It's a cold winter afternoon. A car comes along a little a little traveled road. The motor is not working well and it finally stalls. The automobile slows down until it stops. Two men get out and they begin to talk.
I guess we ran out of gasoline.
What awful luck. It's cold here. Look. There's nothing in site. We can't make a phone call and there's no traffic on this highway.
We'll have to walk to the nearest town and find a gas station. Let's go on ahead because the last town we past was more than 100 kilometers back.
But how do we know there's a town any closer in this direction?
Yea, you're right. We don't have any idea how it will take us to get to the nearest town, and I don't have a map of this area.
Well the best thing to do is to walk to the nearest town if it isn't too far. On the other hand, if it's more than two hours away, it would be better to stay with the car.
Wait a minute. Here comes someone. Maybe he can tell us how far it is to the nearest town. Let's wait til he gets here.
I beg your pardon. Can you tell us how long it would take us to walk to the nearest town?
You suppose he's deaf? He just stands there and looks at us without saying a word.
Maybe he didn't hear me. I'll try to explain our problem to him again.
Look son. If it doesn't take more than two hours to walk to the nearest town, we want to go there. If it would take longer to get there, we'll stay here in the car. Now can you please tell us how long it will take to walk to that town?
He still doesn't answer. The best thing we can do is stay here.
I suppose you're right. Come on, let's go back to the car.
The travelers walk quickly toward the car, which is about 25 steps away. The boy remains silent gazing at them intently. He keeps watching their movements while he calls to them in a loud voice.
Hey, mister. You can get to town in 45 minutes.
Ohh, then you're not deaf after all.
No. Of course not.
Then why didn't you answer us before?
How could I answer you without knowing how fast you walk?