Nasreddin: The Scholar in the Teahouse

Nasreddin was very impressed when a great scholar began to frequent the same teahouse that Nasreddin liked to visit. "Surely we will all become wise from listening to this great scholar," Nasreddin exclaimed.

Yet things did not turn out as Nasreddin had hoped. The scholar was always talking about things that Nasreddin simply could not understand. Sometimes the great scholar would speak about history, but the things he said made no sense at all to Nasreddin. Sometimes the great scholar discussed scientific matters, and none of that made any sense to Nasreddin either. Sometimes the scholar even offered advice about daily life, yet Nasreddin was sure that the words of this scholar were utter nonsense.

One day the scholar brought a copy of his latest book with him to the teahouse. Nasreddin politely asked if he could take a look at the book. "Of course," replied the scholar, handing the book to Nasreddin. "I would be delighted to know what you think of it."

Nasreddin eagerly took the book and began to read, but he held the book upside down. He turned page after page, nodding his head vigorously up and down, smiling with delight. The scholar was indignant. "My good sir, surely you realize that you are holding the book upside down."

"Yes," said Nasreddin, "I am reading it upside down on purpose. I realized that if I never understand what you are saying, then it might make more sense if I considered your words from a different perspective."

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