Tales: Consequences

It happened once upon a time that Mullah Nasruddin was going somewhere with a group of his students, and to show their teacher the proper respect, the students insisted that the Mullah should ride upon a donkey while they walked.  To their surprise, though, the Mullah got on the donkey facing the wrong way round, looking back over the tail instead of forward over the head of the donkey.

They proceeded in this fashion for some time, and of course the people around began to laugh at the strange sight.  Finally, one of the students summoned enough courage to say, “Mullah…the way you are sitting…the people are laughing…”

“Everything has a consequence,” said Nasruddin.  “You wished to show respect to your teacher.  The consequence is that I am riding, while you are walking. But if you offer so much respect, I must also show respect in return – it would be impolite to turn my back on you.  I could not ride behind you, for then you would be turning your backs upon me. Therefore I am riding before you, but turned this way. The people,” the Mullah went on, “are unaccustomed to seeing respect paid in this manner, and the consequence is that they are laughing.  And your desire to show respect was not free from pride.  Therefore the consequence is that the laughter of the people makes you uncomfortable. Only the donkey, ” concluded the Mullah, “is unaffected by how I sit.”

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