Once the Hodja had been through difficult times, and to pull himself out of the crisis had decided to economize on everything.

One of the several items on his list was the barley ration of his donkey. He cut this down by half and watched its effect on the donkey. He gladly noted that there was no visible change in the animal.

He saw no reason why he shouldn't follow the experiment on, until the poor donkey got only a handful of barley a day. Eating is just a matter of habit, the Hodja thought, my donkey will simply get rid of that habit.

One day, as ought to have been expected, the unfortunate donkey dropped dead. The Hodja was disconsolate and started complaining to anybody who was willing to listen:

"What bad luck!" he exclaimed. "Just when the poor beast had gotten used to living on practically nothing, the span of his days ran out!"

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