NOW YOU CAN AFFORD TO LAUGH
One day the Hodja sat at his window and amused himself watching the people go by, when he saw an old creditor of his approaching the house. This was a nuisance. He called to his wife "
"My dear!" he called. "Please go to the door and meet that persistent creditor of ours. Don't let him start talking. Just tell him some story and send him away."
Before the creditor had a chance to knock, the door was opened from within and the Hodja's wife began immediately:
"How nice of you to call," she said. "My husband is sure to pay you our debt. Just now, however, he's gone to buy some thorn seeds."
"Thorn seeds!" exclaimed the creditor. "There must be some mistake. He doesn't owe me any thorn seeds!"
"I know. He doesn't mean to give the thorn seeds to you" said the Hodja's wife.
"What is going to do with them, then?"
"We are going to sow them in the street, along our wall."
"Is that so! What will happen then?" asked the creditor.
"Well, the seeds will flourish and we shall have plenty of thorns."
"Yes, no doubt you will! Well?"
"The rest is easy," said the Hodja's wife. "Many flocks of sheep pass along this street. There's no doubt that, in passing, they will leave some of their wool on the thorns. I will collect the wool and spin it into thread. All the Hodja will have to do will be to sell the thread on the market and pay you with the proceeds!"
The man could suppress his laughter no longer at this ridiculous plan. The Hodja had been listening in all this time. When he heard the man laugh, he put his head out of the window and said:
"Now that you have heard the jingle of the ready cash, you can afford to laugh, can't you, you rascal!"