It happened once upon a time that Mullah Nasruddin and his wife were walking through the mountains on a very cold day. Because their clothing was very thin – better suited to a warm summer day than to winter – the mountain wind was making their teeth rattle and their bones ache.
“Nasruddin,” said his wife, ” we need better clothing.”
Nasruddin, knowing that they had no money, said piously, “We are rich in our poverty.”
And his wife replied, “So you say, husband. But I would prefer to be a little poorer and a little warmer.”
Then, as they went, they saw what looked like a discarded fur coat lying under a bush. “Nasruddin, go and get it!” commanded his wife. “It’s probably in tatters – why else would someone throw it away? But, God willing, it might give us enough warmth to keep us alive in this wind.”
The Mullah accordingly went and took hold of the coat, but to his surprise, it turned out to be not a coat but a bear. Before he knew it, with a fierce growl, the bear had also grabbed Nasruddin.
His wife, alarmed when she saw what was happening, called, “Leave it, Nasruddin, leave it!”
“I assure you I have left it,” Nasruddin shouted in answer. “The problem is, the bear has not left me!”