A Cupful Of Vinegar

Word got out that Nasreddin Hodja possessed a jar full of vinegar that was forty years old. One day a neighbor came knocking on the door.

“Hodja Efendi, is it really true that you have a jar full of forty-year-old vinegar?”

“It is true,” the Hodja replied.

“Could I have a cupful of that vinegar?”

“No,” said Hodja tersely.

“But Hodja Efendi,” the displeased neighbor pursued, “why wouldn’t you give me some? I only asked for a cupful.”

“Because,” the Hodja explained, “if I were to give a cupful to everyone who asked, my vinegar wouldn’t have lasted for forty years.”