scholars and the cap-seller

Lost and found

Ten pundits (holy men) went to the Ganga to take a dip in the river. They held each other’s hands as they took dips thrice. When they came up the third time, they were not holding hands. “Let’s make sure all of us have come out of the river safely,”…
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Absent-minded Hodja

Nasruddin Hodja was absent-minded. One day, he set out on his donkey to visit a friend. “Have a safe journey,” said his wife. “Do not leave your belongings somewhere and return without them,” she cautioned him. Hodja nodded his head and left. On the way, Hodja met some friends. He…
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Fresh fish sold here

Nasruddin Hodja opened a shop to sell fish. To attract customers, he hung a slate on which he wrote: “FRESH FISH SOLD HERE.” Then he sat down in the shop, waiting for customers. A passerby stopped at the shop. He looked at the board and said, ”Why do you say…
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Bell demon

The village at the foot of a hill was peaceful. People were honest and hard working. The Village Chief was a kind and just man. One morning, the villagers woke up to the sound of a bell. They knew it was not the familiar temple bell. This was different. It…
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Monkeys on a fast

One day, a group of monkeys in a banana grove decided to fast. “Fasting once in fifteen days is good for our health,” said a wise old monkey. All monkeys nodded their heads. “Let’s fast tomorrow,” said their leader. All monkeys agreed. Soon, the day of fasting arrived. All the…
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A trip to heaven

One morning, a farmer found that some animal had broken into his farm in the night and had eaten some of the sugar canes he was growing. He decided to keep a watch. In the middle of the night, he went to his farm to make sure no animal had…
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The bird that flew away

Salim, son of Akbar the Great, loved all animals, especially kabootars, or doves. One evening, he was in the garden holding a pair of doves. His friend, Mehr, was with him. A guard came up to them and told Salim the Emperor wanted to see him. Salim turned to his friend Mehr,…
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Tenali Tales: Raman outsmarts a cheat

Once upon a time, Raman set out on a long journey. In those days, one had to walk through the jungle to get to another city. On the way, another traveler joined Raman. “This place is infested with thieves. I am afraid they will rob me. Can I travel with…
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Tenali Tales: Raman the horse trainer

An Arab brought a shipload of horses from Persia. Many in the court of king Krishnadevaraya bought the horses from the Arab. Raman maintained that Vijayanagara’s horses were superior to the horses from Arabia. The ministers who bought the Arabian horses challenged Raman to prove this point in a horse race.…
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Tenali Tales: Raman and the cat

The intelligence of animals was being discussed in the court of king Krishnadevaraya. “Cats are most intelligent,” said one minister. Others in the court agreed with the minister. They started describing how clever their own cats were. Each one claimed his own cat was the smartest. The king wanted to…
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