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A story with a moral |The man, the boy and the donkey | Aesop's fables retold

Updated on December 13, 2014
The man, the boy and the donkey
The man, the boy and the donkey

The moral of the story - The man, the boy and the donkey

The man, the boy and the donkey is an interesting story from the collection of Aesop's fables. It is a story with a moral or a message. The moral of this story is that you can't please everyone; if you try to please every one you will perhaps end up pleasing no one.

This story apart from being quite interesting is perhaps useful for many to understand the message that you can't please every one.

Given below is a retelling of this story based on the original Aesop's tale but retold with some differences.

The man, the boy and the donkey

Shyam lived in a small village. One day he wanted to raise some money by selling his donkey. But there was no market place in his small village. So he had to go to the nearest market town several miles away. He set off with his donkey to the market. He took his young son along with him for company.

As father and son walked on leading the donkey, they came across a couple of villagers who looked at them and laughed heartily. Shyam was surprised and a little wounded to be laughed at, particularly in front of his son. "What is the matter," he enquired of the villagers. "Why are you laughing at me?"

"What is a donkey for, but to ride on," ridiculed the villagers. "Here, you are proudly leading the donkey and walking with it. It is so funny."

Shyam felt small. "Yes, there must be something in what these villagers say," he thought. He quickly asked his son to mount the donkey and ride it. He walked on alongside.

As they went on further, they came across the village headman, a man of advancing years. He took one look at the boy riding the donkey and Shyam walking along and shouted at the young boy, "What kind of a son are you. You are happily riding the donkey while your poor old and exhausted father walks alongside. How can you be so cruel and hardhearted?"

Shyam's son felt humiliated. He quickly hopped off the donkey and asked Shyam to ride the animal. He walked alongside.

As they walked on they came across the village teacher. He took one look at Shyam riding the donkey, his son walking alongside and angrily asked of Shyam, "Have you lost your senses! How can you coolly ride the donkey while that poor young boy has to walk all the way!"

Shyam felt embarrassed. He jumped off the donkey. Then Shyam and his son stood there right on the road and had a discussion. What was to be done? Whichever way they went, some one was offended.

Soon Shyam and his son took their next step. They both got on the donkey together and the animal moved on.

As they neared the market town, along came a man from the town. He looked at the two of them riding the donkey and screamed, "What is this? How can you burden that poor animal with two hefty fellows like you sitting on it. This is cruelty to our animal friends. You should be reported to the authorities!"

Both Shyam and his son hastily jumped off the donkey. This was getting too much!

They then debated over what was to be done. People laughed at them if they walked along with donkey. People were offended if either one of them rode the donkey making the other one walk and people were unhappy if they both rode the donkey. So they took up the only course left - they decided that they would both carry the donkey!

They hoisted the donkey on their shoulders and continued walking. As they entered the town a crowd gathered to see that strange sight. They all pushed and jostled each other to get a better view. In all the commotion the frightened donkey slipped off their shoulders and ran away, never to be seen by them again!

The man, the boy and the donkey - moral

This is a very instructive story. The moral of this story is that you can't please every one. If you try to please every one you might end up pleasing no one. In trying to please all the people who commented on them, they man and the boy ended up losing the donkey.

The story of the man, the boy and the donkey is pertinent even today, perhaps even more so than before.

Enjoy this video of another story with a moral - The fox and the crow

Enjoy this video of another story with a moral - The lion and the mouse


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    • charity mtisi profile image

      charity mtisi 

      7 months ago from Johannesburg

      Great story.. true you can never please everyone!

    • Syeda Sardar Fatima profile image


      8 months ago

      Interesting fable! Chilhood story of a kid of 90's.

    • wwriter profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from India

      Thank you boutrikahind. Glad you liked the story. And yes, an important moral!

    • wwriter profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from India

      Thank you, Natalia. I am glad you found it useful.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the fable! I wanted to share it with my pupils but I couldn´t find it so complete anywhere! It´s a great story and I think its very useful too...

    • wwriter profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from India

      Yes. Thank you for reading and commenting, Robert Sacchi.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      4 years ago

      Yes, Aesop's fable is true today. Untold in the story is what is the sense of going out of your way to please people you don't know and aren't likely to see again?

    • wwriter profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from India

      Thank you Darksage. Yes, I found this a very interesting story too, that perhaps many can relate to.

    • Darksage profile image

      Khen Ramos 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Great story! I've never heard of this story before, but I guess it's one of my favorites now. I bet a lot of people can relate to this story as it is meant for everyone. Thank you for posting the different stories also. Voted up! :)


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