Nasiruddin’s salt-laden donkey’s load is lightened as he wades through a stream but when the panniers are laden with wool, the animal is almost drowned because the wool soaks up water. “There”, says Nasiruddin triumphantly, ‘’that will teach you to think that you gain something every time you go through water!” In the original story, two technical terms are used. Salt – the word used in Arabic is ‘milh’, which is the homonym for wisdom and for being good. The donkey is the symbol of man. By shedding his burden of general goodness, the individual feels better and loses weight. The result is he loses his food because Nasiruddin no longer has the salt to sell in order to buy things including fodder. The word ‘wool’ is another word for ‘Sufi’. On the second trip, the donkey has an increased burden because of the intention of his teacher, Nasiruddin! The weight increases during the foray through the river and Nasiruddin sells the damp wool for a higher price than dry wool.
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