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THE MILLER, HIS SON, AND THEIR ASS
A MILLER and his Son were driving their Ass to the fair
to sell him. They had not gone far,
 when they met a
troop of girls, returning from the town, talking and
"Look there!" cried one of them. "Did you ever see
such fools, to be trudging along on foot, when they
might be riding?" The Miller, when he heard this, bade
his Son get up on the Ass, and walked along merrily by
his side. Soon they came to a group of old men talking
"There!" said one of them; "that proves what I was
saying. What respect is shown to old age in these
days? Do you see that idle young rogue riding, while
his father has to walk? Get down, lazy boy, and let
the old man get on!"
The Son got down from the Ass, and the Miller took his
place. They had not gone far when they met a company
of women and children.
"Why you lazy old fellow!" cried several at once. "How
can you ride upon the beast, when that poor little lad
can hardly keep up with you?"
So the good-natured Miller took his Son up behind him.
They had now almost reached the town.
"Pray, my friend," said a townsman, "is that Ass your
"Yes," said the Miller.
 "I should not have thought so," said the other, "by the
way you load him. Why, you two are better able to
carry the poor beast than he to carry you."
"Anything to please you," said the Miller. So he and
his Son got down from the Ass. They tied his legs
together, and, taking a stout pole, tried to carry him
on their shoulders over a bridge that led to the town.
This was so odd a sight that crowds of people ran out
to see it, and to laugh at it. The Ass, not liking to
be tied, kicked the cords away, and tumbled off the
pole into the water. At this the Miller and his Son
hung down their heads. They made their way home again,
having learned that by trying to please everybody, they
had pleased nobody, and lost the Ass into the bargain.