Sunday, December 4, 2011

Persian Folktale: The Pot

Though I only lived in Iran for the first three months of my life, I have always enjoyed learning about the many cultural and traditional wonders of this magical land.  Perhaps the best way for me to give you a better understanding of Persian culture would be to tell one of my favorite stories about a character from one of the old storybooks of Persia. 

Mullah Nasruddin is a witty and charming character known throughout all of Iran for his many wise and humorous anecdotes.  In ancient Persia, Mullah was known as the man from whom people would seek advice.  In return, Mullah would always respond with sarcastic and funny remarks or solutions, which if pondered for a while, actually made good sense.

In this story, Mullah was having a party and realized he needed an extra pot.  He decided to go to his neighbor’s home and ask to borrow one.  His neighbor agreed to loan him a pot and Mullah took it home and used it to make dinner for his guests.  The following day, Mullah placed a small pot into the borrowed pot and returned it to his neighbor.

His neighbor, confused by this, stated, “Thank you, but Mullah why did you give me an extra pot?”

Mullah said, “Oh, it’s nothing, your pot gave birth while in my possession so I am giving you its child as well.”  His neighbor, perplexed by this but ecstatic about the bonus asked no further questions. 

So after a while, Mullah needed to borrow another pot.  Once again, Mullah went and borrowed another much larger pot from the same neighbor, but this time he didn’t return it for a while.  His neighbor, confused and concerned, went to Mullah’s home and asked, “Why haven’t you returned my pot yet?”

Mullah somberly replied, “I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it is with great regret I inform you that your pot passed away last night.”

His neighbor questioned, “What do you mean my pot passed away?!  Pots don’t die!!”

Mullah responded, “My friend, why is it that you were so quick to believe your pot gave birth, but can’t believe it is also able to die?”

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