There is a game called ‘I remember’, which has been the cause of
greater suffering than almost anything else. It illustrates how difficult
it is to remember even a simple thing for any length of time.
Two people make a pact to practice ‘I remember’. Thence-forward,
every time one of them hands anything to the other, the recipient must
say ‘I remember!’ when he accepts the object.
The first person to forget to say this phrase under these circumstances
loses the game and pays a forfeit.
Nasrudin had an ‘I remember’ duel with his wife. The honors were
even, and they almost lost their reason, passing objects back and forth,
until neither could stand the pace much longer. The Mulla devised a plan.
He went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
When he came back several months later armed with a gift to hand to
his wife, finally to win the game in the excitement of the reunion, she
met him at the gate.
In her arms was a bundle. ‘I am not going to take it,’ said the Mulla
to himself. But, as soon as he was within a few paces of her, she said:
‘Here is your new son.’
The Mulla, overcome with joy, took the child into his arms - and
forgot to say: ‘I remember.’