One day, young Nasruddin’s buddies decided they would try to nab his pointy slippers. They waited around a tall cypress tree until Nasruddin walked along, then two of the boys, Hussein and Faruk, started to pretend they were having a loud argument.
“Nobody could climb that tree. It’s way too tall. No way!” yelled Hussein.
“Of course somebody could climb it,” argued Faruk. “Nasruddin, please tell this dunce that this tree is not too tall for someone to climb.”
“I doubt that anyone could climb this tree,” said Hussein, “certainly not even Nasruddin.”
“Of course he can climb it!” retorted Faruk. “He can do nearly anything! Couldn’t you climb it, Nasruddin? I bet if anyone could get up to the top of the tree, it is you.”
Nasruddin bowed slightly and replied modestly, “I can climb it, no doubt.”
“Let’s see you do it, then,” said Faruk.
“I’ll hold your slippers for you while you go up,” said Hussein, perhaps a little too eagerly.
“Well, all right then.” Nasruddin stood back and assessed the tree, and the group of boys, and then the tree again. He rolled up his sleeves, took off his slippers and tucked them into his belt, then spit into his palms as he prepared to scale the tree.
“Wait, wait, Nasruddin!” said Faruk. “You won’t need your shoes in a tree.”
“Yes, leave them here on the ground with us for safekeeping,” chimed in Hussein.
With a gasp and a grunt, Nasruddin heaved himself upward. “You never know — there might be a road at the top of this tree.” he called out as he climbed, “Be prepared, I always say.”