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Haroun Asks Bahlool Another Question

One day Bahlool arrived in Haroun's court and sat in a seat equal to him during the assembly. Haroun was surprised at Bahlool's behavior, so he wanted to embarrass him. He said, “Is Bahlool ready to give an answer to my question?”

“If you don't go back upon your promise, like you did last time; I agree.”

“If you immediately answer my problem, I will give you 1,000 Dinars; if you can not answer I will give the order to shave your beard and mustache and to make you ride on a donkey through Baghdad's alleys and streets with disgrace and dishonor.”

“I have no need of Dinars, but on one condition I will agree to answer your question.”

“What is the condition?”

“If I give the answer to your problem, I want you to give the order that insects should not bother me.”

Haroun bowed his head for a moment and said, “This is impossible. Insects are not my subjects.”

“Then what does that worried person hope for if he can't even compete with or control insects.”

The people of the court became astonished at Bahlool's boldness and intelligence.

Haroun's expression changed at Bahlool's answers. Bahlool understood that Haroun was planning revenge, so, to please him, he said, “Now I agree to answer your question without any condition.”

“Which tree is it that has an age of one year, twelve branches, and on each branch there are thirty leaves, one direction facing light while the other faces toward darkness?”

Bahlool immediately replied, “This tree represents the year, the month, and day and night because there are twelve months in a year and thirty days in a month, which are half day and half night.”

“Wow! A very correct answer!” Haroun said.

All those present praised Bahlool.

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