H is for Hodja

Turkish folktale collector Warren Walker gave me a copy of this Hodja drawing made by a student of his.

Turkish folktale collector Warren Walker gave me this line drawing of Hodja sitting backwards on his little donkey. It was drawn by a Turkish student of his at Texas Tech.

If you go to a grand mosque in Istanbul, your clergyman is an imam; if you go to a tiny mosque in a village, he is a hodja, and if that hodja is Nasruddin–Ah! I see you smiling already!

His wife picks on him, his students play tricks on him, his neighbors badger him, his little donkey won’t cooperate, his congregation doesn’t let him get away with anything, even the great Tamerlane tries to sneer him down! Yet somehow the hodja maintains his charming toehold on wisdom. Like Aggie jokes, Hodja stories let people laugh at life and themselves.

Be sure to have a hodja tale or seven on your 398.2 shelves:

Clark, Raymond C., Nasreddin Hodja, illustrated by Robert MacLean. Pro Lingua Associates, 2004.

Demi, The Hungry Coat. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004.

Shah, Idries, The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin. Penguin Books, 1993. (Shah has two other volumes, too.)


Texas Library Association Conference is in full swing! Drop by and say “hello” at booth 2511!

2 responses

  1. Sure hope we could get more of the Hodja tales in the elementary libraries! The humor would appeal to many of our 3rd – 5th graders. I know Eric Kimmel has a 398.2 picture book titled Joha Makes A Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale which is a more detailed Hodja tale. Love your post, as always! Looking forward to tomorrow’s “I”

  2. Yet somehow the hodja maintains his charming toehold on wisdom.” – LOVE that sentence! Perfectly expresses the feeling when we tell these stories! Fun post.