flame, candle, dinner, pot
huge pot hung on a chain from the ceiling.
Beneath it on the floor flickered a candle.
The candle's flame and
(Illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll)
Nasreddin Hodja was a real person who lived in Turkey in the
thirteenth century. There are many tales about Nasreddin Hodja.
In some he¡¯s wise, in some he¡¯s foolish, and in some¡ªas in this
tale¡ªhe¡¯s a little of both.
cold winter night, Nasreddin Hodja sipped hot, sweet coffee and
gossiped with friends. As the howling wind plopped clumps of
snow against the window of the coffeehouse, the men spoke of the
this is cold?¡± Hodja asked. ¡°When I was a child, it was so cold
the clouds froze in the sky. But it didn¡¯t bother me. I¡¯d go
down to the river, cut a hole in the ice, and go for a nice
known to brag.
¡°I could stay
out on a night like this with nothing to keep me warm,¡± he
¡°With no coat,
no blanket, no fire, no hot tea?¡±
scoffed in disbelief.
you,¡± Hodja said. ¡°If I can¡¯t stay out all night without a fire
or any protection, I¡¯ll invite you to a feast at my house.¡±
refuse such an offer?
friends went to their warm houses. They sat by their windows and
sipped hot drinks as they watched Hodja wandering in the
snow-covered marketplace, studying the cold stars.
After a few
hours, Hodja, shivering mightily, wished he¡¯d never made such a
foolish offer. He was about to give up and go inside before he
froze to death. Then he saw a candle flickering in a window of a
house a hundred yards away.
his gaze on the candle flame and was able to endure the bitter
cold the rest of the night.
At last it was
morning. Teeth chattering, Hodja entered the coffee house just
as his friends were sitting down for the first coffee of the
¡°Were you out
there all night? And did you have nothing to keep you warm?¡±
them this was true.
¡°How were you
able to do it?¡± they asked.
¡°I fixed my
eyes on a candle flame burning in a window a hundred yards
away,¡± he said. ¡°It kept me going all night.¡±
Ahmet. ¡°You did have something to keep you warm. A candle flame
gives off heat. You warmed yourself by the heat of that candle
No matter what
Hodja said, the men were not convinced. They insisted he must
have warmed himself by the heat of the candle flame burning
behind a closed window a hundred yards away.
He sighed and
invited them to a feast at his house.
As the muezzin
sang out the prayer call at sunset, Hodja¡¯s friends left their
shoes at his door and entered his house. They sat cross-legged
on the floor, awaiting the feast.
¡°It may be
awhile,¡± Hodja said.
right. We can wait,¡± they said.
Hodja went back and forth to the kitchen, but the men detected
no good smells of roasting meat or frying onions. They were
getting hungrier and hungrier.
¡°When do we
eat?¡± one of them inquired.
¡°The food is
being prepared,¡± Hodja answered on his way to the kitchen.
¡°Maybe we can
help,¡± another one said, and they all followed Hodja into the
A huge pot
hung on a chain from the ceiling. Beneath it on the floor
flickered a candle.
Mehmet said, ¡°it will take forever for the heat of that candle
flame to cook our dinner.¡±
boil soon,¡± Hodja said. ¡°After all, if a candle burning behind a
closed window a hundred yards away can keep me warm on a winter
night, the flame of this candle just a few feet away can surely
heat the pot.¡±
1. Did Nasreddin's friends
believe what he had said?
2. How did Nasreddin
endure the bitter cold night?
3. How was Nasreddin going
to entertain his guests?