Once Nasreddin Hodja was appointed Magistrate to the court in Akshehir. One day a man came running into the court and addressed the Hodja:

"Supposing two cows had a fight in the pasture and one of them got killed, Hodja Effendi. Would the owner of the killer be held responsible?"

The Hodja, having noticed the man's shifty eyes, was on his guard.

"It depends," he said non-committally.

"It may help you to decide, Hodja Effendi. Your cow has killed mine."

"Well, now, as is common knowledge, cows are animals," said the Hodja. "Since animals are not endowed with reason, they are certainly irresponsible. It follows, therefore, that the owner of the irresponsible animal cannot himself be held responsible!"

"I am sorry, Hodja Effendi, my tongue slipped just now. What I meant to say was that it is my cow that has killed yours!"

Upon hearing this bit of news, Nasreddin Hodja's blood shot up to his head. He scratched his beard, got up, sat down again, and said:

"This case is more complicated than I thought at first," he said. Turning to his secretary with all the dignity of his office, he added, "Pass me that book with the black covers from the shelf behind you!"

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