Raj Arumugam


Nasrudin's donkeys


1
it’s graduation day
and the teacher gives awards
to each:
a book to one
a staff to another
silk or precious stones;
and to Nasrudin
the teacher
gives a donkey

2
It is some years
and the teacher
hears of Nasrudin’s fame
and comes to visit
the House of Prayer Nasrudin oversees
and to pay homage to the Saint
buried just beside

3
O Nasrudin,
says the teacher -
how great your fame
and vast your following
Tell me, which Eminent Saint
is buried in the mound
beside the House of Prayer
you oversee?

O Master,
says Nasrudin
It’s the donkey
you gave me
It died just 4 years after
and I buried him here
And everyone wants a Saint
so I have not disabused people
of their faith

4
The teacher nods with a smile
and Nasrudin continues:
But tell me Master –
which Eminent Saint is buried in the mound
beside the House of Prayer
you oversee?

Ah, Nasrudin, says the teacher
though people believe it’s a Saint
it’s really your dead donkey’s mother

Submitted: Wednesday, September 07, 2011

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