It happened once upon a time that Mullah Nasruddin was up on his roof, trying to mend it, when someone called him from below. Looking down, he saw a man standing in from of his house.
“What do you want?” Nasruddin asked.
“Mullah,” the man replied, “please come down and I will tell you.”
Nasruddin put his tools down, climbed down the ladder and came around to the front of the house. “What is it?” he asked.
“Mullah,” the man said obsequiously, “I am in a terrible fix – we have no food, the children are hungry. Can you lend me a little money?”
“Come up on the roof,” Nasruddin replied.
The two men went around the house, climbed the ladder and clambered up onto the roof. Then Nasruddin said, “I can’t. I don’t have anything myself.”
The man looked at Nasruddin, very perplexed. “But Mullah,” he said, “why did you bring me up onto the roof to tell me that?”
“Why did you bring me down off the roof,” Nasruddin said, “to ask me?”