At the library I usually look at books in the children section and always find some good stuff.  You’re probably wondering what Nasruddin and molasses have in common.   I’ll tell you.  Nothing.  They are the subjects of the two books I found at the library.

The Wise Fool is written by Shahrukh Husain from Pakistan and illustrated by Micha Archer from Massachusetts.  The book is a compilation of delightful Islamic fables featuring  the wisdom and humor of Mulla Nasruddin.  These stories are known  and shared in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  I had never heard of them, but I’m glad I did.  There are some Mulla Nasruddin jokes on the internet and I want to share them with you:

Nasrudin and his wife were in the house eating their supper. They heard a noise in their compound. Nasrudin took his gun and rushed outside. He saw something white moving near his garden. He raised his gun and shot. When he went close to see what he had shot, he discovered that his wife had washed his best shirt and had hung it on a tree to dry. Just then she came running from the house. “Oh, you unlucky man!” she cried. “You have ruined your best shirt.” “No,” said Nasrudin. “I am the luckiest man on earth. I almost put that shirt on this morning. If I had been wearing the shirt, then surely I would have been killed.”

A young playwright gave a special invitation to Mulla Nasrudin to watch his new play. The Mulla came to the play, but slept through the entire performance. The young playwright was indignant and said, “How could you sleep when you knew how much I wanted your opinion?” “YOUNG MAN,” said Nasrudin, “SLEEP IS AN OPINION.”

Mulla Nasrudin was complaining about the slowness of the bus to the driver. After he couldn’t stand the complaining any longer, the driver said, “If you don’t like it, why don’t you get out and walk?” “I WOULD,” said the Mulla, “BUT MY WIFE IS GOING TO MEET ME AND SHE DOESN’T EXPECT ME UNTIL THIS BUS GETS THERE.”

Once, the people of the city invited Mulla Nasruddin to deliver a speech. When he got on the minbar (pulpit), he found the audience was not very enthusiastic, so he asked “Do you know what I am going to say?” The audience replied “NO”, so he announced “I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about” and he left. The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day. This time when he asked the same question, the people replied “YES” So Mullah Nasruddin said, “Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time” and he left. Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week. Once again he asked the same question – “Do you know what I am going to say?” Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered “YES” while the other half replied “NO”. So Mullah Nasruddin said “The half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the other half” and he left!

The Illustrations in the book are so beautiful.  We give this book ten stars.  I don’t want to give it back.

The other book I discovered is The Great Molasses Flood Boston 1919 by Deborah Kops.  You’re not going to believe this.   Maybe you will.  I had a hard time picturing it in my mind.

The Great Molasses Flood

On January 15, 1919  World War I had ended, a world-wide strain of Influenza had finished working its way through Boston killing six thousand.  Prohibition was about to be ratified by the states.  A tank with an over two million capacity tank burst,  destroying property and taking the lives of  twenty-one people.There was so much destruction.

The molasses bent and busted a railroad track.

Located on the north end of Boston where freight trains were loaded, the molasses in the tank was used to make rum.  The U.S. Industrial Alcoholic Company wanted to financially benefit from the 13,000 tons of thick syrup it had bought from the Caribbean before alcohol became illegal.  The USIA never got the chance to make money off of the rum.  Neither did they take responsibility for the explosion.  Eventually the USIA was found negligent and had to pay out over a million dollars.

There are many websites about this incident.

http://www.3ammagazine.com/short_stories/non-fict/truetales/molasses.html

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/historical/a/molasses_flood.htm

http://alum.mit.edu/pages/sliceofmit/2012/04/06/great-molasses-flood/

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