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Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 179 (Chambry 273 *)

There was a donkey who worked for a gardener. Because the gardener made the donkey work very hard but gave him very little food, the donkey prayed to Zeus to take him away from the gardener and give him to another master, so Zeus sent Hermes to sell the donkey to a potter. The donkey also found this situation unbearable, since he was forced to carry even heavier loads than before. He called upon Zeus again, and this time Zeus arranged for the donkey to be purchased by a tanner. When the donkey saw the kind of work the tanner did, he said, 'Oh, it would have been better for me to have kept on working for my previous masters in a state of starvation! Now I have ended up in a place where I won't even get a proper burial after I die.'
The story shows that slaves miss their former masters the most when they have had some experience with their new ones.

Note: Zeus is the supreme god of the Greek pantheon, and Hermes is his messenger, often serving as Zeus's agent in earthly affairs. For a similar fable about ever-worsening masters, see Fable 28.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.