In olden times some learned men would travel around extensively in search of facts or ideas to support their newly-formed theories. Three such men one day arrived in Aksehir, and calling on the governor, asked him to request the most learned man of the district to be present at the market place the next day, so that they would see whether they could profit by his ideas.
As the most learned man of Aksehir Nasreddin Hoca was duly informed and the next day he was there and ready for, what proved to be, a battle of wits.
Quite a crowd had gathered for the occasion.
One the learned men stepped forward and put the following question to the Hoca:
"Could you tell us the exact location of the centre of the world?"
"Yes, I can," replied the Hoca. "It is just under the left hind of my donkey."
"Well, maybe! But do you have any proof?"
"If you doubt my word, just measure and see."
There was nothing more to be said, so the learned man withdrew.
"Let me ask you this," said the second learned man, stepping forward.
"Can you tell us how many stars there are in the heavens?"
"As many as the hairs on my donkey's mane," was the ready reply.
"What proof have you in support of this statement?"
"If you doubt my word, you can count and find out."
"Come now, Hoca Effendi!" admonished the second learned man. "How can anyone count the hairs on your donkey's mane?"
"Well, when it comes to that, how can anyone count the stars in the skies?"
This silenced the second learned man, upon whose withdrawal the third one stepped forward.
"Since you seem so well acquainted with your donkey," said he sarcastically,
"can you tell us how many hairs there are on the tail of the beast?"
"Certainly," replied the Hoca, "as many as the hairs in your beard."
"And how can you prove that?"
"Very easily, if you have no objection! I can pull one hair from your beard for each hair you can pull out of my donkey's tail. If both hairs are not exhausted at the same time, then I will admit to have been mistaken."
Needless to say the third learned man had no desire to try the experiment, and the Hoca was cheered and hailed as the champion of the day's encounter.