Friday, November 19, 2010

A Botswana Parable: The Old Man and the Donkey

Heard this parable today and enjoyed it.

One day a man and his child needed to go into town. They only had one donkey to use and so the old man put the child on the back of the donkey and led it along the path to town.

They soon encountered a woman from another village. "What are you doing?" she asked. "You are an old man. You shouldn't be walking in such heat. Let your child walk and you use the donkey."

The old man switched places with his child and they continued down the path. Soon enough, they bumped into a man along the way.

"What are you doing?" asked the man. "You let your young child walk in this heat while you rest and ride on the donkey. You are a bad father!"

Not wanting to be a bad father, the old man quickly picked up his child and they both rode on the donkey.

As they came close to town they encountered a young woman. "That poor animal," she cried. "You two can both comfortably walk and here you are over burdening this poor animal in the heat. You both should be ashamed."

The old man and his child got off the donkey and the man pondered what to do next.

The two entered town soon after, both struggling to carry the donkey. The people in town all fell about laughing at the man. They called him "stupid" and "crazy." "No one in their right mind carries a donkey," proclaimed one man. "It should be the other way around."

Ashamed, the old man and the child quickly returned to their village.

It just goes to show that you can't please everyone at all times and just because someone has an opinion, it doesn't mean that they are right.