Payment

This entry is part 36 of 54 in the series Mullah Nasruddin Stories

A woodman was carrying a sack full of chopped wood on his back. His sack was heavy and filled beyond its limit. The man, bent under his bulky burden, was struggling not to drop any of the wood pieces as he walked.

However, the poor man couldn’t avoid tripping over a stone on the road and half of his load fell out of their precarious pile. Another man happened to be passing by and saw the mishap.

`If I load those fallen pieces of wood back into your back sack, what would you give me?’ he asked.

`Nothing.’ said the man carrying the wood.

`That’s acceptable.’ agreed the other man. He collected all the chopped wood scattered on the road and crammed them back into the sack of the woodman. When done, he asked for his payment. The woodman was baffled.

`I told you, I would give you nothing.’ he said.

`Yes. And that’s what I want. Nothing.’ said the other, `Give me my nothing!’

After some quarrel, the two men decided to let the kadi solve their problem. Nasreddin Hodja was on duty at the time. He listened to both men earnestly. Then he addressed the man who was expecting his payment of nothing.

`My dear fellow, could you please lift the far right corner of that rug on the floor and check what is underneath?’ The man did as he was told and looked under the rug.

`What do you see?’ asked the Hodja.

`Nothing.’ said the man.

`Well, take it and go home.’ commanded the Hodja, `That is your payment!’

Payment – Mullah Nasruddin Stories

Payment

Mullah Nasreddin

Nasreddin or Nasreddin Hodja or Molla Nasreddin Hooja was a Seljuq satirist, born in Hortu Village in Sivrihisar, Eskişehir Province, present-day Turkey and died in 13th century in Akşehir, near Konya, a capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, in today's Turkey. He is considered a populist philosopher, Sufi and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes. He appears in thousands of stories, sometimes witty, sometimes wise, but often, too, a fool or the butt of a joke. A Nasreddin story usually has a subtle humour and a pedagogic nature.

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