This lesson presents a folktale featuring the famed Nasreddin, a popular wise man who lived in the 13th century. Although definitive evidence is not available for his place of birth, competing cases have been made for Khorasan province in present-day Iran as well as Anatolia in present-day Turkey. Over the centuries, a vast corpus of stories featuring Nasreddin has accumulated and become popular throughout Central and South Asia, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East, including Iran. The stories typically combine playful, droll, slightly absurdist humor and a moral lesson. A helpful overview of Nasreddin's life and cultural influence is available here.
In an example of Nasreddin's resonance over time, his name was used as the title of an Azeri satirical journal first published in Tbilisi in 1906. According to the 2011 book Molla Nasreddin: The Magazine that Would've Could've Should've: "While [the magazine] helped give rise to a new Azeri intellectual culture, Iran was arguably the country where it had is greatest impact: Molla Nasreddin focused relentlessly on the inefficiency and corruption of the Qajar dynasty, and its essays and illustrations acted as a preamble of sorts to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1910, which resulted in the establishment of the first parliament in all of Asia."