Children’s Fables

The Man, the Boy and the Donkey

Once upon a time, there was a man, his son and their donkey. They lived far out of town and, being very poor, had only their donkey with which to carry their supplies to and from market.

One day they were on their way to market. Both the man and the boy were leading their donkey down the long road. At one point they passed a farmer who called to them, “You fools! What is a donkey for but to ride upon? Why do you waste such opportunity and make yourselves weary?” So the man hoisted the boy up on the donkey, and they continued down the road.

After a while, they passed a group of men who pointed and scoffed, “Look at that selfish boy! He rides the donkey and forces his poor father to walk along beside him, and his father allows this!” So the man, not wanting to seem weak-willed, ordered the boy off the donkey, climbed on himself, and they continued on their way to market.

Later they passed a group of women who huddled and commented in loud and disapproving tones, “Look at that poor boy! His father rides the donkey and leaves him small and trudging along beside him. How shameful!” The man, now rather embarrassed, reached down and pulled the boy up onto the donkey with him, and together they rode down the road.

Some time later, they at last approaching the market bridge when another man watched them passing. He looked at them pointedly and scoldingly and said to them, “Why do you treat you donkey so cruelly? The two of you lazily ride this poor donkey and burden him with the weight of the two of you!”

Well, the man was now perplexed. He and the boy got off the donkey, and the stood for a moment trying to figure out what they should do next. Finally, they decided they would carry the donkey between them. They found a wooden pole and tied the donkey’s feet to it, raised it to their shoulders and proceeded to carry the donkey over the bridge to the market amid the jeering and laughter of all that watched them.

The donkey, feeling scared, began to struggle against the ropes and eventually freed one of his feet. He kicked out more in his struggles and one well placed kick caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the following confusion and struggle the donkey fell over the side of the bridge. His other feet being bound, he was unable to swim to shore and drowned.

The boy and man stood and watched helplessly. Another man, who had been following them on his way to the market himself, passed them shaking his head sorrowfully. “That will teach you,” he said.

Moral to the story: If you try to please everyone, you will lose your ass!

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Well, it seems that no one realy knows who wrote this story. Apparently, it is often attributed incorrectly to Aesop, but who knows? Regardless, Aesop or whoever probably would not have made the point quite that blunt, but sometimes proverbial smack in the face is needed for us to really pay attention.

We have all given up on doing things in life. Most of time it seems we are talked out of it by others who do not believe in us or talked ourselves out of it for fear of being judged. If we want something we should go for it! If we do not succeed then at least we tried, and even better? We can learn from the experience and decide to try again!

I guess too often we just don’t believe in ourselves. Why do we have such low expectations? Are we not in control of our own destinies? Live your life. Do it your way. Please yourself! Take care of your responsibilities, of course, but don’t burden yourself with someone else’s choices. In the end, you need to be happy with the decisions you made and the fun you had. Grow old and have some fun and gather some stories to tell everyone! Shock and humor young ones with the tales of adventure and misbehavior of your youth! That’s my plan anyway – you go ahead and do what will make YOU happy!

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