Nasrudin the smuggler was leading a donkey that had bundles of straw on its back. An experienced border inspector spotted Nasrudin coming to his border.
“Halt,” the inspector said. “What is your business here?”
“I am an honest smuggler!” replied Nasrudin.
“Oh, really?” said the inspector. “Well, let me search those straw bundles. If I find something in them, you are required to pay a border fee!”
“Do as you wish,” Nasrudin replied, “but you will not find anything in those bundles.”
The inspector intensively searched and took apart the bundles, but could not find a single thing in them. He turned to Nasrudin and said, “I suppose you have managed to get one by me today. You may pass the border.”
Nasrudin crossed the border with his donkey while the annoyed inspector looked on. And then the very next day, Nasrudin once again came to the border with a straw-carrying donkey. The inspector saw Nasrudin coming and thought, “I’ll get him for sure this time.”
He checked the bundles of straw again, and then searched through the Nasrudin’s clothing, and even went through the donkey’s harness. But once again he came up empty handed and had to let Nasrudin pass.
This same pattern continued every day for several years, and every day Nasrudin wore more and more extravagant clothing and jewelry that indicated he was getting wealthier. Eventually, the inspector retired from his longtime job, but even in retirement he still wondered about the man with the straw-carrying donkey.
“I should have checked that donkey’s mouth more thoroughly,” he thought to himself. “Or maybe he hid something in the donkey’s rear end.”
Then one day he spotted Nasrudin’s face in a crowd. “Hey,” the inspector said, “I know you! You are that man who came to my border everyday for all those years with a donkey carrying straw. Please, sir, I must talk to you.”
Nasrudin came towards him and the inspector continued talking. “My friend, I always wondered what you were smuggling past my border everyday. Just between you and me, you must tell me. I must know. What in the world were you smuggling for all those years? I must know!”
Nasrudin simply replied, “Donkeys.”