One day Nasreddin Hodja was called before Timur. Since Timur was famous for his barbarity, the Hodja, even though he was called to his presence often, feared him as much as the rest of the villagers. Nasreddin Hodja usually brought a gift to Timur in hopes of inspiring some good humour in him. This time, he decided to take him beets. As he was on his way with his basket full of beets in his arm, he ran into a friend.
`Where to, Hodja Effendi?’
`Timur called for me. I am taking him beets.’
`Hodja Effendi, beets don’t make a good gift.’ advised the friend, `you’d be better off if you took him figs.’ Nasreddin Hodja took the counsel, went home and re-filled his basket with figs. Sadly, the Hodja had no idea that the dreaded ruler hated figs. When he offered his basket of figs to him, Timur ordered his men to throw the figs at Hodja’s head. As the men showered the Hodja with one fig after another, the Hodja didn’t seem to be distressed at all. He was laughing and praising Allah.
`What are you laughing at?’, Timur roared, `Are you making fun of me? What are you being so thankful for?’
`Great Timur,’ answered the Hodja, `I am giving my gratitude to Allah for making me listen to the recommendation of my good friend. What would happen to me now, had I not listened to that good man and brought you beets instead of figs? You were going to break my head with them!’
Gift for Timur – Mullah Nasruddin Stories