How to get a bargain (but is Nasruddin an ass?)

I am a magnificent beast of burden.

Nasruddin (or Nasreddin) is a Muslim trickster character, a wise fool who spouts nonsensical wisdom with his stories. Here's one of his tales from the collection in Ron J. Suresha's book:
Nasruddin was fed up with Karakacan, his ill-tempered donkey, and decided to sell the beast at the market. So the next Wednesday, he took her to the donkey bazaar.

Nasruddin found Musa, the livestock auctioneer, and handed over the donkey, then stood around and looked at some other donkeys. Then he spoke with some of the donkey traders about their animals. When Nasruddin’s donkey was led up to the stand, Nasruddin was left standing in the back and couldn’t see over the heads of the men in front.

The auctioneer shouted grandly, “And here’s a magnificent beast of burden! It’s a superb, unequalled, fabulous donkey. Who will start the bidding at five gold pieces?”

“Just five, huh,” thought Nasruddin, and as the auctioneer sang the praises of the donkey, he was impressed and raised his hand to start the bidding. Immediately a shill of the auctioneer pretending to be a farmer bid eight gold pieces, and as the auctioneer exaggerated at great length the donkey’s many fine qualities, a short bidding tussle began, finally going to Nasruddin.

Nasruddin’s new donkey would cost him twenty gold pieces, far more than the worth of his old one.

So Nasruddin as the buyer paid the auctioneer twenty, and the auctioneer handed over the tether to the donkey, took his one-third commission, counted out thirteen gold pieces back to Nasruddin as the seller, thanked him for his business, praised him as a upright businessman, and left.

Nasruddin beamed with pride as he returned from the bazaar with his new prize, a donkey of the highest quality. He had to keep tugging the donkey, who, as stubborn as ever, resisted being led back. Nasruddin didn’t mind at all. He could think only of all the fine words the auctioneer used to describe the animal.

All the way home, proudly dragging his donkey behind him, Nasruddin thought, I never miss a bargain.

When Nasruddin’s wife, Fatima, saw her husband dragging his old donkey back to the stable, she seemed surprisingly cheerful.

As it turned out, she had great news of her own. She informed him enthusiastically, “I caught the yogurt-seller as he was passing by, and asked him for two pounds. While he was looking the other way, I slipped my gold bracelet onto the weight-side of the scale, so he didn’t realize that he was giving me a lot more yogurt for the money.”

Nasruddin embraced Fatima and said, “My dear, keep up the wonderful work. With you working inside and me working on the outside, eventually we’re going to make something of this family of ours.”
An excerpt from: The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, Jests, and Donkey Tales of the Beloved Persian Folk Hero by Ron J. Suresha, Amazon>>
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