Tales : The Scholarly Coachman

It happened once upon a time that Mullah Nasruddin got a job as a coachman for a wealthy businessman. Don’t be surprised! The mullah has done many kinds of work during his long and eventful life.

One day, his employer ordered him to drive him to a house in a disreputable part of town. When they arrived, the businessman told Nasruddin to be alert while he waited. “This neighbourhood is full of thieves,” he said.

After a time, the businessman thought he should check on his coachman, so he opened a window and called, “Hey, driver, are you sleeping? What are you doing down there?”

“Not sleeping at all, your excellency,” Nasruddin replied. “I am wondering what happens to a man’s lap when he stands up.”

“That’s good,” said his employer. “Just be alert.”

A little later, the employer thought of checking again. He opened the window and called to Nasruddin, “Coachman, are you awake? What are you doing now?”

“Excellency,” Nasruddin replied, “I am wondering where a man’s fist goes when he unclenches his fingers.”

“Fine,” said the businessman, and commented to his hosts, “This coachman of mine is a real scholar! He is thinking about really deep problems.”

A little later the employer once more looked out the window, and called, “Coachman! Are you awake? What are you doing now?”

“Wide awake, your excellency,” Nasruddin called back, “and I am wondering who stole the horses.”

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