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The Glutton and Nasrudin the Mullah

This is another story about Nasrudin the mullah. This version comes from
western China -- but, as with all Nasrudin stories, it can be enjoyed by
anyone, anywhere -- and it has something to tell us all.

Long ago in China, there lived a very rich lord. His house
and garden were famous throughout the land for their
grandeur and beauty. His clothes were so fine that, as he
walked by, people gasped in wonder.
You might think that such a wealthy man would spare a
thought now and again for others less fortunate than himself.
He might, perhaps, have given alms to the poor, or helped
the orphan children of the town. But no, he preferred to do
nothing at all.

This meant he was often very bored so he spent his time
trying to think of new ways to amuse himself. And one day,
he decided to play a trick on Nasrudin. For he knew that the
mullah blamed him for being selfish and lazy, and he wanted
above all to make Nasrudin look foolish.

He sent his servants out to buy a great many large, sweet
melons. Then he invited a large number of people to a feast
-- including, of course, Nasrudin.

When the guests were seated, the servants brought in the
melons, and the rich man urged them to eat. "Eat your fill,
friends!" he said. "There is plenty more."

The guests needed no encouragement. They did not often
have a feast such as this, and they were determined to make
the most of it.

As they ate, the heaps of melon skins grew taller on each
plate. Surreptitiously, the rich man (who had eaten more
than anyone else) slipped all his melon skins onto Nasrudin's
When all the melons were eaten, the guests sat back,
patting their stomachs, satisfied with their meal.
The rich man looked around the table and smiled. This was
the moment for his joke.

"Look!" he cried, pointing to Nasrudin's plate and the
enormous pile of melon peels. "This man is the greediest
person here -- though he teaches us to be generous and kind!
Yet he goes and eats more melons than the rest of us put
together! What a glutton!"

Everyone began to laugh -- even the Mullah. But as the
laughter died away, Nasrudin said quietly:

"But glutton as I may be, I am not the worst one here. For
look, 1 have eaten only the fruit, and I have left the peels
uneaten. But our host here -- he's eaten everything -- peels
and all!"

And the rich man hung his head in shame.

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