Sheikh Nasreddin at the Fork
Narrated by Hajji Abdu Settar Mohammed Bashir
One day Nasreddin went to the forest, climbed a tree and began to cut a branch on which he was sitting.
A young man saw him and said, “Old man, what are you trying to do? Why are you cutting the branch on which you are sitting? You will fall down.”
Nasreddin said, “I will not fall down,” and continued his cutting.
So the branch fell off and Nasreddin fell down, and he got up and went to look for the young man and asked him to tell him when his death would be.
The young man said, “How can I tell you the day of your death?”
Nasreddin said, “You told me I would fall from the tree so you must know the day of my death.”
The boy couldn’t do anything to convince Nasreddin that it was a matter of logic.
So he said, “On your way home you will find a road that forks. When you reach that fork, you will hear a donkey braying. At that time half of your life will die. And when the donkey brays a second time, you will die completely and your soul will leave your body.”
So Nasreddin started out for home. When he reached the fork, a donkey brayed and Nasreddin assumed he was half dead. A little later, the donkey brayed again, and Nasreddin was convinced he was dead and lay down on the side of the road. People who were passing by found him there and when they saw him they tried to wake him up but they couldn’t.
So they said, “This old man had died.”
So they cut a tree and made a stretcher and carried him along. They walked for a long time, and arrived at another fork.
Some began to argue, saying, “This way is shorter,” and others said, “Yes, it is a short cut, but it goes up and down, so let’s take the longer one which is more even.”
When Nasreddin heard them arguing, he said, “Listen to me, when I was in this world…”
But the people were frightened and dropped him, since they thought he was a spirit. And he explained what happened, and they all laughed at him and he went home.
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