The Ox and The Ass

There’s a story that’s told about two of the farmer’s animals.

After the day’s work was done, the animals were herded into the barn to rest up for the next day’s work. One such evening, the ox was busy complaining. “I’m so tired. All day long, the master put a yoke around my neck and I have to walk up and down the field pulling the plow. It’s such hard work. I can’t do this any more.”

“I’m tired too.” The donkey was only too happy to join in the complaints.

“What are you tired from?” The ox couldn’t believe the nerve of the donkey. “All you do is carry the master around the field. He doesn’t go far. He lays fancy cloth on your back to prevent you from chafing. And he only sits on your back in the shade while I do all the work. You have nothing to complain about. Your job is easy.”

“Maybe you’re right.” The donly hadn’t thought about it like that before. “Okay. I feel bad for you. I am going to give you some advice. Tomorrow when the servant comes to fetch you to pull the plow, pretend you’re sick and can’t get up.”

So it was. When the servant came to get the ox, the animal foamed at the mouth and lay stiff on the ground. He couldn’t get up, it seemed. But the work still needed to be done. So the servant went for the ass instead and put the yoke around his neck instead of the ox. All day long, as the donkey pulled the plow up and down and up the field again, the ox watched contentedly from inside the barn, chewing his cud while the donkey did his work. The ox felt so clever for listening to the donkey’s advice.

At the end of the day, when the donkey came in, complaining, the ox felt justified. “Maybe I’ll pretend to be sick tomorrow again.”

But the donkey had learned a thing or two during his experience. He was happy to report. “Yeah. You go ahead and try it. I heard the master tell the servant that if you’re still sick and can’t work tomorrow, he should call the butcher so they can eat your meat instead.”

The moral of the story

Be careful with the advice you give. Be even more careful with the advice you follow.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great story. I enjoyed this. I also liked the twist ending. It’s clever.

    You could make this like a Grimm’s fairy tale by having the ox fake being sick the second day, and get taken to the butcher. That would make the ending stick in the reader’s mind.

    Minor suggestions: I would put a comma after “neck” to separate the two independent clauses. Change “ass'” to “ass’s” as the third “s” is not silent.

    I think the dialogue tags could be improved. Here is a link that helped me a lot:

    I wrote a fable called “The Sasquatch Who Spoke His Mind.” If you would like to read it, I am open to any feedback:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Oh thank you so much for this feedback, Chris. It’s quite a pleasure to receive such a well thought comment.
      I will make the changes you suggested and read your story too of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lfish64 says:

    Great story, with a good moral.

    Liked by 1 person

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