Holding a mirror to the State

The King’s wise men were summoned to Court to cross examine Nasrudin. This was a very grave case. The Mullah had admitted going around the country exclaiming “The Court’s “wise men” are ignorant, indecisive and confused.” He was charged with undermining state security under new legislation designed to protect the state against foreigners planning terror.

Speak first, said the King to Nasrudin “Bring me pens and paper,” said the Mullah The pens and paper were brought. Give them to each of the first seven wise men. They were handed out. “Have them each separately write an answer to this question: “What is bread?” This was done.

The papers were given to the King who read them out loud. The first said, “Bread is a food.” The second said, “Bread is flour and water.” The third said, “Bread is a gift from God.” The fourth said “Bread is baked dough” The fifth said, “That depends on what you mean by “bread”.” The sixth said, “Bread is a nutritious substance.” The seventh said “No-one really knows.”

“Once they are able to decide what bread is,” said the Mullah, “then they can decide on other things, for example whether I am right or I am wrong. Can you entrust serious matters of judgement to men such as these? Is it not strange that they cannot agree on something that we eat every day, yet they are unanimous that I am a terrorist?”

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