A Donkey to Market

A Donkey To Market

A Donkey to Market

Illustrated By: Emma Leeper

LONG AGO IN CAMBODIA there once lived a farmer and his son.  Together they raised a baby donkey calf that grew into a handsome, plump donkey.

Marveling at the fine creature, the farmer said to his son, “Look at this beautiful donkey!  A creature as fine as this should fetch a very good price.  But all the farmers around here already have donkeys.  We'll have to take our donkey to a faraway village like Kompang where there aren't many donkeys.  There we'd get the price he's worth.  But Kompang is far and the journey could sap our donkey's strength - by the time we got there, who knows what price he would fetch?"  The father and son went back and forth, and finally decided on a plan.

"But Kompang is far away and the journey could sap our donkey's strength."

The two of them got hold of the donkey, fastened each pair of its feet together with rope, and passed a pole between the pairs of feet.  The father lifted one end of the pole onto his shoulder, and the son lifted the other end onto his shoulder. In this way, the two of them would carry the donkey.  And that is how they set off to Kompang, where they hoped to get an excellent price.

On their way, they were seen by villagers who were much amused to see such a sight. They burst into laughter and cried out, “Look! Did you ever see such a thing?  Two men CARRYING a donkey!” They called out, “Old man!  People do not carry a horse or an ox.  People do not carry a donkey!  It is THEY that have to carry US on their backs!”

On hearing this, the father and son took down the donkey and untied it. The father said to the son, “We cannot both ride the donkey, for he isn't strong enough to carry us both. Ride alone on it and I will follow you.” And so the young man did.

As they were passing through another village, the young man was asked by a passer-by, “Where are you riding to, boy?”

“The village of Kompang,” said the boy.

Pointing to the father they asked, “And who is this old man behind you?”

“He is my father.” On hearing this, the villagers became angry and cried out, “What a selfish son you are!"

They pointed to the pair and said, "You're strong enough to walk and your father is not!  You had better get down at once and let your old father ride the beast.”

On hearing these sharp words, the young man promptly got down from the donkey and his father took his place to ride.  That is how the two of them kept going.  The young man walked behind the donkey and the father rode.

After some time, they came to a village where there was a well. A few young women had come to the well to gather water.

The young man walked behind the donkey and the father rode.

Seeing the handsome young man, the young women felt a great caring for him.  They were not happy to see an old man riding such a fine donkey, when such a handsome young man had to walk behind him, tired and hot.

They called out to the old man, “It is not fitting for you, old man, to ride such a young, fine donkey.  The one who is also young and strong should be the one to ride this donkey, not you!”

The father and son looked at each other.  “Again, we must be doing this wrong!”  They decided to both ride together on the donkey, the son in front and the father behind.  "That way," they said, "no one will get upset with us." Both riding the donkey, they went on their way. 

They decided to both ride together on the donkey, the son in front and the father behind.

After crossing some distance, the two of them reached a customhouse. The officer of the customhouse said, “Where are you going?”

“To Kompang to sell our donkey,” they said.

The officer said in a sharp tone, “You must know that your donkey is not strong enough to carry you both! Do you care nothing for the beast?  What's more, if you keep riding as far as Kompang the beast will get thin and its price will go down. How foolish you are! You should let that donkey walk!”

A Donkey To Market

The farmer and his son were again distressed.  They both got off the donkey and led it by a rope.

When they arrived at a field, the road ended. They had to cross the field to continue the road on the other side. The owner of the field who was working there cried out from a distance, “Walk carefully! My field is full of thorns, for it's not yet cleaned up."  The son stepped on a thorn and cried out, "Ow!"   The owner of the field saw their donkey. "What are you doing?" he called.  "You have a donkey, why don’t you ride it? Is the donkey your ruler? I've never seen anything so ridiculous!”

"What are you doing?" he called.  "You have a donkey, why don't you ride it?"

The father and son looked at each other. “"Whatever we do, someone has something to say about it!” At last they agreed to  travel as they see fit to do, "and put up with the blame as it comes."

And so the farmer and his son went on and reached the village of Kompang. There they sold the donkey for a very good price, and to a good family, too.  Then the two of them returned home without any more loss of time.

A Donkey To Market




  • Everyone had an opinion on the best way to get the Donkey and its owners to the town. Which do you believe was the best idea? Why?
  • Can you think of a time when lots of people gave you advice? How did you decide what to do?
Posted in Asia, Cambodia, Father's Day, Holidays, STORIES FOR KIDS, World Tales.

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