Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Microstory 1288: The Mule and Its Burden

A mule was carrying a load of salt for his master, so that the master could sell his product at the market. The trail there was treacherous and long, and there was one particular spot that always gave them trouble. The mule was always able to cross the stream, but it required a lot of patience and care, and there was always a risk that something would go wrong. The master once tried to take them on an alternate route, but the trail was far longer, and was more dangerous overall. Their luck ran out when the mule slipped on a wet rock, and fell to his side. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, and was able to stand back up. In fact, he felt better than ever, because much of the salt had spilled into the stream, to be lost forever. The master was disappointed, but he knew it was only a matter of time. Hopefully it would never happen again. But the mule had other plans. The next time they took the journey, he had the idea to slip again, and lighten his load a bit. His plan worked perfectly; too good, actually. He lost more of the salt than he had planned on, which made his master become suspicious of him. Still, they kept trying. When it happened a third time, the master knew that something was wrong. He was unable to communicate with his mule, but he realized there was only one solution to the problem. The next time they went out, he loaded his mule up with less salt than normal, and carried the rest of it himself. The mule was grateful, and decided to cross the stream safely once more. All was well.

This story was inspired by, and revised from, an Aesop Fable called The Ass and the Load of Salt.

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