bosom; suddenly the gardener coming up, laid hold of him, and said, ‘What are you seeking here?’ The Cogia, being in great consternation, not finding any other reply, answered, ‘For some days past a great wind has been blowing, and that wind blew me hither.’ ‘But who pulled up these vegetables?’ said the gardener. ‘As the wind blew very violently,’ replied the Cogia, ‘it cast me here and there, and whatever I laid hold of in the hope of saving myself remained in my hands.’ ‘Ah,’ said the gardener, ‘but who filled the sack with them?’ ‘Well,’ said the Cogia, ‘that is the very question I was about to ask myself when you came up.’

One day Cogia Efendi, on whom God be merciful, went to the city of Conia, and going into a pastry-cook’s shop, seized hold of a tart, and saying, ‘In the Name of God,’ began to eat it. The pastry-cook cried out, ‘Halloa, fellow, what are you about?’ and fell to beating him. The Cogia said, ‘Oh what a fine country is this of Conia, in which, whilst a man eats a tart, they put in a blow as a digester for every morsel.’

Cogia Nasr Eddin, at the time of the Holy Ramadan, thought to himself, ‘What must I do in order to hold the fast in conformity with the people? I must prepare an earthen pot, and every day put a stone into it, and when thirty days are completed I may hold my Beiram.’ So he commenced placing stones in the pot, one every day. Now it happened one day that a daughter of the Cogia cast a handful of stones into the pot, and a little time after some people asked the Cogia, ‘What day of the month is it to-day?’ Now it happened to be the twenty-fifth. The Cogia, however, said to them, ‘Have patience and I will see’; and going to his house and emptying the pot, perceived that there were a hundred and twenty stones in it. Says the Cogia to himself, ‘If I tell the people all this number they will call me a fool.’ So going to them he said, ‘This day is the forty-fifth day of the month.’ But, said they, ‘O Cogia, a month has in all but thirty days, so how can you say that to-day is the forty-fifth?’ ‘I spoke quite within bounds,’ said the Cogia. ‘If you were to see the account in the pot you would find that to-day is the hundred and twentieth.’

One day the Cogia was asked, ‘When there is a new moon, what becomes of the old one?’ ‘They make forty stars out of each,’ said the Cogia.

One day the Cogia went out of the city along with a cafila or caravan of people, and felt a wish to ride. Now there was a camel belonging to the cafila, and the Cogia said to himself, ‘Now, if instead of walking I should mount on this camel, how comfortably could I travel!’ Thereupon mounting on the camel, he proceeded along with the cafila. The camel, however, falling to kicking, flung the Cogia to the earth and knelt upon him. The Cogia cried out loudly, and the people of the cafila came and rescued him. After a little time the Cogia, coming to his senses, said, ‘O Mussulmen, did you not see how that perfidious camel maltreated me? Now do hold the perfidious brute for me, that I may cut its throat.’

One day the Cogia bought a quantity of eggs at the rate of nine for the aspre, and carrying them to another place, he sold them at the rate of ten. Some people asking him, ‘Why do you sell ten for what you gave for nine?’ the Cogia replied, ‘I always wish my friends to see that I lose by my bargains.’

One day the Cogia walking along the plain met a heifer, and forthwith laying thievish hands upon it, led it straight to his house, where he slaughtered it and stripped off the skin. The proprietor soon appeared before the Cogia’s house, making a loud cry and lamentation. ‘Who would have thought,’ said the Cogia to his people and his wife, ‘that my flaying the heifer would have made that fellow’s face look so black?’

One day the Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi passing along the bazaar, an individual coming up to him said, ‘Pray, Cogia, what is the moon to-day? Is it at three or four?’ ‘I don’t know,’ said the Cogia. ‘I neither buy nor sell the moon.’

One day the Cogia taking a ladder on his shoulder, placed it against a garden wall, and mounting, got over, taking the ladder with him. The gardener seeing him said, ‘Who are you? and what do you want here?’ ‘I am come to sell this ladder,’ said the Cogia without hesitation. ‘Is this a place for selling a ladder?’ said the gardener. ‘O you foolish man,’ said the Cogia, ‘cannot a ladder be sold anywhere?’

Nasr Eddin Efendi one day taking hold of some fowls one by one, tied some strips of an apron round their throats, and then let them go. The learned men having assembled round the Cogia, said, ‘What was the matter with these fowls?’ Said the Cogia, ‘They merely went into mourning for their slaughtered mothers.’

One day a bull mounted a young cow of the Cogia’s. The Cogia seeing what he was about, took a staff in his hand and ran towards him. The bull fled towards the car of a Turcoman, to which seven other oxen were attached. The Cogia keeping the ox in view, ran after him, and with the staff in his hand struck the ox several blows. ‘Halloa, man!’ said the Turcoman. ‘What do you want with my ox?’ ‘Don’t you interfere, you foolish dog,’ said the Cogia. ‘He knows full well what he has done.’

One day the Cogia made his last will. ‘When I die,’ said he, ‘place me in an old tomb.’ When the people about him said, ‘Why do you make this request?’ the Cogia said, ‘When the inquiring angels come and ask me questions, I can say, “I am deaf. Do you not see that I as well as my tomb am old?”’

One day Cogia Efendi, putting on very short habiliments, went to the mosque to say his prayers. Whilst performing the rakoua the man who was behind him perceiving the Cogia’s --- seized hold of them and squeezed them, whereupon the Cogia, seizing hold of those of the man who was before him, squeezed them too; the man, turning round and perceiving that it was Cogia Efendi himself, said, ‘Halloa, what are you about?’ ‘You must ask the man behind me,’ said the Cogia.

One day the boys of Belgrade took the Cogia along with them into the bath. They had secretly brought in their pouches a number of eggs. One and all going into the bathing-house, took off their clothes and went in, and then, sitting down on the bench, they all said to one another, ‘Come, let us lay eggs: whosoever does not lay an egg shall pay the expenses of the bath’; after which they began to make a great noise, cackling like hens, and flinging the eggs which they had brought on the stone bench. Cogia Efendi, seeing what they were about, suddenly began to make a great noise and crow like a cock. ‘What are you about, Cogia Efendi?’ said the boys. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘is not a cock necessary where there are so many hens?’

One day the Cogia, putting on black clothes, went out. The people, looking at him, said, ‘Cogia Efendi, for whose death are you in mourning?’ The Cogia answered, ‘My son’s father is dead, and I wear mourning for him.’

One day Cogia, returning from the harvest field, felt very thirsty. Looking around, he saw that they watered a tree by means of a pipe from a fountain. The Cogia exclaimed, ‘I must drink,’ and pulled at the spout, and as he did so the water, spouting forth with violence, wetted the mouth and head of the Cogia, who, in a great rage, said, ‘They watered this wretched tree in order that one fool might wet another.’

One day the Cogia, taking some water melons with him, went to the mountain in order to cut wood. Feeling thirsty, he cut one of the melons, and, putting it to his mouth, cast it away, saying that it was tasteless. He then cut up another, and, to be short, he cut them all up, and, having eaten a little of each, made water over what remained. He then fell to work at cutting wood. After some time the Cogia again became thirsty, and finding no water, he went to the bits of the melons which he had cut up, and saying, ‘This is sprinkled, and this is sprinkled,’ ate them all.

Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi had a lamb which he had fattened to a high degree. One day some of his friends having assembled, said, ‘Let us get the lamb from the Cogia and feast upon it.’ So coming to the Cogia as quick as possible, they said, ‘O Cogia, to-morrow is the Day of Judgment; what would you do with this lamb? Come, take it, and let us eat it.’ The Cogia, however, would not believe them. Coming again, however, they said the same thing, and the Cogia, at last believing their words were true, slaughtered the lamb, and, taking it on his back, he carried it to the public walk, and, lighting a fire, he began to prepare a roast. Presently, stripping their bodies, they delivered their clothes to the Cogia, and each went aside to sleep. Whereupon the Cogia, taking their garments, flung them all into the fire and burnt them. In a little time, their bellies becoming hungry from the sleep they had had, they came again, and saw that their garments were nearly reduced to a coal. Whereupon they said to the Cogia, ‘Who burnt our clothes?’ ‘My dear friends,’ replied the Cogia, ‘to-morrow is the Day of Resurrection, so what need can you have of clothes?’

One day a thief, entering the house of the Cogia, laid hold of everything there was there, and, placing it on his back, went away. The Cogia, however, spying somebody going out, followed the thief, who went into his own house. The Cogia following close behind, pushed against him at the door. Whereupon the thief said, ‘What do you want, Cogia Efendi?’ ‘What do I want?’ said the Cogia. ‘Why, are we not going to remove hither to-day?’

One day certain individuals stole from the Cogia a sum of money, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘O Lord, what need have you that you give my money to others.’ So he made a dreadful outcry, and going into the mosque, wept until it was morning, groaning like a ship labouring in the sea. Those who were there said, ‘Ye who have found salvation make up a sum of money for the Cogia.’ So whosoever had found salvation through the assistance of the Almighty made up what he could, and brought it to the Cogia. Whereupon the Cogia exclaimed, ‘Allah, Allah! by lying one night publicly in the mosque and weeping, I have caused Allah to send me my money again.’

One day the Cogia borrowed a cauldron of a brazier, and carrying it home, put a little saucepan into it, and then carrying it back, returned it to its owner. The owner seeing a little saucepan in the cauldron, said, ‘What is this?’ ‘Why,’ cried the Cogia, ‘the cauldron has borne a child’; whereupon the owner took possession of the saucepan. One day the Cogia asked again for the cauldron, and having obtained it, carried it home. The owner of the cauldron waited one day and even five days for his utensil, but no cauldron coming, he went to the house of the Cogia and knocked at the door. The Cogia coming to the door, said, ‘What do you want?’ ‘The cauldron,’ said the man. ‘Oh, set your heart at rest,’ said the Cogia, ‘the cauldron is dead.’ ‘O Cogia,’ said the man, ‘can a cauldron die?’ ‘Oh,’ said the Cogia, ‘as you believed it could bear a child, why should you not believe that it can die?’

One day the Cogia, walking amongst the sepulchres, saw a large dog lying upon a gravestone. The Cogia, in a great rage laying hold on a stick, aimed a blow at the dog, who in his turn assaulted the Cogia. The Cogia fearing that he should be torn to pieces, said to the dog, ‘Get you gone: I conquered. Get you gone.’

One day the Cogia laying hold on a crane, took it home, and saying that its beak and feet were very long, cut them off with a knife; and placing it on a lofty place, said, ‘Now you look like a bird.’

One day the Cogia having made his broth very hot, burnt his mouth, and making a great outcry, ran into the street, saying, ‘Make way, brothers: there is a fire in my belly.’

A Moolah, who had travelled about Arabia, Persia, Hindustan, and, in a word, the whole seven climes without finding any one who could answer his questions, was told by a man, ‘In this country there is a man called Cogia Nasr Eddin, who will answer your questions if any one can.’ The Moolah arising, went straight to Belgrade, where he bought an aspre’s worth of pomegranates, which he placed in his bosom. Going out of the suburbs of Belgrade, he saw a man going to his labour; now this was the Cogia himself. Going up to him he saw a man like a fakeah, with shoes of raw hide on his feet and a kiebbeh or rough cloak on his back. When he was close by him he said to him, ‘Salaam’; and the Cogia saying to him, ‘Peace be unto you,’ said, ‘Moolah Efendi, for what have you come?’ The Moolah replied, ‘Can you answer a question which I shall ask?’ The Cogia said, ‘I can.’ ‘Do you know so-and-so?’ The Cogia said, ‘I can do nothing without being paid. What will you give me?’ The Moolah taking the pomegranates which were in his bosom, gave him one; whereupon the Cogia answered his question, and got all his pomegranates, one by one, till not a single grain remained. The Moolah then said, ‘I have yet one question to ask.’ The Cogia replied, ‘Go your way: don’t trouble me. The pomegranates are spent.’ Whereupon the Moolah went away, saying, ‘If the labourers of Moom are of this description, what must the learned men be?’

One day the Cogia saw a great many ducks playing on the top of a fountain. The Cogia, running towards them, said, ‘I’ll catch you’; whereupon they all rose up and took to flight. The Cogia, taking a little bread in his hand, sat down on the side of the fountain, and crumbling the bread in the fountain, fell to eating. A person coming up, said, ‘What are you eating?’ ‘Duck broth,’ replied the Cogia.

One day the Cogia having bought a liver, was carrying it to his house; suddenly a kite, swooping from above with a loud scream, seized the liver, and flew off with it. The Cogia remained staring after it, but saw that it was impossible to recover his meat. Making up his mind, he ran up to the top of an eminence, and a person passing below with a liver in his hand, the Cogia darted down and snatched the liver out of the person’s hand, and ran again up the rock. ‘Hallo, Cogia,’ said the man, ‘what are you about?’ ‘I was merely playing the kite out of fun,’ said the Cogia.

A person coming to Nasr Eddin Efendi, requested him to let him have a rope. The Cogia went into his house, and coming out again, said, ‘The rope is striking ten.’ ‘How can a rope strike ten?’ said the man. ‘It will always be striking ten,’ said the Cogia, ‘till I feel inclined to give you the rope.’

One day the Cogia put some fowls into a cage and set out for the castle of Siouri. As he was going along he said to himself, ‘These poor wretches are here imprisoned: I think I may as well give them a little liberty.’ So he let them all out, and all the hens ran off in one direction or another. The Cogia taking a stick in his hand, placed himself before the cock, pushing him and driving him, saying, ‘O you who in the middle of the night knowest when it is morning, how is it that in broad day thou knowest not the way to the castle?’

One day as the Cogia was wandering amongst the tombs, by the side of the way he fell into an old tomb, and making believe as if he were dead, he said, ‘Let me see Mounkhir. Is NekÓr coming?’ As he lay there stretched at his length, it appeared to him that he heard from afar the voice of a bell. ‘It is the noise of the Day of Judgment,’ said the Cogia, and forthwith sprang out of the tomb. Now it happened that a caravan was coming, and the Cogia, by putting out his head, frightened the camels, who jostled each other in great confusion. No sooner did the conductors see the Cogia than, seizing their cudgels, they said to him, ‘You! Who are you?’ The Cogia said to them, ‘I am one who is dead.’ ‘And what are you doing here?’ said the conductors. ‘I merely came to take a walk,’ said the Cogia. ‘We will now make you take a pretty walk,’ said the carriers, and instantly began belabouring him with their cudgels. The Cogia, with tears streaming from his eyes, ran home. ‘Where have you been?’ said his wife. ‘I have been dead,’ said the Cogia, ‘and in the tomb.’ ‘And what is there in the other world?’ said his wife. ‘Nothing,’ said the Cogia, ‘provided you don’t frighten carriers’ camels.’

Once upon a time the Cogia was sent into Curdistan along with the Ambassador. Whilst he was there the Curdish Beys invited the Cogia to a feast which they had made in honour of him. The Cogia, putting on a pelisse, went to the place of festival. During the entertainment he chanced to belch. ‘You do wrong to belch, Cogia Moolah Efendi,’ said the Beys. ‘I am amongst Curds,’ said the Cogia. ‘How should they know a Turkish belching, even though they hear it?’

One day the Cogia went with Cheragh Ahmed to the den of a wolf, in order to see the cubs. Said the Cogia to Ahmed: ‘Do you go in.’ Ahmed did so. The old wolf was abroad, but presently returning, tried to get into the cave to its young. When it was about half-way in the Cogia seized hard hold of it by the tail. The wolf in its struggles cast a quantity of dust into the eyes of Ahmed. ‘Hallo, Cogia,’ he cried, ‘what does this dust mean?’ ‘If the wolf’s tail breaks,’ said the Cogia, ‘you’ll soon see what the dust means.’

One day the Cogia mounted upon a tree, and, sitting upon a branch, forthwith began to cut it. A person coming up said, ‘Hallo, man! what are you about? as soon as you have cut the branch you will fall.’ The Cogia made no answer, but went on cutting, and no sooner had he cut through the bough than down fell the Cogia to the ground. Getting up, he ran after the person, crying out, ‘Ho, fellow, if you knew that I should fall you also knew that I should kill myself,’ and forthwith seized him by the collar. The man, finding no other way to save himself, said, ‘Leave hold of me and fling yourself down on the road face upwards. At the first belching that you give half your soul will leave your body; at the second, all will go and not a particle will remain.’ The Cogia did so, and at the second belching, laying himself down on the ground, he cried, ‘I am dead,’ and remained motionless. Forthwith the Ulemas hastened to him, and bringing with them a coffin, placed him in it, saying, ‘Let us carry him home.’ On their way, coming to a miry place, they said, ‘We will rest,’ and began to talk together. The Cogia, forthwith raising his head from the coffin, said, ‘If I were alive I would get out of this place as quick as possible.’

One day the Cogia set about making a stable under the earth. As he was digging, he got into a stable of one of his neighbours, in which he found several oxen. The Cogia, very much rejoiced, went into his house, and said, ‘O wife, I have found a stable of oxen; a relic of the times of the Caffirs. Now what will you give me for bringing you this piece of good news?’

Nasr Eddin Efendi had two daughters. One day the two coming to see their father, the Cogia said to them, ‘Well, daughters, how do things go on with you?’ Now, the husband of one of them was a farmer, that of the other was a maker of tiles. One of them said, ‘My husband has sown a great deal of corn; if there is plenty of rain my husband will give me a new gown.’ The other said, ‘My husband is a tile-maker; he has made a great quantity; if there is not a drop of rain he will give me a new gown.’ The Cogia said, ‘One of you two may be worth a cucumber, but which of the two God knows, I don’t.’

One day the Cogia being at Siouri Castle he saw a great many people assembled to look at the moon. ‘What a strange land is this,’ said the Cogia. ‘In our country they pay no attention to the moon when it is as big as a cart wheel, but here, when it is quite new and of scarcely any size, what a number of people assemble to look at it.’

Once as Nasr Eddin Efendi was walking in Belgrade he cried out, ‘O Lord! give me a thousand altoons, but if one be wanting I will not take the rest.’ Now these words of the Cogia were heard by a neighbour of his, a Jew, who, in order to try the Cogia, put nine hundred and ninety-nine altoons into a purse and flung it down the Cogia’s chimney. The Cogia sees a purse full of money before him, up he gets, and saying, ‘Our prayer has been accepted,’ he opens the purse, and, counting the altoons, finds that one is wanting. ‘Never mind,’ says he, ‘He who gives these can give one more,’ and takes possession of the money. The Jew now began to be in a fidget, and, getting up, knocked at the Cogia’s door. ‘Good day, Cogia Efendi,’ said he, ‘please to give me back my altoons.’ Quoth the Cogia to the Jew, ‘You are a merchant, and not a fool; I made a request to God on high, He gave me what I asked; what business had you to fling altoons to me?’ The Jew said, ‘O Cogia of my soul, I said I will have a jest with you. On hearing you say, “If one is wanting I will not take the rest,” I said to myself, “I will see whether you will or not”; I did it merely in jest.’ ‘Jest,’ said the Cogia, ‘I know nothing of jest; I accepted the gold.’ ‘Come, come!’ said the Jew, ‘we will go before the Judge.’ Said the Cogia, ‘I will not go on foot before the Judge.’ Thereupon the Jew brought the Cogia a mule. ‘Very good,’ said the Cogia, ‘but I must now have a pelisse for my back.’ The Jew brought him the pelisse, and they set off to the tribunal of the Cadi. The Cadi asking what they came for, the Jew said, ‘This man took from me so many altoons and now he denies having done so.’ The Cadi looked in the Cogia’s face, whereupon the Cogia said, ‘My Lord, I asked in prayer of the Most High a thousand altoons, which He gave. On counting them, however, I found that one was wanting, whereupon I said, “He who gives so many altoons will doubtless give one more,” and I accepted them; but, my Lord, this Jew says that the pelisse which you see on my back, and the mule on which I am mounted, are also his.’ ‘Yes, assuredly, my Lord,’ said the Jew, ‘for mine they are both.’ No sooner had he said these words than every one cried out, ‘Upon you, you Jew rascal,’ and, rushing upon him, they broke his head and kicked him out of the tribunal, and the Cogia was sent home to his house in triumph, not only with the altoons but the pelisse and the mule beside.

One day Cogia Efendi went to a bridal festival. The master of the feast observing his old and wretched garments, paid him no consideration whatever. The Cogia saw that he had no chance of notice; so going out he hurried to his house, and putting on a splendid pelisse, returned to the place of festival. No sooner did he enter the door than the master advanced to meet him, and saying, ‘Welcome, Cogia Efendi,’ with all imaginable honour and reverence placed him at the head of the table, and said, ‘Please to eat, Lord Cogia.’ Forthwith the Cogia taking hold of one of the furs of his pelisse, said, ‘Welcome, my pelisse, please to eat, my lord.’ The master looking at the Cogia with great surprise, said, ‘What are you about?’ Whereupon the Cogia replied, ‘It is quite evident that all the honour paid is paid to my pelisse, so let it have some food too.’

Nasr Eddin Efendi going one day into a city, found the doctors of the law eating and drinking; no sooner did they see the Cogia than they showed him great honour, and brought him food. It happened that that year was a year of famine, and the Cogia whilst eating and drinking, said to himself, ‘No doubt this city must be one in which provisions are very cheap,’ and asked a man who was by him whether it were not so. The man replied, ‘Are you mad? this day is Beiram, every one according to his means cooks meat in his house and brings it forth, and on that account the food is plentiful.’ ‘Ah, my good man,’ said the Cogia, ‘I wish that every day was Beiram.’

One day Cogia Efendi led a cow to the market for sale; backwards and forwards he led it, but was unable to sell it; presently a man advancing to the Cogia, said, ‘Why do you hold this cow in your hand without selling it?’ Said the Cogia, ‘I have led it about since the morning, and notwithstanding all the fine things that I have said about it I have been unable to sell it.’ The individual taking the cow from the Cogia’s hand, began to walk it about, exclaiming, ‘Who will buy a young girl six months gone with child?’ Forthwith buyers followed at his heels, and a very considerable sum was offered. The Cogia, very much surprised, took the money for the cow, and went running to his house. The inspectors, however, coming, took away the Cogia’s daughter, whereupon his wife said, ‘O Cogia, do you stay a little. The inspecting matrons have been for the girl. I will now go to them, and will give the necessary character, so that they will take our daughter, being satisfied with what I say.’ Quoth the Cogia Efendi, ‘No, no, wife, do not open your mouth. I have now learnt various praises fitted for her. I will go and tell them. Do you see how they will be pleased with them.’ So he went to the inspecting matrons, who, as soon as they saw him, said, ‘O Cogia Efendi, what have you to do with us matrons? Get you gone, and let the girl’s mother come.’ Said the Cogia Efendi, ‘It is not the duty of the girl’s mother to give information with respect to any talents which the girl may possess. Whatever questions you may have to ask with respect to the talents we may have observed, do you ask of me.’ Quoth the matrons, ‘Let us hear you dilate a little on her talents.’ ‘Ladies,’ said the Cogia, ‘if the girl is not six months gone with child, she is my property.’ The ladies on hearing this looked at each other, and getting up went away. Said the Cogia’s wife, ‘O Cogia, why did you drive the matrons away by using such words to them?’ ‘Don’t you fear, wife,’ said the Cogia, ‘if they go through the whole country they will not find a girl of this description; so let them go and come back. But to tell you the truth, if I had not praised the cow in this manner, I should have found no purchaser for her.’

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi, as he was winding the muslin of his turban, perceived that it was not long enough; he again tried all he could to bring it to a point, but in vain. The Cogia in great distress took the muslin, and going to the public mart, put it up to auction. Whilst it was being bid for, a person came and bought it. Whereupon the Cogia going softly up to him, said, ‘Brother, don’t take that thick thing; it is too short for a turban; you can’t bring it to a point.’

One day an individual coming to the Cogia said, ‘Something for my good news, Cogia Efendi. You have a son born to you.’ ‘If I have a son born to me,’ said the Cogia, ‘I owe thanks to God, but what do I owe to you?’

One day a man coming to the Cogia asked him for the loan of his ass. ‘Stay here,’ said the Cogia, ‘whilst I go and consult the animal. If the ass is willing to be lent, I will let you have him.’ Thereupon he went in, and after staying for a time came out and said, ‘The ass is not willing, and has said to me, “If you lend me to others I shall overhear all the evil things that they say of your wife.”’

One day the Cogia, mounting his ass, set off for his garden; on the road, wanting to make water, he took off his woollen vest, and placing it on the pack-saddle of his ass, he went aside. A thief coming up took the woollen vest and ran away with it. The Cogia returning saw that the vest was gone; whereupon taking the pack-saddle from the back of the ass, he put it upon his own shoulders, and giving the ass a cut with his whip, he said, ‘You lost my vest, so I take your saddle.’

One day Cogia Nasr Eddin Efendi, mounting his ass, again set out; on the way, wanting to make water, he again laid his vest upon the ass, and went aside. A person who had his eye upon him, instantly seized the vest and ran away; just at that time the ass began to bray. The Cogia hearing him, shouted out, ‘The ass brays: the ass cries—no good sign.’ The person, however, hearing the braying and the shouting, cast the vest upon the ground and made his escape.

One day Cogia Efendi, having lost his ass, inquired of a certain individual whether he had seen him. ‘I saw him,’ said the individual, ‘in a certain town, officiating as Cadi.’ ‘You say true,’ said the Cogia, ‘I knew he would be a Cadi, for I observed when I taught him the principles of philosophy, that his ears were not sewed up.’

One day Nasr Eddin Efendi went to the mountain to cut wood; after he had cut the wood he loaded his ass, and began to drive him home. The Efendi’s ass, however, would hardly move. A person coming up, said, ‘Put a little sal ammoniac into the --- of the ass.’ The Cogia finding a little sal ammoniac, put it in; whereupon the ass began to run so quickly that the Cogia was left far behind. ‘I would fain see the cause of this,’ said the Cogia, and clapped a little of the sal ammoniac to his own ---. No sooner had he done so than the Cogia’s posterior began to swell, and he set off running so quickly that he soon got before the ass, and ran straight home, but not being able to contain himself in the house, he ran about it, and observing his wife, he said, ‘O wife, whenever you wish me to get me on, do you stick a little sal ammoniac in my ---.’

One day a man came to the house of the Cogia and asked him to lend him his ass. ‘He is not at home,’ replied the Cogia. But it so happened that the ass began to bray within. ‘O Cogia Efendi,’ said the man, ‘you say that the ass is not at home, and there he is braying within.’ ‘What a strange fellow you are!’ said the Cogia. ‘You believe the ass, but will not

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