Nasreddin Hodja has never been free of financial difficulties and from time to time had been forced to purchase on credit from the village grocer. Lately he had been unable to pay anything on account.

The grocer, a very miserly man, lost no opportunity to bring the Hodja to shame for the outstanding debt. One such time the Hodja thought to give this man a lesson in simple arithmetic.

"Look here, my man!" he said. "How much do I owe you altogether?"

"You know very well that the amount is eighty-three bits!"

"All right!" said the Hodja. "If I paid you twenty bits this month and thirty each for the next two months, what would that leave?"

"Three, of course," replied the grocer.

"Well, aren't you ashamed of yourself? Pestering me for three measly bits!"

And the Hodja stamped out of the shop, leaving behind him a very much confused grocer.

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