disputes and deliver a wise judgment accepted by every person concerned without raising anydispute or rancor. Nobody laughs at Solomon, nobody questions him and his wisdom seemssupernatural. Every word he says is well thought, a wise teaching to comprehend and meditateupon. He inspires awe, as he is elevated beyond the human limits.His exact opposite is the Wise Fool, whatever name the local folklore of each people hasattributed to him. He is only human, cannot realize the obvious and is always derided. Yeteverybody adores him, he is approachable, a neighbor or a friend. He deals with small everydayproblems, all kinds of bothersome details and trivia of human life. Nobody would imagineapproaching Wise King Solomon casually; nobody would dare to bother him with our daily fightwith our instincts, our passions, our family and our neighbors. Therefore we need the Wise Fooldaily, much more often than we need the Wise King, the Wise Judge or the Wise Teacher.A strange way of teachingThe Wise Fool doesn’t teach directly, yet he is a great teacher. He cannot say wise words nor give wise counsels yet the essence of his stories permeates the folk proverbs and sayings. Theold Pomaks (an ethnic minority in Northern Greece) say
"Za kirk déne akú ne spominéshNasradíne sha se izlézi pak”
(If you do not evoke Nasrettin’s name within forty days, he will riseagain)
. If we don’t evoke his name, if we do not use his tales in order to solve our dailyproblems and disputes, this means that we have learned nothing, we are more foolish than thefool; this means that we do not trust his foolish wisdom and we are doomed to repeat hismistakes and suffer the consequences. But he will not let us suffer he will rise again (as a menaceor as a savior?) to make us laugh and be merry.The Wise Fool is wise therefore he employs the most effective method of teaching: laughter, theunique human trait that many believe is what differentiates us from the animals. Although thisfoolish teacher initiates the learning process from the basest kind of laugh (laugh at themisfortunes of others), he enters a reflective quality in certain stories thus transmuting it into anobler kind of laugh (laugh at our own shortcomings, faults and sins) till it reaches atranscendental kind of laugh (laugh at our own misfortunes, our Fate, “God’s pleasantries” as thegreat storyteller Karen Blixen used to call them
).The Wise Fool is humble therefore he employs the humblest way of teaching, suitable even for animals . He employs the method of trial and error therefore he usually learns after suffering theconsequences of his mistakes. “The things I suffered, became a lesson”
as goes the Greek proverb still in use. Nashrettin Hodja falls and hurts himself in order to caution us not to saw thebranch we’re standing on. Yet we our continuing to waste Nature’s resources, changing theplanet’s climate and poisoning air, earth and sea.