Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Hello again,

Mentors are great gifts, and I believe along with Yashinsky that everyone will benefit by having a mentor to help guide them throughout the various stages of their lives. I've been very fortunate to have been blessed by the guidance and wisdom of community elders along my own journey as both a storyteller and a man.

Yashinsky's mentioning of Hodja made me curious of where I've heard stories of him before, and I remembered that I collected two during my folklore research in Mongolia. The following two short stories were told to me by a Kazak elder in Olgii-aimag (Western Mongolia):

Once upon a time, there was a person whose name was Hoja. One day his wife was cleaning house. She was putting all the old books into the fire. At this time Hoja returned home. He asked his wife what she was doing. She said, “These books became old and worthless. So, I'm burning them.” Then Hoja said, “The outside of books like the cover may get old, but what's inside never does, and this is what is important about books. You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

One day Hoja became sick. He went to see a traditional healer and the healer told him that he must drink duck soup with bread. When Hoja returned home he then went to the river where he saw several ducks. He took bread from his pocket and put it into the river and ate it. When he was eating bread a friend asked what he was doing. He told his friend that he was drinking duck soup with bread and following the doctor’s orders.

I've tried not to add anything to the translation which may make them seem a little underdeveloped, but this is probably my fault as a translator rather than any shortcoming by the storyteller.

I too enjoyed class today and am looking forward to tomorrow. Take care everyone and I'll see you then.......Josh

1 comment:

David said...

Great Josh. These are good Hodja stories. We saw today how a character can easily move through space and time and continuously inspire new stories. Hodja is a good example of a "stock" character. In the Italian Commedia D'ell Arte, actors could easily improvise scenes by virtue of inhabiting their character fully. As you get to know Hodja over the course of many encounters, you may begin to think like Hodja, and soon he will create new stories through you!