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Two Questions (retold by Nasruddin)

It came to be that I was a mulla. This was when I was much younger. Now a mulla is an interesting job. A mulla is a teacher, a preacher, and a judge. I studied the Q'uran, and became quite familiar with the Sharia, the traditional Islamic laws, and began my time as a mulla in a little village in a far corner of the country.

Now a mulla is considered a wise man, and for some reason, the villagers considered me one. They would ask me questions concerning aspects of their lives in which I was not expert at all.

"Oh, Mulla Nasruddin, please tell me what I should do about my daughter!"

"I'm sorry, sister, but you must work that out for yourself. I don't have a daughter, so I cannot tell you anything useful."

"Mulla Nasruddin! My business is in terrible trouble! What should I do?"

"Brother,you see I don't have a business, so I cannot tell you anything useful."

"But you are such a wise man, Mulla Nasruddin! Please help me, please!"

"All right, here's what you should do..."

"Yes? Yes?" the man asked eagerly.

"Pray to Allah for wisdom."

He was not so happy with this answer. I think he had already tried that and found that Allah no matter how much wisdom Allah provided, he would not be able to do much with it himself.

Finally the situation got completely out of hand. People began to pester me with questions night and day. I was sleeping in the starlight on my roof, and a pebble hit me on the forehead. On reflection, it was more of a stone than a pebble. I feared it might have done permanent damage. I looked over the edge, and there in the street was a man looking up. "Mulla Nasruddin, are you asleep?"

"I find it hard to sleep when stones are falling from Heaven," I said.

"It was only a little pebble, Mulla, besides, I have a question."

"Brother, it is the middle of the night!"

"My question is very important, or I would not have disturbed you. Please come down and we can discuss it."

"Just give me the gist of it, and I'll ponder it on my way down."

"I need to know, Mulla Nasruddin, should I tell a prospective buyer that my donkey is sick?"

"I don't need to come down for that one. Of course you should! Honesty is required of you. And as it is also required of me, I tell you honestly that question could have waited till morning; go home!"

So it was, day and night, I couldn't even brush my teeth without being interrupted with questions. I brandished my miswak, my tooth-brushing twig, but somehow no one was frightened.

Finally I hit upon a solution. Beside my door I put a sign that said in large letters, "Two questions for $100."

Peace at last! Days went by with no questions; it was lovely. But finally a rich man came to my door with a bag of gold hanging from his belt.

"Nasruddin!" he called out. I came to the door. "May I help you?"

"You are fortunate today," he said. "I have plenty of money."

"You are the fortunate one,"I replied.

"I can afford your two questions," he said, and raised one eyebrow. I have always wished I could do that.

"So we are both fortunate," I said .

"Indeed," the man said. "But, don't you think one hundred dollars is a little expensive for just two questions?"

"Yes it is," I replied. "And what is your second question?"

Two Questions, Part II

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