Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hodja's Fine Coat (Tale from Turkey)

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hodja's Fine Coat (Tale from Turkey)

Article excerpt

LONG ago Nasreddin Hodja, the famous preacher, was beloved by everyone in Turkey, especially the people of Akshehir. Everyone spoke of his wisdom and kindness. Whenever the people held a feast or festival, they invited Hodja.

One day the muhtar, the most important man in Akshehir, invited Hodja to a banquet. Hodja looked forward to the marvelous food he would feast upon and the good conversation he would have at the muhtar's home.

On the morning of the feast, he set out to work in his vineyard. It was a fine summer day, and Hodja enjoyed his work. Alas, he misjudged the time. As the sun sank lower in the sky, Hodja realized he would have no time to change his clothes.

"What shall I do?" he asked himself. "If I take the time to wash and dress, I will be late for the feast." Hodja did not like to keep people waiting, and so he hurried off to the muhtar's home dressed in his working clothes, his hands and face still soiled from the day's labors.

When he arrived, the servants turned away from him. Hodja made his own way into the house. The other guests were gathered, and he saw them laughing and talking enthusiastically with each other. But when Hodja walked into the room, the others ignored him. Whenever Hodja approached and spoke, they looked away, ignoring his words. Usually people came to Hodja to ask his advice and opinions, but on this evening no one spoke to him at all. Even the muhtar ignored his guest.

When the time came for the guests to be seated for supper, the muhtar placed Hodja in the farthest corner of the room, as far from him as possible.

After several minutes, Hodja excused himself and hurried out of the house. He walked as quickly as he could back home.

Once at home, he took off his work clothes, and soaped and scrubbed hi mself until he seemed to shine. Then he dressed in the finest clothes he owned. …

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