The venerable sage Mullah Nasrudin was once condemned to death for certain witty and satirical sayings that disturbed the local Shah. Nasrudin immediately offered a bargain: “Postpone the execution one year,” he implored the Shah, “and I will teach your horse to fly.” Intrigued by this, the Shah agreed.
One day thereafter, a friend asked Nasrudin if he really expected to escape death by this maneuver.
“Why not?” answered the divine Mullah. “A lot can happen in a year. There might be a revolution and a new government. There might be a foreign invasion and we’ll all be living under a new Shah. Then again, the present Shah might die of natural causes, or somebody in the palace might poison him. As you know, it is traditional for a new Shah to pardon all condemned criminals awaiting execution when he takes the throne. Besides that, during the year my captors will have many opportunities for carelessness and I will always be looking for an opportunity to escape.”
“And, finally,” Nasrudin concluded, “if the worst comes to the worst, maybe I can teach the damned horse to fly!”