It was twilight and Robin, the merchant was returning home from the market. He had put a heavy load of salt on his donkey’s back to sell it.
On the way, they reached a river. They had to cross the river over a narrow bridge. The donkey was old and tired and was carrying the load with great effort. Half way across the bridge, the donkey slipped and fell into the river and went Splash! Splash!
After much struggle, the merchant finally got him to the bank of the river. By then, most of the salt had dissolved in the water.
The donkey was delighted to find how much lighter his burden had become. He finished the journey very happily.
The next day, Robin went to buy another load of salt. This time, while crossing the river, he took special care to ensure that the donkey didn’t slip into the river.
However, the donkey had other plans for himself. Remembering what had happened the previous day, he purposely let himself fall into the water, and again got rid of most of his burden. The donkey’s happiness knew no bounds.
He now thought that he would do the same thing everyday and his work would become so much easier. When the same thing happened day after day, Robin understood the donkey’s trick. He thought of teaching him a lesson.
One day, instead of buying salt at the market, Robin loaded him with two great sacks of cotton. At the bridge, the donkey again tumbled over.
Robin told the donkey, “By now you have got used to tumbling in the river. Get up by yourself and come out.”
He stood still, watching the donkey trying to get up.
When he got up with great effort, the donkey was shocked to find it difficult to even stand on his feet. The wet cotton was ten times heavier than before. The donkey went home staggering and tottering, carrying the heavy load on his back.
Robin smiled at him and said, “From tomorrow, I am sure you will be more careful while crossing the bridge.”
Moral: You can’t fool everyone all the time!