This story came from the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Classon. I am sure you will learn something from this story. I will share as well a true to life application of the story, but before that, keep reading…
There was once a rich master who owns a big piece of land. He was blessed that he could understand the language of animals. One evening as the master passing by the barn, he overheard the bull and the donkey talking to each other.
The bull bemoaning to the donkey the hardness of his task, “How lucky you are! You do not have to work hard like me. I labor pulling the plow from morning until night. No matter how hot the day, or how tired my legs, I still must I work. My life is the tale of misery. But you! You are a creature of leisure. You are trapped with a colorful blanket and do nothing more than carry our master about wherever he wishes to go. When he goes nowhere you do rest and eat the green grass all the day.”
The donkey sympathized with the bull and said, “My good friend, you indeed do work very hard! Even if you are tired, you stretch yourself to work more. Now I am giving you a piece of advice to help you ease from your day’s work. Tomorrow morning when the servant comes to fetch you to the plow, lie upon the ground and bellow much that he may say you are sick and cannot work.” The bull promised the donkey to follow his advice.
The master said to himself, “This donkey needs to learn a lesson!”
On the next day, when the servant came to take the bull to the field, the bull lie upon the ground and bellow much to pretended to be ill. The servant returned to the master and told him the bull is sick. The master who already heard the conversation between the bull and the donkey, he ordered “Go and hitch the donkey to the plow for the plowing must go on.’ The master said to himself, “Here now is your lesson!”
Throughout the day, the donkey, who had only intended to help his friend, found himself compelled to do the bull’s task. When night came and he was released from the plow, his heart was bitter and his legs were weary. His neck was sore where the bow had chafed it. He was angry and regretful for giving an advice to the bull.
“The farmer again lingered in the barn to listen.
The bull who enjoyed the leisure that day said to the donkey, ‘You are a good friend. I thank you very much. Because of your wise advice I have enjoyed a day of rest.’
Then he added, “Tomorrow I will again follow your advice.”
The donkey said, “I am like many simplehearted one who wants to help a friend, but I ended up doing your task! Tomorrow, you draw your own plow, for I heard the master told the servant to send for the butcher if you were sick again. I wish he would, for you are a lazy fellow.’
Since then, the two animals did not talk to each other and became friend no more.
Morale of the story
The morale of the story is that if you would like to help a friend or family member, you have to make sure that the burden will not be put on you.
True to life application
As promised, here is the life application of this story.
Marie is a household helper for an aging lady in Hong Kong. So far, her work is not so difficult and was able to go out during weekends and meet some new friends. Being new, she doesn’t know much of the lifestyles of other Pinays in the city. During her second month, one of her new found friend, Sheila, asked for a help. Sheila said that her visa is almost finished and she cannot get a loan. She badly needed money for her family back in the Philippines. So she asked Marie to be the guarantor since she is new and her visa is long enough for the loan. The loan was granted, the amount is about equivalent to six month salary and it will be paid back in one year.
Unfortunately, the lady that Marie is taking care of died after her third month and was given by her employer to find a new sponsor. She can stay for another month while looking for a new employer. One month passed, but she was not able to find any offer. She was obliged to go back to the Philippines.
Marie tried again to apply for abroad, but alas, luck runs out for her. She ended up no work despite the report for the rate of unemployment is only eight percent in the Philippines. She is now one of the reserves of college graduates with diplomas hanging in wall. Well, I don’t know how they count a Filipino citizen to be employed, but my guess is that even the “pulot-bote at basurero” in Smokey Mountain are counted as employed. Of course, that’s my only guess. If you want to make sure of it, better ask the bureau that’s responsible for that matter.
After twelve months of unemployment, Marie received a letter with a return address in Hong Kong. She thought this might be one lucky day and that one of her applications while in Hong Kong has answered. When she opened the letter, to her surprise, it’s a credit collection letter for the loan where she is the guarantor. She sat down, eyes filled with tears. After the trials that she’s been through with her bad experiences, another big blow hit her. She was obliged to pay for the loan she guaranteed.
And where is Sheila? Well, she’s still roaming around looking for another Marie to devour. So just take care, you may bump on her anytime soon.
So if you would like to help a friend or anyone else, make sure the burden will not be pass on to you.
I hope you enjoyed reading. But before I close this article, let me ask you, what experience have you encountered that resembled this true to live application? Comment on this post or send me an email.