home | books | resources | email
The Story Of The Trapped Arm

On a warm Saturday afternoon, Khurram's wife promised to cook his favorite Persian dish which is filled with tasty nuts. He was excited about helping her in the kitchen. Happily he reached deep into the jar filled with nuts and grabbed as many as he could fit in his hand.

When he tried to pull his arm out of the jar, it was stuck. As hard as he pulled and twisted his arm, the jar would not release it. His wife pulled on the jar with all her strength, but it did not help. His arm was stuck in the neck of the jar.

After several failed attempts they called out to their neighbors for help. One neighbor, Jamal, came running over and asked how the arm came to be stuck in the jar. With a voice filled of pain and frustration Khurram told his story.

"Oh, I know how to help you, but you must do exactly as I say," said Jamal.

"Yes, I promise to do everything you say, if you can just free me from this terrible jar," Khurram replied.

"Okay, then push your arm further into the jar," Jamal requested.

Khurram thought this request was strange and wondered why he should put his arm further into the jar when he wanted to get it out of there, but he did as he was told.

Jamal continued, "Now open your hand and drop the nuts you have been holding." This request upset Khurram, because he wanted the nuts for his favorite dish, but reluctantly, he followed directions.

Jamal then said, "Make you hand very small and slowly pull your arm out of the jar."

Khurram did as he was told and without any trouble he pulled his arm out of the jar. All the other neighbors who had collected around cheered and clapped, but Khurram wasn't completely satisfied. He said, "My arm is free now, but what about the nuts?"

Hearing this, Jamal tipped over the jar and let several nuts roll out onto a plate. Wide-eyed and with his mouth open in surprise, Khurram asked, "Are you a magician?"

Note: I have also read this same story elsewhere with different characters namely, a monkey and a wise owl. It is an old Persian tale.