Humor Files: Goha and the Walnut Tree’s Islamic Humor Files

Goha and the Walnut Tree

Editor’s Note: Some call him Goha or Joha, the Turks call him Hodja, while the Persians and Afghanis call him Mollah, Nasrullah or Mullah Nasruddin. Regardless of what you call him, this wise, mysterious and sarcastic figure has been a fixture of Middle Eastern stories for centuries.

Black walnut tree

Black walnut tree

One day Goha was relaxing in the shade under a tall, beautiful walnut tree. As he lay on the grass, half dozing, he looked up into the high leafy canopy of the tree, and the small walnuts growing there. Then he gazed into the distance at some large pumpkins growing on the ground nearby.

He had a thought. “God, your ways are so strange,” he mused. “The little walnut gets this majestic tree, while those huge pumpkins must grow on a tiny vine. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t the small walnut have a small vine, and the great pumpkin grow on this great tree?”

Suddenly a walnut fell from the tree and smacked him in the forehead. Goha jumped to his feet and raised his hands to the sky. “O God,” he said, “I will never question your wisdom again. Imagine if that had been a pumpkin!”

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