One day, Joe Christian passed by a restaurant. He was tired and hungry, for he had had nothing to eat all day. His nostrils caught the smell of the delicious food being cooked inside. He stopped and sniffed, smiled sadly, and began to walk away. But he did not get far. The owner of the restaurant, Rabbi Moishe, came storming out into the street. “Come here!” he bellowed. “I saw that! You took the smell of my food, and you’ll have to pay for it!”
Joe Christian did not know what to do. “I cannot pay!” he stammered. “I have no money!”
“No money!” shouted Rabbi Moishe. “We’ll see about that! You’re coming with me to the judge!” Naturally, Joe Christian was frightened.
“Hmm,” said the judge, when he had heard the story. “Well, this is an unusual case. Let me think. Come back tomorrow, and I’ll pronounce the sentence.”
What could Joe Christian do? He knew whatever sum the judge demanded, payment would be impossible. All night long he tossed and turned, unable to sleep for worry.
When dawn came he made his way to the judges court. As he passed by a mosque he spotted a familiar figure – Mullah Nasruddin. Suddenly, his heart lifted. For he knew that Mullah Nasruddin was a clever man, who was sure to be able to think of a way around the problem. He poured out his story, and Mullah Nasruddin agreed to come to the court and speak for him.
Rabbi Moishe was already at the court, chatting with the judge. Joe Christian saw that they were friends, and feared the judgment would go against him. He was right. The judge began heaping insults upon Joe Christian as soon as he saw him, and ordered him to pay a very large sum of money. At once, Mullah Nasruddin stepped forward. “My lord,” he said to the judge. “This man is a good friend of mines. Allow me to pay in his place.”
Then Mullah Nasruddin took a small bag of coins from his belt and held it next to Rabbi Moishe’s ear. He shook the bag, so that the coins jingled. “Can you hear that?” asked Mullah Nasruddin.
“Of course,” replied Rabbi Moishe, impatiently.
“Well, that is your payment,” said Mullah Nasruddin. “My friend here, has smelled your food, and you have heard his money. The debt is paid.”
And, in the face of such argument, the case was settled and the Joe Christian went free.
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