From his childhood, Nasrudin was known as ‘contrary’.
His family had become so used to this habit of his that
they always told him to do the opposite of what they want-
ed him to do.
On his fourteenth birthday, Nasrudin and his father were
taking a donkey-load of flour to market. As dawn broke
they were crossing a rickety rope-bridge, and the load began
‘Quick, Nasrudin,’ his father shouted, ‘heave up the load on
the left, otherwise the flour will be lost.’
Nasrudin immediately raised the left-hand sack on the
donkey. The whole lot of flour was unbalanced as a result, and
fell into the torrent below.
‘Ridiculous fool!’ said his father. ‘Don’t you always go by
contraries? Did I not specify the left-hand load, meaning the
‘Yes, Father. But I am now fourteen years old. As from dawn
today, I am considered to be a rational adult, and therefore I am
complying with your orders.’