There was an old Iranian who was intensely proud of two things – his long, white beard that reached down to his chest, and his ability to sleep the moment his head touched the pillow.
One day, his 3-year-old grandson asked him how he arranged his beard when he slept: did it go under the blanket or did it remain above it?
The old man had never paid attention to this detail, and he confessed he didn’t remember whether his beard remained above or went under the blanket.
He promised to find out.
It was very cold that night. The old man got into bed and pulled the blanket over himself.
Then he suddenly remembered his grandson’s question.
He became acutely conscious that his beard was under the blanket.
He lifted it from under the blanket, and placed it above it.
This made him feel that something was not quite right. So he tucked the beard under the blanket again. But he soon felt it would be better if it were out.
In and out went the beard; first under the blanket, then above it, then under once again. The old man spent a sleepless night.
The next morning the first thing he did was cut his beard to chin level, to the great joy of his daughter who, for several months, had been urging him to do just that.