Mulla Nasrudin, the wise fool of Eastern folklore, holds a special place in Sufi studies. The Sufis, who believe that deep intuition is the only real guide to knowledge, use the humorous stories of Nasrudin's adventures almost like exercises in Eastern thought.
The Sufis ask people to choose a few which especially appeal to them, and turn them over in their mind, making them their own.
Sufi teaching masters say that in this way a breakthrough into a higher wisdom can be effected. A single story can work on many levels, from great humor to initiating profound thought.
Idries Shah's collection of Nasrudin tales is an excellent introduction to Sufi thought and Eastern philosophy.
Idries Shah spent much of his life collecting Sufi classical narratives and teaching stories from oral and written sources in the Middle East and Central Asia and publishing them in book form. The eleven tales he wrote especially for children are published by Hoopoe as beautifully illustrated books, all of which have been commended by Western educators and psychologists, the Library of Congress, National Public Radio and other media for their unique ability to foster social-emotional development, thinking skills and perception in children and adults alike. Told for centuries, these stories express universal themes and a positive representation of important but often misunderstood cultures, showing how much we have in common and what we can learn from each other. They acknowledge a child's individuality and uniqueness and encourage a sense of confidence, responsibility and purpose.