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Three fables about donkeys.
Originally by Aesop
Adapted for Storynory by Bertie
Read by Jana and Bertie
Image courtesy of https://depositphotos.com/
Hello, This is Jana, and I’m here with some fables about donkeys.
Now I’m sure you will agree that donkeys are very lovable creatures. They have oversized heads, soft noses, sad eyes and ears that are a bit like rabbits. Who couldn’t love a donkey?
But in stories, donkeys are often stubborn. Maybe it’s a bit unfair but it’s the way stories are - foxes are cunning, wolves are violent, sheep are timid, lions are very self-important - and donkeys are stubborn - you get the idea.
Donkeys appear in many of the fables by the ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop, and here are three of them.
The first story is read by Bertie.
The Singing Donkey
One day a donkey was nibbling on some green grass in the field. The sun was shining in the sky and the donkey’s big ears were filled with the delightful sound of grasshoppers. The grasshoppers rubbed their legs together and sang their tiny hearts out.
The donkey felt light and merry and exclaimed:
“What delicious grass! What a delightful day! What wonderful music! How wonderful it feels to be alive on a day like this.”
Of course, although he was happy, his eyes still looked sad - donkeys can’t help looking like that.
Anyway, the donkey did a little dance - a kind of foxtrot - and swished his tail.
“You know what?” he said. “If I could sing like those grasshoppers, I would never feel sad, and I would always be merry. Even when I’m carrying a heavy load, I could sing to myself and be happy.”
So he worked up the courage to go over to the grasshoppers, and speak to them about their music.
“Excuse me dear creatures,” he said, “I hope you don’t mind me interrupting your performance. I’m your biggest fan! I love your music and I go to all your concerts!”
“No problem at all,” said the lead-singer of the grasshoppers. “Flattery will get you everywhere!”
“Oh good,” said the donkey, “because I have one little request.”
“Sorry, we don’t do requests. We only have one tune, and the one that goes crickets,crickets, crickets.”
“Oh yes, that will always be my personal number one,” said the donkey. “But my request is of a different nature. I want you to teach me to sing.”
“Certainly,” said the grasshopper. The more who can sing the merrier. Try this, “DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI.”
The donkey tried. “Do Ray Me EeeH AWE!”
The sound was truly awful. All the baby grasshoppers were terrified and went to hide in the bushes.
“Hmm,” said the grasshopper’s lead singer. “Maybe you are going to need a few lessons to get the hang of this.”
“Oh yes, I’ll keep trying. I will never give up! People say I’m super stubborn. It’s my best feature!”
“How awful, I mean good for you,” said the grasshopper, “Trying is all very well, and admirable, but if you want to be a great singer, you should take this top tip from me. Over on the other side of the mountain, there is an especially musical spring. You’ll know it, because it sings all sorts of heavenly tunes. If you go and drink from that spring, your voice will be ten times better. All the top singers drink from it. But don’t tell anyone, because it’s a secret spring.”
“Thank you,” said the Donkey. “Thank you so much. I’ll head off right away and find that secret spring.”
The donkey left the lush green field, and headed off round the mountain in search of the musical spring that could help him sing beautifully. Of course he never found it, because it didn’t exist, but he kept on looking for ever more. Every now and then he stopped to sing for various creatures, but none of them appreciated his art. And so the poor old donkey never made a successful career as a singer, however much he tried.
And the moral of the story is:
The laws of nature are unchangeable.
Do you think that’s a good moral, Jana?
Hmm, I’m not so sure. It’s for sure that donkeys don’t naturally have good singing voices, but I do admire him for trying.
Yes, maybe one day people will learn to appreciate his singing voice.
Well thank you Bertie. In a minute or so, I’m going to be reading another donkey fable, but first, it’s time for the first of this week’s sponsors. We’re excited, because we really love this sponsor. They are called OutSchool. When you join Outschool, you will find a whole universe of online classes and after school clubs for your kids with experienced and talented tutors. . It’s easy and affordable to sign up for a class. And I believe Sasha has been trying it out.
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And he really loved it. He’s very much into drawing, and he does already have his own personal tutor, who is good but expensive. The outschool lesson is much, much more affordable. He was in a class of five kids, and the teacher spent an hour with them online, drawing a flamingo. All the results were great - there were five beautiful flamingos at the end of it. And most importantly, Sasha says he wants to do the class next week.
Jana: That’s Great! I think I’d like to try this out for Sophie. Outschool is a high quality and affordable way to book an hour of educational time for your kids. There’s loads of choice, from maths, history, acting, writing - anything you can think of. You can get one to one lessons if you want, or you can join a class. We really recommend it.
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Ok, on with the next fable about a donkey. This one is called,
The Man, the boy, and the donkey
A father, his son, and a donkey were on their way to market. The man and the boy were in front, and the donkey plodded along behind them. An old farmer came the other way in a horse and trap. He was the kind of person who liked to give out the benefit of his wisdom and experience to everyone. He called out and said:
“What’s the point of a donkey, if it doesn’t carry you, eh?”
The father thought: “Well I suppose it does look bad that I’m making my son walk, when we’ve got a good old donkey.”
So he lifted up the boy and put him on the donkey.
Next, the boy’s teacher came the other way and said: “You bad mannered boy, why are you riding in style and letting your poor old father walk on his own two feet.”
The boy replied, “I didn’t mean any harm ma’am,” and hopped off the donkey. So now the boy walked and the father rode.
Next they passed some women who said loudly to one another: “Typical father! Letting his little boy trudge along while he sits on the donkey.”
“Oh bother!” said the father. “It’s hard to please everyone!” So he decided to pick up the boy and they both rode the donkey together.
But of course there were some people who told them that it was cruel to overload the donkey with two passengers.
Finally, the father and son got off the donkey, picked him up, and carried him to the market.
And the moral is,
“If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing nobody.”
That’s a funny story Jana.
Yes, indeed, can you top that one Bertie?
I’ll read another story in a minute but first we’ve got another fantastic sponsor. But first, let’s catch up with our great sponsor Little Passports.
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How to reason with a donkey.
There was once a band of robbers who had burgled a rich mansion. They got away with a huge trove of treasure, silver goblets and plates, and boxes full of gold coins. While they were about it, they stole a donkey from the stable, and loaded all the loot onto his back. Then they set off with the donkey and the treasure heading for their hideaway in the mountains.
The only problem was, that half way up the mountain, the donkey decided he had gone far enough for the night. He just stood rooted to the spot. The robber chief hit him repeatedly with a whip, but all he did was ee-ore. No amount of beating could make him budge.
Now the chief robber’s girlfriend was not impressed by all this fuss.
“You men,” she said, “Are bigger brutes than this beast here. That’s no way to treat an animal. It’s not hard to see that he’s hungry. Here, let me show you some good psychology.”
As it happened, she had picked up a nice green lettuce while she had been inspecting the kitchen of the mansion that they had just robbed. She held the lettuce in front of the donkey’s nose and said:
“Now, if I give you this lovely lettuce, you’ll be a good donkey and move along nicely, won’t you.”
“Ee-ore” said the donkey.
“See!” said the robber woman, “I told you he would see sense! He’s only human after all.”
“No he ain’t,” said the robber chief, but the women took no notice, and gave the lettuce to the donkey. Naturally the donkey ate the lettuce and enjoyed it.
“Now then,” said the Robber Woman. “Let’s get going.”
But the donkey did not budge.
“Hey, listen to me,” said the Robber woman. “We had a deal. Don’t go breaking your word with me,” and she slapped the donkey on his hind quarters. In reply, he kicked her.
“Ouch!” she screamed.
And the donkey still refused to move.
Finally, the bandits had to give up trying to reason with the donkey. They sun was rising, and they did not want to be seen out in the open with all the rich treasures they had stolen. So they unloaded the donkey and carried the loot to their hideaway themselves.
And the moral is,
If you try to reason with a donkey, you must be even stupider than a donkey.
And that’s the fable called How to Reason with A Donkey.