The Parable of the Old Man, The Boy, and The Donkey


Kenya 2014

Kenya 2014


I recently stumbled upon this old story in a book.  I think it’s an important lesson that we are still trying to learn.


There was an old man, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and the boy was riding the donkey, with the old man walking alongside.

As they rambled along, they passed some old women sitting in the shade. One of the women called out, ”Shame on you, a great lump of a boy, riding while your old father is walking.”

The man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.

Later they ambled by a group of mothers watching their young children play by the river. One cried out in protest, “How could you make your little boy walk in the hot sun while you ride!”

The two travellers decided that maybe they both should walk.

Next they met some young men out for a stroll.

“How stupid you are to walk when you have a perfectly good donkey to ride!” one yelled derisively.

So both father and son clambered onto the donkey, deciding they both should ride.

They were soon settled and underway again. They next encountered some children who were on their way home from school.

One girl shouted, “How mean to put such a load on a poor little animal.”

The old man and the boy saw no alternative. Maybe the critics were right. They now struggled to carry the donkey.

As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the confused animal and he fell to his death in the river.


The Moral of the story?  If you try and please everyone you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.  So today I challenge you to try and just be you. Everything else will work itself out.

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