8 Dec 2009

Whose word to believe?

One day, Hodja Naseeruddin was sitting in front of his house watching the world go by. Many friends greeted him as they walked past. The Hodja politely returned their greetings.

After a while, a young man, whom the Hodja knew slightly, came up to him. "Hodja," he said, after greeting him politely, "I find I have to go and see my uncle today rather urgently He lives not too far away. It'll take me a few hours to ride there on a donkey, and I should be back by nightfall. Do you think you can spare your donkey, since you do not seem to be going anywhere today? I'll be very careful and will certainly come back before dark."

Now the Hodja was very much attached to his donkey and rode it everywhere. He certainly did not want to lend it to a very likely irresponsible young man. Heaven only knew where he would actually go and what he would do. However, he did not want to refuse rudely.

"Oh, unfortunately the donkey is not here. My wife has gone to visit her sister and is not likely to be back until tomorrow. Why don't you try your luck with someone else?" he suggested.

So the young man turned to leave. Just then the Hodja's donkey could be heard braying from the backyard. The young man stopped and said reproachfully: "I thought you said your donkey wasn't here."

"I did," said the Hodja. "Young man, the world will laugh at you if you start believing a donkey rather than a man.

I’ll leave readers to decide where I am going with this story…