Mullah Nasruddin

Informant: My friend’s grandfather is originally from Tehran, Iran. He moved to California as an adult but retold some of his favorite stories he heard from his parents as a child.

Original Script: “Mullah Nasruddin is a character who appears to be a joke but he tells the truth through satire and stuff like that. so, at times in some stories he’s hilarious, in some stories he’s an idiot, in some stories he’s wiser beyond belief. So it’s the same character but he goes through different iterations, so he’s definitely a folk character in Persian culture.”

Context of the Performance: Over dinner, family members exchanged old folk stories they remember from Iran.

Thoughts about the Piece: This is an introduction to the trickster character “Mullah Nasruddin”, who recurs in many Persian folktales. He is an interesting character in that he does not fit any universal archetype, but rather fills what ever character type the story needs, whether it be clever, dull, or anything in between.

Citation: for more Mullah Nasruddin tales, see Suresha, Ron Jackson. The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero. Maple Shade, NJ: Lethe, 2011. Print.