The Daily Polyglot

Language and Translation News

A Thousand Year Old Joke Book

Have you ever heard someone say ‘Oh yeh.. That’s joke’s old’? Well if you have, then perhaps they ought to think twice!

A joke book, called ‘The Art of Party-Crashing’, from the 11th Century has been found. It is believed the book was written by a scholar of the prophet  Mohammed, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi.

University of Manchester translator Emily Selove said the book was written to remind readers that “every serious minded person needs to take a break.”

She added: “Though it’s light and really quite an enjoyable read, there are serious messages too. The book is about generosity and encouraging individuals to express themselves eloquently and clearly.”

“It also suggests that turning a hungry person away from a place laden with food was cruel — as food was sometimes in short supply to the poor. It castigated those who turned gate crashers away from parties as misers. You do not turn people away if they are hungry.”

Some of the jokes are as follows:

Once a man crashed another man’s party. “Who are you?” the host asked him. “I’m the one who saved you the trouble of sending an invitation!” he replied.

A party-crasher walked into a gathering, and they said to him, “Nobody invited you!” “But if you didn’t invite me and I didn’t come,” he replied, “think how lonely that would be!”

Once a party-crasher walked in the house of a man who had invited a gathering of people. “Hey, you!” the man said. “Did I say you could come?” “Did you say I couldn’t come?” the party crasher replied.

Someone asked a party-crasher, “What’s four times four?” “Sixteen loaves of bread,” he said. “What is two times two?” “Four loaves of bread,” he replied. And another time he said, “I waited the amount of time it takes someone to eat a loaf of bread.”

Bunan (a popular rogue at the time that Selove likens to a cross between Falstaff and Robin Hood) had eaten and eaten well, and someone said to him, “Slow down! You’ll kill yourself!” “If it is time to die,” Bunan replied, “I want to go well fed and well watered, not parched and hungry.”

A party-crasher took up with a man while traveling. One day the man said to him, ““Go and buy some meat for us.” “No, by God, I don’t have the means,” said the party-crasher. So the man went and bought the meat. Then he said, “Get up and cook it.” “I’m no good at cooking,” said the party-crasher. So the man cooked the meat. Then he said, “Get up and sop the bread,” and the party-crasher replied, “By God, I feel exhausted.” So the man sopped the bread. Then he said, “Get up and ladle the stew.” “I’m afraid I’ll spill it on my robe,” said the party-crasher, so the man ladled the stew. “Get up and eat,” he said. “By God,” said the party-crasher, “I’ve been feeling bad for refusing you so many times,” and he came forward and ate.

Funny? You decide.



About Hristina Vasileva

Hristina is a content writer for - More information can be found about her on - Connect with her on twitter via @_techguru

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