Instead of Urban Legends here is a FolkTale




This photo is by my friend ‘simonsterg’ -a teller of tales like me. It shows a piece of ironwork (see details). There is a tale under it. The tale starts like this:

«A tiger once fell into a trap, and the trap was the hole in the ground.

Now normally tigers are good climbers and jumpers, but this hole was so steep-sided, so smooth that try as he might the Tiger couldn’t get out.

And there he waited, until a boy came along…»

I was amazed by the image and the tale, so I asked the question which I reserve for story tellers only. «What does it teach?» And good Simon reacted with another tale. ‘Cause tales pose questions to get answered by other tales (my love, Secherazade …). Read that too. Oh and ye Greeks, who among you over 20 doesn’t know Nasrudin? The old bugger is coming back via I don’t know where… My grandmother’s spirit sent him.

Δεν ειμαι λεχωνα πια. Ειμαι κανονικος ανθρωπος . Φευγω και παω για δουλεια πολυ συντομα.
I’m not a *lechona* anymore. I am a regular human now and I’m going for work very soon.



(13 total)

So it’s a fact. You are raising steam to get back to work. There can’t be better proof than this entry. Bonne chance alors. I don’t want to know how you will manage. It will probably be something beyond my imagination.

Tuesday February 6, 2007 – 10:01am (EET)

I’d say it means that if you juggle scorpions you might get stung, that whitewashing a fence is a pleasure if you perceive it to be, and that no matter what, you keep on chopping wood.

Tuesday February 6, 2007 – 09:45am (PST)

Ah, it’s the side of Eleni that I hate, but I can’t deny that the «what does it teach?» question works…

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 10:14pm (EET)

Well I am of course flattered to – again! – feature in the blog… especially after such a long silence…

I’m also glad to see that the «steam is raised» and that you are canonical again.

But turning to Ahina – why is that a hateful thing? And how does it work?

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 09:34pm (CET)

Oh, and I almost forgot to say: I Didn’t Know that Nasrudin had a Greek passport too!!!
So I have come back for «payment» from all greeks over the age of 20 who even glance at my photo: I want a Nasrudin story.

As small change – and since i am now a StoryTeller – let me tell you that he did in fact come to London. He had heard that in that Great Metropolis even people who don’t work are paid – «The streets are paved with gold.» When he was told that the only work you had to do was to pick the money up, he could hardly credit it.
So, having found his way from Heathrow Airport via Picadilly Line train and number 36 bus (not without a number of bizarre encounters) to his cousin’s flat, he was amazed to see a ten pound note on the walkway in front of the door. He stared at it in amazement and then bent to pick it up.
But before his hand touched the note he straightened up again.
«No,» he said aloud, «I will start work tomorrow…»

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 09:56pm (CET)

oops Athina, I left out your h… (English could really do with its theta – its «thorn» back again – it would make teaching children to read and write a little easier.)

Wednesday February 7, 2007 – 10:01pm (CET)

Hi All. I would add Rumi to the list of story-tellers from Konya. «Though water prevails over fire in might, Yet it boils by fire when in a cauldron» (from «Masnavi» translated by E.H. Whinfield). Also, anybody familiar with Calvin & Hobbes?

Friday February 9, 2007 – 01:40am (EST)


A man from an island walks in a street of a big city one day. Suddenly he stumbles on an old oil lamp and falls down. Very angry he turns and grabs the lamp; he is ready to smash it when a jinn comes out.
– There we go again! Couldn’t you be more careful? Say your wish very fast now and let’s get over with it.
– Can I ask for anything?
– Yes, anything. But make it fast. We are not going to stay here all day.
– Oh don’t worry; It’s something I always wanted to ask. You see I come from an island and I don’t want to travel there by boat or plane anymore. Can you build me a highway over the sea so that I can drive to my island?
– How far is your island?
– About 200 miles.
– What? This is impossible! I’m just a simple jinn! I am not God. I can’t make what you asked. Say another wish.
– Ok, no problem; don’t be so upset. Here is my other wish: can you make my wife obey me in everything; that when I tell her to sit that she sits and when I tell her to stand that she stands and I when I tell her to shut up that she shuts up; in one word, that she always does what I tell her to do without objecting and quarreling?
– How many lanes did you say you wanted your highway to have?

(I heard this the other day from a man who is about to get married. He is a lover of Nasrudin’s stories as well as of anything like it. Even nowadays that Greece is clearly oriented towards the west, the Nasrudin circle remains part of the Greek culture. Though the name -pronounced «Neshradin»- of the famous mullah is hardly ever mentionned, the stories are there: «The Camel’s way», «The Oven on Wheels», «The donkey who learned not to eat» e.t.c. )

Oop! Welcome, latest commentator Can! We share the same admiration for Mevlana Jelaledin Rumi! I used to have a copy of his Masnavi in French.

Friday February 9, 2007 – 01:05pm (EET)

@ simonsterg : I hate Eleni’s «what does it teach?». I am a very restless person and I can’t stand still and speculate on meanings. (I like reading though). Yet I admit that it works! Brings more stories about. We are grateful. Makes this blog so much richer. «The streets paved with gold» story is a typical Greek immigrant joke about New York. I didn’t know Nasrudin started it.
@ AKK : thanks; none of us knew the joke. It is very appropriate given the situation. In fact it sums up the situation. I’m going to tell it to Stavros on Sunday. He ‘d rather build a 200 mile bridge across the sea than make Eleni (+ me) listen to him right now.
@ ‘Can’ : welcome newcomer! Rumi? Why did the name make me think of the turning dervishes? I was sure there must have been something deeper behind the folkloric festival in Konya, Turkey. I’m not very much for mysticism, but these people (are they monks?) actually DO something. I like outgoing action -& if possible, miracles.

My name is Athina like the name of the city with the stress in the last syllable. But I’d hate to be called «Athens». So you may call me by the nice diminutive NANA

Friday February 9, 2007 – 11:18pm (EET)

Έλληνες φίλοι και φίλες στενάχωριεστε, το ξέρω, που όλα αυτά είναι στα Αγγλικά. Πάλι καλά να λέτε γιατί θα μπορούσε να είναι στα Γαλλικά ή στα Ιταλικά ή και στα Τούρκικα. Για παρηγοριά σας θυμίζω πως 3 από τους σπουδαιότερους Έλληνες ποιητές (κι ανάμεσά τους κι ο Εθνικός ποιητής μας) τα Ελληνικά δεν ήταν η πρώτη τους γλώσσα. Κάλβος, Σολωμός, Καβάφης. Ξέρω προσωπικά έναν Αλβανικής καταγωγής που βγάζει το ψωμί τους σαν μαραγκός στην Αθήνα και γράφει ωραιότατα ποιήματα στα Ελληνικά. Μην ήσαστε «ανάδελφοι» λοιπόν. Διάβαστε αργά και θα τα καταλάβετε. Αργά -λέω μωρέ! Οι Έλληνες άμα θέλουν όλα τα καταλαβαίνουν.

Friday February 9, 2007 – 11:26pm (EET)

Thanks Nana and AKK. As far as I know, Rumi inspired the creation of the Mevlevi order which is more popularly known as the whirling dervishes. There is so much symbolism in their mystical dance, a ritual called “Sema” in Turkish. It is of course a means for spiritual development for these dervishes and I agree this is more outgoing than mystics who live in a cave or remain secretive. In these whirling dervish performances you hear some amazing music too. To me the main miracle is they are able to dance for so long and the scientific explanation has something to do with the way they hold their heads at a certain angle. This supposedly helps them to adjust to the tilt and the movement of the earth.

Sunday February 11, 2007 – 09:55am (EST)

There are too a few «Nasrudin» stories form Rumi…
This one «means» there is a limit to how useful «information» can be:

«I can read minds,» said Nasrudin.
«Really? Then, tell me, what have I got in my pocket?»
A look of deep concentration came over the Mulla’s face: «Mmm.. it’s something produced by a chicken… smoothe… fits in the palm of your hand… it’s edible… brown… shaped like an egg…»
«Yes, but what is it?»
«Some kind of cake?»

@AKK – I did, actually, LOL with «how many lanes?»

Sunday February 11, 2007 – 09:06pm (CET)

Now let me say «what this teaches». It teaches that information is nothing (no matter the wonderous way we got it), if we are unable to read it. In other words it’s sometimes better for us to know less and be able to understand more.
I’m not much of a philosopher -I just know this from everyday life.

Monday February 12, 2007 – 02:03am (PST)