Here’s an Aesop fable about a farmer, his son and their donkey.
Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Cause and Effect
Grade Level: Middle Elementary
“I shall have to sell that donkey of ours,” said a farmer to his son. “I cannot afford to keep him through the winter. I will take him to town this very morning to see if I can find a buyer. I want you to come with me.” In a little while the farmer, his son, and the donkey were on their way to town.
They had not gone far when they met some girls going to a feast. They were talking and laughing as they went along. One of them said, “Look at that man and boy walking with the donkey. Why doesn’t one of them ride it?”
The farmer heard what they said, and quickly made his son ride the donkey, while he walked along at its side.
After a while, they came to a group of old men who were talking seriously. “There,” said one, “I was just saying that boys and girls these days have no respect for adults. You see it is true in this case. See, that boy is riding while his father has to walk.”
“Get down, my son,” said the farmer, “and I will ride.” Then they went on their way.
They next met some women coming from town. “Why!” they cried, “Your poor little boy is nearly tired out. How can you ride and make him walk?”
So the farmer made his son ride on the donkey behind him.
They were now in town. A man coming down the street called to the farmer, “Why do you make your donkey carry such a heavy load? You can carry him better than he can carry you.”
At this the farmer and his son got off the donkey. They tied the donkey’s legs together, turned him over on his back; and began to carry him.
A crowd soon gathered to see the strange sight. As they were crossing a bridge, the donkey became frightened at the hooting of the crowd. He broke loose, and fell into the river.
The farmer was angry and ashamed. He said, “There! I have tried to please everybody and have only made a fool of myself. After this I shall do as I think best and let people say what they will.”
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the story:
Why did the farmer, his son and the donkey walk to town?
What made the farmer and his son both ride on the donkey?
What casued the donkey to fall into the river?
What lesson did the farmer learn?