Nasreddin and the Stars
Nasreddin was very smart. Desiring to test his subject, one day the Sultan called him and with an offer. “I’ll give you 100 denars”, he said “if you will endure the cold of the entire night on the minaret wearing nothing but your jellabiya”.
Nasreddin did as he was told and spent a freezing night under the desert sky wearing nothing but this light garment. In the morning he presented himself to the Sultan and asked him to keep his promise: “Oh Sultan I did as you requested and spent last night on the minaret honouring your terms”. The Sultan replied: “Very well, but first, I want to know how you felt”.
Nasreddin said: “It was very cold because of the biting wind. But the night was bright and the stars lit up the surroundings…”
“You scoundrel!” the Sultan cried before he could finish his sentence. “You warmed yourself with the light of the stars! You deserve nothing!”
Nasreddin gave no answer and left, but he was already planning his comeback.
A few days later Nasreddin invited the Sultan and his courtiers to his home. He seated them at the table and served them nothing. After waiting a few hours, the Sultan asked angrily, “Nasreddin, didn’t you prepare anything to eat?”. Nasreddin, seemingly innocent, replied, “I apologise, the pot is not hot yet. You can see for yourself.”
The Sultan stood up and saw the pot filled with the couscous hanging on a rope from the ceiling, far from the fire. A brazier was on the floor, in a corner, and Nasreddin was blowing on it. “Why are you blowing on the brazier?” the Sultan asked.
“So the heat gets to the pot faster”, Nasreddin replied.
“Are you stupid?” the Sultan rebutted, “How can the heat reach it when the pot is so far away?!”
Nasreddin then answered in perfect sincerity “If I managed to warm myself up with the distant light of the stars the other night, surely I can cook couscous with the heat of this brazier, since it is so much closer!”
Knowing he had been caught and having learned his lesson the Sultan gave Nasreddin 200 pieces of silver to reward him for his wit.