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when the whole story is fake

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A friend of Nasreddin Hoca’s borrowed a large quantity of barley, but then he was not able to pay it back, so he denied that he borrowed it, and was consequently prosecuted; he asked Nasreddin to get him out of the trouble, as Nasreddin was the witness to the transaction: “please, Nasreddin, save me! no one else can save me but you! We shall make up a story that I did not need to borrow so much barley, and that I only borrowed a very small quantity which I returned on a certain day in your presence”. “No, no!” said Nasreddin, “I ‘m a priest, a Hoca, I cannot tell a lie, and that when I take an oath with my hand on the holy Quran” – “but I am your friend, and if you don’t do so I will be sent to jail! you must speak in the court for me, you are sure to convince the court by dint of your priestly authority”. After his friend implored a lot, Nasreddin said: “all right, all right, I shall do all I can to save you. Tell me the whole story I must say in detail”. In the law court, when Nasreddin was called on to speak as a witness after publicly taking the religious oath, he started telling the fake story exactly as his friend made it up; but instead of saying “barley”, he said “wheat”. Then his friend, the accused man, shouted: “it was barley, not wheat!”. Then Nasreddin readily answered: “does this bother you, my friend, when we know all this story I ‘m telling is a lie!”.

(If you can read Turkish, search by keyword "Nasreddin Hoca". There are probably such stories in other languages too)

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