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A foreign scholar and his entourage were passing through Aksehir. The scholar asked to speak with the town’s most knowledgeable person. Of course the townsfolk immediately called Nasreddin Hodja. The foreign savant didn’t speak Turkish and our Hodja didn’t speak any foreign languages, so the two wise men had to communicate with signs, while the others looked on with fascination.

The foreigner, using a stick, drew a large circle on the sand. Nasreddin Hodja took the stick and divided the circle into two. This time the foreigner drew a line perpendicular to the one Hodja drew and the circle was now split into four. He motioned to indicate first the three quarters of the circle, then the remaining quarter. To this, the Hodja made a swirling motion with the stick on the four quarters. Then the foreigner made a bowl shape with two hands side by side, palms up, and wiggled his fingers. Nasreddin Hodja responded by cupping his hands palms down and wiggling his fingers.

When the meeting was over, the members of the foreign scientist’s entourage asked him what they have talked about.

`Nasreddin Hodja is really a learned man.’ he said. `I told him that the earth was round and he told me that there was equator in the middle of it. I told him that the three quarters of the earth was water and one quarter of it was land. He said that there were undercurrents and winds. I told him that the waters warm up, vaporize and move towards the sky, to that he said that they cool off and come down as rain.’

The people of Aksehir were also curious about how the encounter went. They gathered around the Hodja.

`This stranger has good taste,’ the Hodja started to explain. `He said that he wished there was a large tray of baklava. I said that he could only have half of it. He said that the syrup should be made with three parts sugar and one part honey. I agreed, and said that they all had to mix well. Next he suggested that we should cook it on blazing fire. And I added that we should pour crushed nuts on top of it.’

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