As they were trudging on their way
To sell their Donkey at the fair,
Passed by a group of girls. "Look there!
At those two simpletons!" one cried,
"Who walk when there's a beast to ride!"
The Miller hearing, bade his Son
Get on the Donkey's back. This done,
Proceeding on their way again
They met a party of old men,
Discoursing gravely. "There!" cried one,
"Look at that good-for-nothing son
Who rides and lets his father go
On foot. - You rascal! have you no
Respect for Age? no filial pride?
Get off and let the old man ride!"
Without a word the boy obeyed
And, leaping from the Donkey, made
His father take his place and ride
While he ran by the Donkey's side.
As thus they journeyed merrily,
Along there came a company
Of womenfolk and children, who
Set up a terrible to-do,
"Have you no heart?" the women cried;
"A great, strong man like you to ride
And let your son, poor little man,
Keep pace with you as best he can!"
The Miller, naturally kind,
At this, took up his Son behind;
And on the Donkey's back the pair
Rode on to town. When almost there,
A Stranger, in ill-natured tone,
Accosted them, "Pray do you own
That Donkey, Sir?" " Most certainly!
Replied the Miller. "Well," said he,
"One would not think so by the way
You load him! If I had my say,
I'd make the pair of you alight
And carry him!" "Perhaps you're right;
It is the only thing," replied
The Miller, "that we have not tried.
We aim to please." So then and there
Dismounting, that obliging pair
Tied the poor Donkey's feet and slung
Him to a pole from which he hung,
Braying his protest, upside down,
And started with him to the town
Upon their shoulders. At the sight
The townsfolk, shouting with delight,
Came flocking round on every side,
Until the Donkey, terrified,
Just as they reached a bridge, broke through
The cords and tumbled off into
The river and was swept away.
Thus did the foolish Miller pay
For trying to please everyone;
He lost his Donkey and pleased none.
Source: Herford Aesop 17.
Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the Brant images. All the versions are here: donkey unladen, father on donkey, son on donkey, both on donkey, and - finally - carrying the donkey!