The Guest of Honor

NasreddinOne day, in the midst of his travels to give talks in various nearby villages, the intrepid Mulla Nasruddin came across a beautiful palace he had never seen before. After exploring all around the palace admiring its beauty he decided to enter. Being tired from all of his wanderings, he headed toward the first chair that he saw in the reception area. It happened to be the largest and most comfortable chair there.

As he was about to sit down, the palace guard quickly came over to him and said: “Sir, that chair is reserved for our guest of honor.”

“I am much more than a mere guest, honorable or not,” the Mulla replied without yet sitting down.

“Well, who are you? Are you a diplomat?” the guard asked.

“No, I am not a diplomat,” the Mulla said. “I am much higher than that.”

“Well, perhaps you’re a minister,” the guard suggested suspiciously.

“Not even close; I’m much higher than that,” the Mulla said.

“Well, the only title higher than that is the title of king,” the guard replied with undisguised impatience. “Are you perhaps the king himself?” he asked with great sarcasm.

“No, I am much higher than that.”

“Are you crazy? In this town, nobody is higher than the king,” the guard said angrily.

“Ah, at last. Now you understand. I am nobody!” the Mulla said as he sat down.

A free rendering by me of one of my favorite Mulla Nasruddin stories. Read Idries Shah for a variety of  Sufi teaching stories.

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