An Englishman, a German and a Frenchman were all in Saudi Arabia, sharing a smuggled crate of alcohol.
All of a sudden, the Saudi police rushed in and arrested them. The mere possession of alcohol was a severe offence in Saudi Arabia, so for the terrible crime of actually being caught consuming the booze, they were all sentenced to death!
However, after many months and with the help of very good lawyers, they were able to successfully reduce their sentences down to life imprisonment. By a stroke of luck, it was a Saudi national holiday the day their trial finished, and the extremely benevolent Sheikh decided they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes each of the whip.
Again, luck favoured them and as they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheikh announced: "It is my first wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each of you a wish before your whipping."
The German was first in line. He thought for a while and then said, "Please tie a pillow to my back. "This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. When the punishment was done the German had to be carried away bleeding and crying with pain.
The Frenchman was next up. After watching the German in horror he said smugly, "Please fix two pillows to my back." But even the two pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again and the Frenchman was soon led away whimpering loudly.
The Englishman was the last one up, but before he could say anything, the Sheikh turned to him and said: "I like your language and respect your royal family. You are from a country which once was a great ruler. And I think your culture is one of the finest in the world. For this, you may have two wishes!"
"Thank you, your Most Royal and Merciful highness," the Englishman replied. "In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes."
"Not only are you an honourable, handsome and powerful man, you are also very brave," the Sheikh said with an admiring look on his face. "If 100 lashes are what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish, what is it to be?" the Sheikh asked.
The Englishman smiled and said, "Tie the Frenchman to my back."