Tales: Get a goat

It happened once upon a time that a man came with a very long face to see Mullah Nasruddin.  “Peace be with you, friend,” the Mullah said.  “You look unhappy.”

“Mullah,” said the man, “I feel like I am going out of my mind.  What can I do?  There is never a moment’s peace in our house.”

“You fight?”

“Constantly,” groaned the man.  “In our house live my wife, her sister, our children, her mother and my two brothers, and there is shouting from dawn until sunset.  If we don’t do something soon, someone will be killed.”

The Mullah stroked his beard and looked wise.  “I can help you,” he sad, “but you must agree to follow my advice exactly.”

“Thank you, Mullah, you are my only hope–I will do whatever you say!”

“Follow my advice,” said the Mullah, “and a month from now you will praising God for His mercies. Tell me,” said the Mullah, as if changing the subject, “do you have a goat?”

“A goat?” said the man, looking perplexed. “No, we have no goat. No animals at all.”

“Get a goat,” said Nasruddin.  “And keep it in the house.”

“In the house?” said the man.  “Are you sure?”

“Positive,” said Nasruddin.  “Then come and see me in a week.”

A week later the man came again to visit the Mullah.  His face was even longer than the first visit.  “How are things at home?” asked the Mullah.

“Worse,” said the man.  “The goat is driving us crazy–always in the way, chewing on everything, climbing on the furniture, breaking things–and it smells!”

“I see,” said the Mullah.  “Then you need a rooster and three or four chickens as well. Also in the house.”

The man stared at the Mullah in disbelief. “In the house?” he repeated.

“You promised to follow my advice,” said the Mullah.  “Get a rooster and chickens.  And come again next week.”

The next week, the man looked like he had not slept for days.  “The rooster crows all the time,” he said, “No one can get any rest.”

“Yes,” said Nasruddin.  “That is the nature of a rooster. Now get a donkey.  And come and see me in a week.”

The next week, the man was barely able to walk–the donkey had stepped on his foot, and he was disheveled, with clothes unwashed and dark shadows under his eyes.  “Mullah, please,” he begged in a faint voice, “we can’t take another day of this.”

“Very well,” said the Mullah. “Get all the animals out of the house.  And come and see me in a week.”

The following week the man was smiling when he saw Nasruddin.  “Mullah,” he said, “Can you believe it?  Getting rid of the animals has brought peace to our home.  Now we just look at each other and smile.  Praise God!”


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