Once upon a time there was a young man named Hasanak. He liked walking from city to city, from village to village. One day Hasanak came to a city. The people were very poor there. Many of them were starving. Many of the houses were empty.
Hasanak went into the mountains and gathered brushwood there. When he came back he sold the wood. Then he went into the mountains again, brought more wood, and sold it. Hasanak went into the mountains for the third time. When he sold the last bundle of sticks and counted the money, he saw that he could buy meat, rice, and carrots. He went to the market and bought everything he needed to make pilaf. After that Hasanak went to an empty house and started cooking supper.
The ruler of this city liked walking along streets of the city in the clothes of a poor man. He wanted to hear with his own ears what people said about him. That evening he went for a walk as well. He saw thaj^many houses in the city were empty and decayed. It was then that the ruler saw smoke rising from the yard of a deserted house. He came nearer and smelled the aroma of pilaf. The ruler entered the yard and saw a young man inside.
« О young man!» said the ruler. «I am a traveler and do not now where I may spend the night. Will you let me stay at your shack?»
« Come in! Be my guest!» replied the young man. He made the ruler sit down at the sufa in the yard, put the dish with pilaf in front of him, and sat down opposite his guest.
When they had eaten, the ruler asked, «The people are starving in the city. They don't have even bread, and you cooked such a tasty pilaf. Where did you get money to buy everything for pilaf?»
« Oh, sir!» exclaimed the young man. «When you eat grapes don't ask where these are from!»
Hasanak took away the empty dish, got his dutar, and began to sing. The ruler looked at him and thought, «Who is this merry young man? He does not look like a craftsman or a salesman. He is probably a thief or a robber. If it is true, I will order him thrown into prison.» The ruler started asking Hasanak questions. Hasanak laughed out loud again, «Oh, sir! You want to know who I am? Well, I am neither a craftsman nor a salesman. I am not a thief and not a robber either. I am just a man. I am an industrious man. I was gathering brushwood in the mountains all day long. Then I sold it and bought meat, rice, carrots, and onions.»
The ruler did not believe Hasanak. Next day he dressed himself in ragged clothes and went to the wood market. When he came, he saw Hasanak selling the firewood.
Then the ruler made up his mind to prohibit the selling of firewood in the city. Heralds ran around the city crying out, «Our ruler prohibits the selling of firewood in the city! Anyone who violates the prohibition will be thrown into prison!»
In the evening the ruler put on his ragged clothes again and went for a walk. He saw smoke rising from the same house where Hasanak lived, and smelled the aroma of pilaf again.
Hasanak invited the traveler into his house and shared his supper with him. When they had eaten, the ruler asked Hasanak, «O young man! I heard that the ruler of the city prohibited the selling of firewood. I thought that tonight you would go to bed hungry.»
« Let a curse fall upon the head of such a ruler!» exclaimed Hasanak. «I haven't heard such silly orders in any other country or city. They sell firewood everywhere! The ruler prohibited the selling of wood, but I went into the mountains and gathered grass there and sold it. This way I earned my supper.»
« What if tomorrow the ruler prohibits the selling of grass? What will you do then?»
« I will make besoms — brooms from sticks — and sell them.»
« What will you do if the ruler prohibits selling besoms?»
« I will think of something else!» said Hasanak cheerfully and took his dutar in his hands and began to sing songs.
The ruler got angry and said to himself, «I will teach this self-confident young man a good lesson!»
The next day the ruler sent his servants to Hasanak's house and ordered them, «Take the man who lives in this house, bring him to the palace, and give him a sword. Let him stand at attention all day long at the palace gates.»
The servants fulfilled the ruler's order. Hasanak stood at attention with a sword in his hands all day long.
In the evening the ruler put on ragged clothes again and went to the outskirts of the city to the house where Hasanak stayed. Hasanak was inside cooking pilaf again.
He invited the traveler to share his supper. The pilaf was tastier than ever.
« How did you earn money for pilaf today?» asked the ruler.
« This morning the ruler's servants seized me, took me to the gates of his palace, and put a sword into my hands. After I was given the sword, I was ordered to stand motionless on guard. When servants left, I took a piece of wood lying close to me and carved out a wooden sword. I sold the real sword to a passer-by and sheathed the wooden one. This way I earned money for pilaf.»
The ruler was very surprised and asked Hasanak, «What will you do tomorrow if the ruler orders you to come to the palace to chop off the head of a criminal?»
« A man should always think and not lose his head. Didn't you ever hear it said, That is the man who is not a coward and who is able to get overcome all obstacles.'»
The next day the ruler ordered that Hasanak be brought to the palace. The servants gave him the same wooden sword in its sheath. Then they brought to Hasanak a man with his hands tied.
« He is a criminal. His guilt is enormous,» said the ruler of the city. «We sentenced him to death. Chop off his head with this sword! If you don't fulfill my order, the executioner will chop off your head!»
« Oh, yes, my lord!» replied Hasanak.
He took out the wooden sword and struck it upon the neck of the criminal with such a force that the sword cracked.