How To Please Everyone

An illuminating mini-story from the very wise Benjamin Franklin:

“A certain well-meaning man and his son were travelling towards a market town, with an ass which they had to sell. The road was bad, and the old man therefore rid [rode], but the son went afoot. The first passenger they met asked the father if he was not ashamed to ride by himself and suffer the poor lad to wade along through the mire; this induced him to take up his son behind him. He had not travelled far when he met others, who said they were two unmerciful lubbers to get both on the back of that poor ass, in such a deep road. Upon this the old man gets off and let his son ride alone.

The next they met called the lad a graceless, rascally young jackanapes to ride in that manner through the dirt while his aged father trudged along on foot; and they said the old man was a fool for suffering it. He then bid his son come down and walk with him, and they travelled on leading the ass by the halter; till they met another company, who called them a couple of senseless blockheads for going both on foot in such a dirty way when they had an empty ass with them, which they might ride upon. The old man could bear no longer. My son, he said, it grieves me much that we cannot please all these people. Let us throw the ass over the next bridge, and be no farther troubled with him.”

Spotted here.

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