Refutation of the Philosophers
A number of philosophers had banded themselves together and
were traveling from one country to another engaging local sages
in learned disputation. When they arrived in Nasrudin’s town, the
local Governor sent for the Mulla to confront them, for all the
intellectuals whom he had produced were regularly routed by these
Mulla Nasrudin presented himself. ‘You had better first speak to
those who have faced the philosophers,’ the Governor told him, ‘so
that you can get some idea of their methods.’
‘Not at all,’ said the Mulla, ‘the less I know about their methods of
thought the better, for I do not think like them, nor will I become
imprisoned by their artificialities.’
The contest was staged in a large hall, before an enormous gathering
from far and near.
The first philosopher stepped forward to start the disputation.
“What,’ he asked the Mulla, ‘is the center of the earth?’
The Mulla pointed with his pen, ‘The exact center of the Earth is
the center of the spot upon which my donkey, yonder, has his foot.’
‘How can you prove it?’
‘On the contrary, you disprove it. Get a measuring tape!’
The second philosopher asked: ‘How many stars are there in the sky?’
Nasrudin immediately replied: ‘Exactly the same number as there
are hairs in the coat of my donkey. Anyone who disbelieves this is
at liberty to count both.’
The third philosopher said: ‘How many avenues of human perception
‘Not at all difficult,’ said Nasrudin, ‘There are exactly as many as there
are hairs in your beard, and I will demonstrate them if you like, one by
one, as I pluck those hairs for you.’
‘They are also,’ he continued, ‘equal to the number of hairs in the tail
of my donkey.
The philosophers consulted together, realized that their theoretical
speculations were incapable of logical or quantitative proof. With one
accord, they enrolled themselves as disciples of Nasrudin.