The Unhappy Donkey
There was a donkey, who always had complain about his life and about his work. "How I hate this early rising!" said a donkey, with a great yawn. "I wish I might sleep till sunrise. Here I am, harnessed and ready to start to town before the roosters crow. And why? To take a little fruit and a few vegetables to market. Isn't that a foolish reason for spoiling my dreams!"
The master was tired of his donkey, for he never seemed willing to do his work. "I do hate a donkey with his ears turned backward," he said. "He has no right to complain, for his work is really light, and he gets plenty of food and rest."
One day a tanner came along. He saw what a strong donkey the gardener drove, and asked his price. The gardener was glad to sell him. "I hope he will enjoy his new work," said the gardener. "He never seemed quite happy with me."
The tanner used the donkey to carry hides. These were heavy and bad-smelling. They almost made him sick.
"Oh, dear!" the donkey groaned one day. "I wish I were back with the gardener. The vegetables were fresh and I was often given a cabbage leaf or a beet top. I did have to get out early, to be sure, but I did not work late. Here I must work early and late, and if I turn out of the road to get a mouthful of grass, I am beaten soundly. I hate this work and this place."
The donkey was so ill-natured that the tanner sold him to a coal miner. He was lowered into a coal mine, where he had to pass his time pulling loads of coal. The mine was dark, and he was kept very busy.
"This is very bad," he cried. "I wish I were with the gardener, or even with the tanner. Anything would be better than working in this dismal hole in the ground." But there he lived for the rest of his unhappy life.