A Miller His Son And Their Ass

: Boys And Girls Bookshelf

A miller and his son were driving their ass to a neighboring fair to

sell him. They had not gone far when they met a troop of women collected

around a well. "Look," cried one, "did you ever see such fellows, to be

trudging on foot when they might ride?" The old man, hearing this, made

his son mount, and continued to walk at his side.

Presently they came to a group of old men in debate. "There," said one

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.

Soon 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 can hardly keep pace by the side of

you?" The 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,"

said the old man. "Oh, 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." So they tied the legs of the ass together,

and by the aid of a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over

a bridge. The sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at it; till

the ass broke the cords that held him and fell into the river. Upon

this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made his way home.

In trying to please everybody one is quite likely to please nobody.