Janet Miles, CAP-OM (janetmiles) wrote,
Janet Miles, CAP-OM

"The Mullah Goes to Chelm"

My friend ysabetwordsmith does a Poetry Fishbowl every month. This month's topic was folk tales, and my prompt was, "How about something set in Chelm?" Her partner, Doug, saw the prompt and suggested, "You should mix that with a Mullah [Nasruddin] story."

This poem was the result. I have sponsored it, and so am allowed to repost it on my blog with attribution. Please do not repost or reprint this without first getting permission from ysabetwordsmith. You are always welcome to link to her public post of the poem.

The Mullah Goes to Chelm

One day, after a few too many adventures,
the Mullah decided to leave his homeland and travel.

Some weeks later, the Mullah came to the town of Chelm.
“Assalamu ‘alaikum,” he said to the man at the gate.
But the man at the gate did not reply.

“Why do you not say ‘Wa'alaikum assalam’ to me?” asked the Mullah?
“Because we are all Jews here,” said the man. “Shalom!”

“How interesting!” said the Mullah.
Straightaway he went to the synagogue
and began discussing religion with the maggid.

The maggid chose to tell the story of the Tzadikim Nistarim,
the 36 righteous men for whose sake the world is not destroyed.

“If I meet one of them,” the Mullah said fervently,
“I shall treat him very well indeed!”

“That’s the challenge, you see,” said the maggid,
For to do that we must treat everyone so well.
They are all in disguise; no one but God knows who they are.
They could be anyone at all.”

“Even that one?” said the Mullah,
pointing to a drunkard passed out beside the synagogue.

“Well,” said the maggid,
“it’s a very good disguise.”

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