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The Horse and the Loaded Ass

The Horse and the Loaded Ass

An idle Horse, and an Ass laboring under a heavy burden, were traveling the road together. The Ass, ready to faint under his heavy load, entreated the Horse to assist him, and lighten his burden, by taking some of it upon his back. The Horse was ill-natured and refused to do it; upon which the poor Ass tumbled down in the midst of the highway, and expired. The countryman then took the whole burden, and laid it upon the Horse, together with the skin of the dead Ass.

Laziness often prepares a burden for its own back.

THE HORSE AND THE LOADED ASS.THE HORSE AND THE LOADED ASS.

An idle Horse, and an Ass labouring under a heavy burden, were travelling the road together; they both belonged to a country fellow, who trudged it on foot by them. The Ass, ready to faint under his heavy load, entreated the Horse to assist him, and lighten his burden, by taking some of it upon his back. The Horse was ill-natured, and refused to do it; upon which the poor Ass tumbled down in the midst of the highway, and expired in an instant. The countryman ungirted his pack-saddle, and tried several ways to relieve him, but all to no purpose: which, when he perceived, he took the whole burden and laid it upon the Horse, together with the skin of the dead Ass: so that the Horse, by his moroseness in refusing to do a small kindness, justly brought upon himself a great inconvenience.

APPLICATION.

Self-love is no such ill principle, if it were but well and truly directed; for it is impossible that any man should love himself to any purpose, who withdraws his assistance from his friends or the public. Every government is to be considered as a body politic; and every man who lives in it as a member of that body. Now, to carry on the allegory, no member can thrive better than when they all jointly unite in their endeavours to assist and improve the whole. If the hand was to refuse its assistance in procuring food for the mouth, they must both starve and perish together. And when those, who are parties concerned in the same community, deny such assistance to each other, as the preservation of that community necessarily requires, their self-interestedness, in that case, is ill-directed, and will have a quite contrary effect from what they intended. How many people are so senseless as to think it hard that there should be any taxes in the nation; whereas, were there to be none indeed, those very people would be undone immediately. That little property they have would be presently plundered by foreign or domestic enemies; and then they would be glad to contribute their quota, even without an act of parliament. The charges of supporting a government are necessary things, and easily supplied by a due and well proportioned contribution. But, in a narrower and more confined view, to be ready to assist our friends upon all occasions, is not only good, as it is an act of humanity, but highly discreet, as it strengthens our interest, and gives us an opportunity of lightening the burden of life.