Every day Nasrudin went to beg for alms in the market, and people used to make fun of him by playing the following trick: they would show him two coins, one worth ten times more than the other, and Nasrudin would always choose the smaller coin.
The story went round the whole province.
Day after day, groups of men and women would show him the two coins, and Nasrudin would always choose the smaller one.
Then one day, a generous man, tired of seeing Nasrudin ridiculed in this fashion, beckoned him over to a corner of the square and said:
‘When they offer you two coins, you should choose the larger one. That way you would earn more money and people wouldn’t consider you an idiot.’
‘That sounds like good advice,’ replied Nasrudin, ‘but if I chose the larger coin, people would stop offering me money, because they like to believe that I am even more stupid than they are. You’ve no idea how much money I’ve earned using this trick.
“There’s nothing wrong with looking like a fool if, in fact, you’re being really clever.’