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When the esteemed Nasreddin Hodja meets a traveller seeking happiness, he goes out of his way to help.

The bones of the story:

  • Nasreddin meets a stranger on the side of the road. Seems unhappy so asks why.
  • Stranger explains that he is a rich man who has all a heart can desire, and yet he is unhappy. He is on a journey to discover joy, carrying nothing but the clothes on his back and his knapsack with all his possessions.
  • Nasreddin pinches the knapsack and runs off, depositing it on the side of the road a little way away.
  • Nasreddin hides behind a tree and watches as the traveller eventually discovers the knapsack, and dances for joy at not having lost everything.
  • Nasreddin reflects on how this is one way to find joy.


  • Sufi tale, often attributed to Nasreddin or Joha