Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 62. The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey (Perry
A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they
were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You
fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But
soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy
youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't
gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame
on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."
Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up
before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and
the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked
what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of
yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yoursu and your hulking son?"
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and
they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet
to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went
along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge,
when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused
the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over
the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
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"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:
"Please all, and you will please none."
Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by
Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google
Books. The digitized text comes from Project
Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The
Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from amazon.com.