Short Stories » The Donkey on Wheels
The Donkey on Wheels
"THERE was once a poor little donkey on wheels. It had never wagged its tail, or tossed its head, or said, “Hee-haw!” or tasted a tender thistle. It always went about, anywhere that anyone pulled it, on four wooden wheels, carrying a foolish knight, who wore a large cocked hat and a long cloak, because he had no legs. Now, a man who has no legs, and rides a donkey on wheels, has little cause for pride; but the knight was haughty, and seldom remembered his circumstances. So the donkey suffered sorely, and in many ways.
One day the donkey and the knight were on the table in front of the child to whom they both belonged. She was cutting out a little doll's frock with a large pair of scissors.
"Mistress," said the knight, "this donkey tries my temper. Will you give me some spurs?”
"Oh, no, sir knight," the child answered. “You would hurt the poor donkey; besides, you have no heels to put them on."
“Cruel knight!" exclaimed the donkey. “Make him get off, dear mistress; I will carry him no longer."
“Let him stay," said the child, gently; “he has no legs, and cannot walk."
“Then why did he want spurs?”
"Just the way of the world, dear donkey; just the way of the world."
“Ah!" sighed the donkey, “some ways are very trying, especially the world’s;“ and then it said no more, but thought of the fields it would never see, and the thistles it would never taste.