~ 158. Nasruddin Commands the Tree ~

"I'm actually a saint," Nasruddin told his neighbor. "And as a saint, I have supernatural powers."
"Prove it!" said his neighbor. "If you have supernatural powers, command that tree over there to come here and bow down to you."
"O Tree," shouted Nasruddin, "come here and bow down to me!"
The tree did not move.
Nasruddin waited a moment, and then he walked over to the tree and bowed down before it.
"What are you doing?" asked his neighbor.
"Saints like me are also very modest," Nasruddin explained. "If the tree won't come to me, I'll go to the tree."

Inspired byThe Best Anecdotes of Nasreddin Hoca by Kemal Yorenc
Notes: This story is on p. 42 of the book. There is a version with a "mountain" instead of a tree in The Wit and Wisdom of Nasraddin Hodja by Nejat Muallimoglu.

I suspect that this Nasruddin story, or something like it, is behind the famous English saying, first recorded in a work of Francis Bacon in 1625 (Of Boldness): "Mahomet cald the Hill to come to him. And when the Hill stood still, he was neuer a whit abashed, but said; If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet wil go to the hil." The use of mountain appears in John Owen in 1643 (Of the state of Adam): "If the mountaine will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will goe to the mountaine."

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