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Giving money to beggars
Mulla Nasruddin, folktales, wisdom
Friday, October 08, 2004 01:39 GMT

As Mulla Nasruddin emerged from the mosque after prayers, a beggar sitting in the street solicited alms. The following conversation ensued:

MULLA: Are you extravagant?
BEGGAR: Yes, Mulla.
MULLA: Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking?
BEGGAR: Yes.
MULLA: I suppose you like to go to the baths every day?
BEGGAR: Yes.
MULLA: And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with your friends?
BEGGAR: Yes, I like all those things.

"Tut, tut," said the Mulla, and gave him a gold piece.

A few yards further on, another beggar who had overheard this conversation begged for alms importunately.

MULLA: Are you extravagant?
BEGGAR: No, Mulla.
MULLA: Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking?
BEGGAR: No.
MULLA: I suppose you like to go to the baths every day?
BEGGAR: No.
MULLA: And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with your friends?
BEGGAR: No, I want only to live meagrely and to pray.

Whereupon the Mulla gave him a small copper coin.

"But why," wailed the beggar, "do you give me, an economical and pious man, a small copper coin, when you gave that extravagant fellow a gold piece?"

"Ah," replied the Mulla, "his needs are greater than yours."