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TITLE
The Ox and the Donkey
EXTERNAL ID
HC_GAELICSTORYTAPE_012
DATE OF RECORDING
1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
The Highland Council
ASSET ID
2346
KEYWORDS
oral tradition
folklore
stories
Gaelic
story telling
audio

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This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.

The Ox and the Donkey.

An ox and a donkey happened to be on the same farm in an eastern country. The poor ox had a really bad time of it, for he worked every day in the fields, from dawn till dusk. Not so the donkey, however. He could relax all day if he wished and he was dry and comfortable in the stable; it was only seldom that he had any work at all to do - just that now and again he would need to take his master to the town and back home.

One day the ox said to the donkey, "How on earth are you allowed to spend your life in such an easy manner, with nothing at all to do, while I am being worn out with work? Just look at how thin and wasted I am, while you are as fat as a seal and as glossy as a bottle. This situation is not right at all and it's time to put a stop to it."

The donkey turned gently in the straw, gave a little laugh and said, "You certainly have cause for complaint, my friend. You have far too much to do without a doubt. But I'll tell you what you'll do. You just pretend that you are not well and you will not be required to do any work at all ... ploughing or harrowing or drawing a cart."

The ox did exactly as his companion told him. Next morning he pretended that he was ill. As soon as the farmer appeared he began to complain and to groan; and he lay down on the floor as if he were not able to move. "It must be that the poor soul isn't well today", said the farmer to himself, "and it's little wonder. He is worn out with work. I'll let him have a rest today. But how on earth will I do the ploughing now? There's nothing for it but to put the donkey in the plough. It's time he was doing a little work in any case. He is far too fat."

Out to the fields the donkey was taken. He was yoked to the plough and had to start ploughing. He was engaged in that work all day, while the ox was quietly taking his ease in the stable. We may be sure that the donkey did not enjoy the day very much. Before nightfall came he was worn out with exhaustion and he determined that he was not going to have a day of that kind ever again.

As soon as he was let loose he went straight to where the ox was and he said to him "It's as well for you that I have sharp ears and that I am able to give you a warning. Do you know what I heard the farmer say to his wife today? 'If that ox doesn't get better soon I'm very much afraid that we'll have to slaughter him!'"

This terrified the ox. He was standing up in an instant and he thanked the donkey heartily for giving him such a useful warning. Next morning, when the farmer appeared, he no longer pretended that he was not well. He stood up without delay and set off willingly to work in the fields. In his own opinion he had a wonderful escape. The donkey had a quiet little laugh to himself while resting in the stable. "I did my very best to help him", said he, "but that didn't do him much good. There's no doubt at all that some creatures have to work hard. They can't escape from it."

This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'

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The Ox and the Donkey

1990s

oral tradition; folklore; stories; Gaelic; story telling; audio

The Highland Council

Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd (Cassette)

This story is recorded in Gaelic and the following is an English translation.<br /> <br /> The Ox and the Donkey.<br /> <br /> An ox and a donkey happened to be on the same farm in an eastern country. The poor ox had a really bad time of it, for he worked every day in the fields, from dawn till dusk. Not so the donkey, however. He could relax all day if he wished and he was dry and comfortable in the stable; it was only seldom that he had any work at all to do - just that now and again he would need to take his master to the town and back home.<br /> <br /> One day the ox said to the donkey, "How on earth are you allowed to spend your life in such an easy manner, with nothing at all to do, while I am being worn out with work? Just look at how thin and wasted I am, while you are as fat as a seal and as glossy as a bottle. This situation is not right at all and it's time to put a stop to it."<br /> <br /> The donkey turned gently in the straw, gave a little laugh and said, "You certainly have cause for complaint, my friend. You have far too much to do without a doubt. But I'll tell you what you'll do. You just pretend that you are not well and you will not be required to do any work at all ... ploughing or harrowing or drawing a cart."<br /> <br /> The ox did exactly as his companion told him. Next morning he pretended that he was ill. As soon as the farmer appeared he began to complain and to groan; and he lay down on the floor as if he were not able to move. "It must be that the poor soul isn't well today", said the farmer to himself, "and it's little wonder. He is worn out with work. I'll let him have a rest today. But how on earth will I do the ploughing now? There's nothing for it but to put the donkey in the plough. It's time he was doing a little work in any case. He is far too fat."<br /> <br /> Out to the fields the donkey was taken. He was yoked to the plough and had to start ploughing. He was engaged in that work all day, while the ox was quietly taking his ease in the stable. We may be sure that the donkey did not enjoy the day very much. Before nightfall came he was worn out with exhaustion and he determined that he was not going to have a day of that kind ever again.<br /> <br /> As soon as he was let loose he went straight to where the ox was and he said to him "It's as well for you that I have sharp ears and that I am able to give you a warning. Do you know what I heard the farmer say to his wife today? 'If that ox doesn't get better soon I'm very much afraid that we'll have to slaughter him!'"<br /> <br /> This terrified the ox. He was standing up in an instant and he thanked the donkey heartily for giving him such a useful warning. Next morning, when the farmer appeared, he no longer pretended that he was not well. He stood up without delay and set off willingly to work in the fields. In his own opinion he had a wonderful escape. The donkey had a quiet little laugh to himself while resting in the stable. "I did my very best to help him", said he, "but that didn't do him much good. There's no doubt at all that some creatures have to work hard. They can't escape from it."<br /> <br /> This story is from a collection of stories available on tape, with an accompanying book, under the title 'Am Bloigh Beag le Beannachd'