The Ass and the Lap Dog

There were an ass and a lap dog who belonged to the same master. The ass was tied up in the stable, had plenty of corn and hay to eat, and was as well off as an ass could be. The little dog was always sporting and gamboling about, caressing and fawning upon his master in a thousand amusing ways, so that he became a great favorite, and was permitted to lie in his master's lap.

The ass, indeed, had enough to do; he was drawing wood all day and had to take his turn at the mill at night. But while he grieved over his own lot, it galled him more to see the lap dog living in such ease and luxury.

Thinking that if he acted a like part to his master, he should fare the same, he broke one day from his halter and, rushing into the hall, began to kick and prance about in the strangest fashion. Swishing his tail and mimicking the frolics of the favorite, he upset the table where his master was at dinner, breaking it in two and smashing all the crockery. Nor would he stop until he jumped upon his master and pawed him with his rough-shod feet.

The servants, seeing their master in no little danger, thought it was now high time to interfere. Having released him from the ass' caresses, they so belabored the silly creature with sticks and staves that he never got up again. As he breathed his last, he exclaimed, "Why could not I have been satisfied with my natural position, without attempting, by tricks and grimaces, to imitate one who was but a puppy after all!"