The Salt Merchant and His Ass

: Aesop's Fables

A PEDDLER drove his Ass to the seashore to buy salt. His road

home lay across a stream into which his Ass, making a false step,

fell by accident and rose up again with his load considerably

lighter, as the water melted the sack. The Peddler retraced his

steps and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt

than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down

on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the

weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he

had obtained what he desired. The Peddler saw through his trick

and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a

cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing the

fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, but the

sponges became swollen with water, greatly increasing his load.

And thus his trick recoiled on him, for he now carried on his

back a double burden.