By Rohini Chowdhury
Once a farmer owned an ass and a lapdog.
The ass worked hard all day, hauling heavy loads. But he was well looked after, and had a warm, comfortable stable, with plenty of fresh hay to eat and water to drink.
The lapdog stayed with his master all day, and lived in the house with him. He did no work, but was made much of, and even allowed to sit on the master's lap.
The ass saw the lapdog leading a life of leisure, being petted by the master, and being given choice tidbits of food from the master's own plate, and the ass grew jealous of the lapdog.
'I wish the master would love me as much, and give me as much attention as he does the lapdog,' sighed the ass. 'I work hard all day, much harder than that lapdog who does nothing at all except wag his tail and fawn on the master, and yet it seems the master cares more for the dog than for me. Perhaps if I too behave like the dog, and wag my tail and jump on the master, the master will start loving me as much as he does the dog.' The ass decided to wait for his chance.
One day, when he was left unattended while the farmer and all the farmhands were at their midday meal, the ass broke his halter and ran into the farmhouse kitchen. There the farmer sat at table. The ass rushed up to him and began wagging his tail vigorously, and knocked off all the china from the table. He then started jumping around and frolicking like a little dog, and finally plonked himself down on the farmer's lap. The shocked farmer yelled for help. The farmhands came running in and dragged the ass off to his stable, and gave him a beating he did not forget the rest of his life.
It is best to be contented with one's lot.