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The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass

from Aesop's Fables





A MILLER and his son were driving their Ass to a neighboring fair
to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop of
women collected round a well, talking and laughing. "Look
there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be
trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?' The old
man hearing this, quickly made his son mount the Ass, and
continued to walk along merrily by his side. Presently they came
up to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There," said one of
them, "it proves what I was a-saying. What respect is shown to
old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his
old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let
the old man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the old man made his
son dismount, and got up himself. In this manner they had not
proceeded far when they met a company of women and children:
"Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how
can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can
hardly keep pace by the side of you?' The good-natured Miller
immediately took up his son behind him. They had now almost
reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is
that Ass your own?' "Yes," replied the old man. "O, one would
not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him.
Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than
he you." "Anything to please you," said the old man; "we can but
try." So, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the Ass
together and with the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on
their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance to the town.
This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at
it, till the Ass, not liking the noise nor the strange handling
that he was subject to, broke the cords that bound him and,
tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon this, the old
man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again,
convinced that by endeavoring to please everybody he had pleased
nobody, and lost his Ass in the bargain.





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