An old farmer and his young son were taking their donkey to the market. The two of them walked along a path with the donkey beside them. They didn’t ride the donkey because they didn’t want the animal to get tired.
On their way, they met some people who laughed at them.
“You and your son are so foolish,” they said. “Why are you both walking when at least one of you could ride the donkey?”
The farmer thought those people were right, and he made his son ride the donkey. They went on a bit further and met a group of older persons.
“You are so foolish,” they said to the farmer. “How could you let your young son ride the donkey while you walk? Tell him to get down and let you ride instead.”
So the son got off the donkey and his father rode the animal. A little further along the path, they came across a group of women going to market.
“You are foolish and hard-hearted,” they said to the father. “How could you ride the donkey and leave your poor son to walk?”
The father then made his son ride behind him on the donkey. They had not traveled far when they met another group of people.
“You are cruel,” a man shouted at them. “How could you treat a dumb animal like that? Do you want to kill the poor donkey with all that weight?”
By this time, the market was close by, and the farmer wanted to get a good sale for the donkey. So he and his son decided to carry the donkey the rest of the way. They tied the donkey’s legs together and slung it from a pole that they hoisted on their shoulders.
When they reached the town, people laughed at the sight of these two men carrying a donkey.
“You are both so foolish,” the people said. “Don’t you know the donkey is supposed to carry you?”
The people laughed so hard that the donkey started to bray and kick. The rope that held him to the pole broke, and the donkey ran away. So the farmer and his son walked back home without the donkey and without the money from the sale of the donkey.
“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them. “Please all and you will please none.