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1001 Stories Collection

The Perfect Wife

1001 Who Am I
Added on 02nd July 2020

Oral tradition Story from the Middle East

Middle East Fables
1001 , Text

This Nasreddin Hodja story tells of the search for the perfect wife.


One day Nasreddin meets a friend who is about to get married. Nasreddin smiles and tells him about his younger days when he had searched far and wide for the perfect wife. There was always some imperfection that stopped him marrying a woman. But then he finds a woman who is perfect in every way… Why didn’t he marry her?

Why we chose it

The Perfect Wife was one of the stories in The Story Museum’s original audio stories collection. These stories are particularly suitable for learning to retell.

Where it came from

This is one of the tales thought to have been told by Nasreddin, a figure who lived around the 12th / 13th centuries in the Middle East. Like many folk story heroes he may have been based on a historical person or he may have been a purely imaginary character. The original stories probably came from Anatolia but the character Nasreddin Hodja has lasted for centuries and new stories have been added over the years, expanding the collection. The stories were spread orally throughout the Ottoman Empire and wherever he goes Nasseradin is known for his wit, humour and the brevity of his anecdotes.

Where it went next

These stories have travelled the world and can be understood on different levels. They are told as jokes on the radio, shared by friends and this story has even been used in relationship advice and therapy.

Associated Stories

There are many other Nasreddin stories. For example, another story begins with Nasreddin sprinkling crumbs around his house. When asked why he is doing this, he replies, “To keep the tigers away”. The neighbours laugh and say, “But there aren’t any tigers around here”. Nasreddin smiles and replies, “That’s right. You see how well it’s working!”

Added on 02nd July 2020

Oral tradition Story from the Middle East

Middle East Fables
1001 , Text

Story Resources

  • The Perfect Wife story text PDF (183.824 KB)