The Donkey and His Master
Long ago, in the jungles of Africa, there lived a donkey. This donkey worked very hard to make sure that his master's children always had enough to eat. He cared very much about the master's children and tried to do everything he could to ensure that their futures would be bright and wonderful. He went into the bush each day to find the best fruits and vegetables for their table. He carried heavy loads of grain and wood so that the children could have the finest bread. He carried gallons of water from the river so that they would have clean clothes and clean bodies. He worked hard every day. Every night, he loved giving the children rides so that they could see places that they had never been and do things that they had never done.
Even so, his master wasn't happy with him. "Why do you make so many journeys each day?" he asked. "You could bring back more food and water if you add more to every load." So the donkey added more food to each load. He found bigger buckets and carried more water. He was very tired at the end of the day, but he knew that he was helping his children, so that made all of the exhaustion worth it. He still gave the children rides upon his back, but they could not go as far as they had before for the donkey was too tired.
One day, his master came back to him. "Why are you so messy? You spill water when you walk and you scatter grain with each step?" So the donkey was more careful, but he could not walk as fast. In the end, though, he spilled less and kept the yard clean. "Now you are not bringing as much food as before!" cried the master. "Oh, you silly donkey! Why can't you do anything right?"
The donkey knew that he could only try harder, even though he was beginning to suspect that the master was not being just. So he tried harder. He carried even MORE on his back with each load, walked slowly, and did not spill.
When the donkey lay his head down at night, he couldn't even think about giving the children rides. One night, several of the children came to him saying, "Why don't you give us rides anymore? We used to do new things together. We used to see new places together. But now all you do is sleep." The donkey felt bad that he had stopped giving rides to the children, so he decided to start again the next day.
The next morning, as the sun was rising, the master came to wake the donkey. "Wake up, donkey. It's time for you to work." The donkey did not move. "Donkey. Get up," the master said, this time with a kick. The donkey shifted its head slowly. He tried to stand, but he did not think he had the energy to raise his body. "We have a party today. You will need to bring twice the amount of food that you usually do. If you do not, none of the children will have any food to eat." This gave the donkey a small burst of energy. But his energy did not last long. He had brought back as much food as he could and as much water as he could, but he could not carry any more. His muscles were shaking and he felt ill. But he continued to work as hard as he could.
As the sun was setting, the donkey brought one more load. The master said, "You're late. We will not have enough food now to feed the children today. It is your fault that the children will go hungry."
Just then, the children came to the donkey and said, "Oh, donkey, we asked you to carry us on your shoulders that we may see the world, but you have still have not done as we asked. It's not fair, donkey!"
This was too much for the donkey. He collapsed in a heap on the ground. The children looked at the donkey, then turned in to the house, sad that the donkey would not do as they asked. The master looked scornfully at the donkey and said, "Oh, donkey. You don't know what it's like to run a house here. You think that you work hard? You should see what I do. Because you did not bring enough food today, you will go without food for the next week. Find it yourself."
The donkey could not move. He could not think properly. His body was spent and his spirit was crushed. He did not move even though the rains poured on him and he realized that he would not be able to get up again.
He woke late in the morning. The master and the master's children ignored him laying there. He got sick from staying in the rain. The days passed and the donkey could not move. His muscles would not work. His will had been broken.
When the sun rose the next day, its rays cast their light upon the form of the donkey. One of the children came from the door and walked over to the donkey. She pushed the donkey's head with a stick. When there was no reaction, she gave the donkey a look of disgust and walked back into the house.