Ox atop a Pole

Once, Mullah Nasruddin traveled to Konya to borrow money from Jalal, his friend who lived there. Jalal, who knew that Nasruddin and his money were soon parted, put the cash into a purse for safekeeping and instructed the Mullah to be extra cautious on the trip home.

All the way back, Nasruddin felt fearful and paranoid, constantly looking over his shoulder. Like most folks, Nasruddin worried about money a lot when he had none, and he worried about it even more when he had some. “I must find a safe place to leave this money,” he resolved.

But by the time Nasruddin crossed the town square on his way home, he had not come up with a secure place to stash his cash. As he neared the far edge of the square, he noticed a flagpole and thought, “Here’s a obviously safe place — nobody would ever think to look up there for my money.” So he shimmied up the pole, left the purse dangling from the top, climbed down, and went home to recover from his journey, knowing his loan was secure.

As soon as Nasruddin left the square, some street urchins who had been watching the whole scene ran to the pole. One climbed up, replaced the cash with an ox turd, and set the purse back atop the pole exactly as Nasruddin left it there.

The next day when Nasruddin came with Fatima to get the money, he climbed up, retrieved the purse, and brought it down to the ground. When he opened the purse, the turd fell out.

Nasruddin and Fatima stood there, astounded. Finally Nasruddin exclaimed, “How in the Prophet’s name did an ox get way up to the top of that pole?

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