On a frigid and snowy winter day Mulla Nasruddin was having a chat with some of his friends in the local coffee house. Nasruddin said that cold weather did not bother him, and in fact, he could stay, if necessary, all night without any heat.
- We'll take you up on that, Nasruddin, they said. If you stand all night in the village square without warming yourself by any external means, each of us will treat you to a sumptuous meal. But if you fail to do so, you will treat us all to dinner.
- All right it's a bet, Nasruddin said.
That very night, Nasruddin stood in the village square till morning despite the bitter cold.
In the morning, he ran triumphantly to his friends and told them that they should be ready to fulfill their promise.
- But as a matter of fact you lost the bet, Nasruddin , said one of them. At about midnight, just before I went to sleep, I saw a candle burning a window about three hundred yards away from where you were standing. That certainly means that you warmed yourself by it.
- That's ridiculous, Nasruddin said. How can a candle behind a window warm a person three hundred yards away?
All his protestations were to no avail, and it was decided that Nasruddin had lost the bet. Nasruddin accepted the verdict and invited all of them to a dinner that night at his home.
They all arrived on time, laughing and joking, anticipating the delicious meal Nasruddin was going to serve them. But dinner was not ready. Nasruddin told them that it would be ready in a short time, and left the room to prepare the meal. A long time passed, and still no dinner was served.
Finally, getting impatient and very hungry, the guests went into the kitchen to see if there was any food cooking at all. What they saw, they could not believe. Nasruddin was standing by a huge cauldron, suspended from the ceiling. There was a lighted candle under the cauldron.
- Be patient my friends, Nasruddin told them. Dinner will be ready soon. You see it is cooking.
- Are you out of your mind, Nasruddin? they shouted. How could you with such a tiny flame boil such a large pot?
- Your ignorance of such matters amuses me, Nasruddin said. If the flame of a candle behind a window three hundred yards away can warm a person, surely the same flame will boil this pot which is only three inches away.