The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass





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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