‘I will instruct you in metaphysics,’ said Nasrudin to a neighbour in whom he saw a spark of understanding, albeit a small one.

‘I should be delighted,’ said the man; ‘come to my house any time and talk to me.’

Nasrudin realized that the man was thinking that mystical knowledge could be transmitted entirely by word of mouth. He said no more.

A few days later the neighbour called the Mulla from his roof. ‘Nasrudin, I want your help to blow my fire, the charcoal is going out.’

‘Certainly,’ said Nasrudin. ‘My breath is at your disposal—come over here and you can have as much of it as you can carry away.’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press