Nasruddin was obsessed with butterflies. Whenever he saw a butterfly, he would stop whatever he was doing and watch the butterfly. He would get up and follow the butterfly, going wherever the butterfly would go until finally it would flutter away.
"I must learn what a butterfly truly is!" Nasruddin declared, so he got a net and caught a butterfly.
Then he took the butterfly and carefully removed its wings.
Next he removed the two antennae, and then the legs, and also the head.
"I can see all the butterfly's parts now," said Nasruddin. "But where did the butterfly go?"
Inspired by: The World of the Sufi edited by Idries Shah, free to read online at the Idries Shah Foundation.
Notes: This is on p. 4 in the book. This is not a Nasruddin story in the book, just an anecdote about a "boy," but I made it a Nasruddin story. Shah calls this "pai-magas," "fly-leg," a form of absurd specialization.