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Aesop's Fable: “the Man, The Boy, And The Donkey”

I’ve always liked this story as it perfectly conveys how it's just not possible to please all the people. Some people keep trying and trying but you inevitably wind up miserable yourself.

A Man and his son went to market with their Donkey. As they were walking a countryman passed and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey good for but riding?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey. Soon they passed a group of men and one said: “See that lazy Boy, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. Then they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son march along.”

The Man didn’t know what to do, so he placed his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and passers-by jeered and pointed at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your large son?”

The Man and Boy got down and didn’t know what to do. They thought and thought, until they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole with the donkey to their shoulders. They went on in the middle of the laughter of everyone who met them until they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, wiggling and moving around, caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge into the water and drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them: “Please all, and you will please none!”

Moral of the story is: trying to please everyone is impossible, and will result in failure to please anyone at all (especially yourself). If you have any experience blogging or writing on EP, you’ve probably had both glowing praise and unflattering criticism for the exact same posting. People don’t always agree (parents, friends, society at large) and if you try to live up to all their expectations, you’ll end up feeling miserable because you’re not living the life you want to while making others unhappy anyway.
2Buddies 2Buddies 46-50, M 5 Responses Oct 3, 2010

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My nephew did school play recently on this :) small world...

XcookiexbakerXx, what a coincidence! I figure stories like this don't get past kids, they absorb everything.

I remembered this fable the other day when my wife and I were discussing my daughter's upcoming wedding and she's trying to decide fir a location to hold the reception. I sincerely hope that this fable can give her some insight.

El Greco1969

elgreco1969, glad you enjoyed it! Just curious, did you tell your wife the story?

Glad you found some value in the story SunniOne, Aesop's fables are my favorites!

wonderful parallel! i followed this from the link in puck's story. thank you!

Yes! Why do we do that? Must be the never-ending need to make everyone happy...except ourselves last? Thanks for the observation.