Hair by Hair

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A very knowledgeable scholar was coming into town for a debate. Scared of facing him, all the scholars of the court had left town giving one excuse or another. The King was very worried. He didn’t want to lose face. So, he sent a messenger to Harinder.

“Oh, is that so? Let me meet this scholar,” said the Harinder hopping onto his donkey. At the city square, the Harinder met the scholar, followed by his retinue of disciples, making his way to the King’s palace.

“No outsider can meet the scholars of our city unless he defeats a common man in debate,” declared the Harinder to the scholar.

“You can put your questions to me. I’m a common man.”

“Very well,” said the arrogant scholar. “Where is the centre of the Earth?” “Down here,” said the Harinder immediately. “If you don’t believe me you can measure the earth yourself.”

“How many stars are there in the sky?” the scholar asked next.

“There are as many stars as there are hairs on my donkey. You may count for yourself,” replied the Harinder. “And how many hairs do I have in my beard?” asked the scholar sarcastically.

“As many hairs as there are in my donkey’s tail,” was the answer.
“Prove it,” said the scholar haughtily. “Very well,” said the Harinder. “Now you pull a hair from my donkey’s tail and I’ll pull a hair from your beard. Let’s go on like this. By the time your chin is bare, my donkey’s tail will also be hairless. Shall we start?” and the Harinder leaned forward to grasp the scholar’s beard. But before he could, the scholar turned around and walked away fast right out of the town.

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