But whatever the origins of Mulla Nasrudin are, pinpointing them has become a trivial point. As generations went by, new stories were added, others were modified, and the character and his tales spread to broader regions. The types of themes and wisdom in his tales have become legendary products of a variety of people’s observations and imaginations. And although most of them depict Nasrudin in an early small village setting, the tales deal with concepts that have relevance to today’s universe and people.
Today, Mulla Nasrudin stories are told in a wide variety of regions, and have been translated into many languages. (It can only be assumed that some regions independently developed a character similar to Mulla Nasrudin, and the stories have become assimilated together.)
In many regions, Mulla Nasrudin is a major part of the culture, and is quoted or alluded to frequently in daily life. Since there are thousands of different Nasrudin stories, one can be found to fit almost any occasion.
Sufis also use Nasrudin stories frequently as learning and meditation tools, similar to the way Zen Buddhism practitioners use koans.
The Loan Request
Nasrudin struck up a conversation with a stranger.
Ar one point, he asked, “So how’s business?”
“Great,” the other replied.
“Then can I borrow ten dollars?”
“No. I don’t know you well enough to lend you money,”.
“That’s strange,” replied Nasrudin. “Where I used to live, people wouldn’t lend me money because they knew me; and now that I’ve moved here, people won’t lend me money because they don’t know me!“