One day the Hodja was with Tamerlane, and a soldier who had been caught drunk was brought to the Emperor in chains.

Tamerlane, for reasons of discipline, had forbidden all alcohol to his soldiers. But he wanted everybody to believe that he was acting for motives of religion. Anyway, he made it a point of inflicting severe punishment on any soldier caught drunk.

"Give him 300 strokes of the whip!" Tamerlane ordered his guards.

All the time he was watching the Hodja's reaction to this punishment of a culprit who had not heeded the teachings of the Prophet. To his astonishment, he noticed that the Hodja was smiling. Apparently, he thought, this man of religion didn't find the punishment severe enough.

"Make it 500 strokes!" shouted Tamerlane.

This time the Hodja was actually laughing! This could not be tolerated. Turning on the Hodja, the Emperor raged:

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself? I am trying to administer justice and there you are making the whole thing seem ridiculous by your behavior!"

"Please forgive me, your Majesty," the Hodja apologized, still shaking with laughter. "But the whole thing is ridiculous, really. Either your Majesty doesn't know how to count, or else has never tasted the whip!"

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