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The Washerman’s / Dhobi’s Donkey and the Dog is an interesting story / tale from the collection of Hitopadesha Tales.


The Donkey and the Dog

This is another interesting story / tale from the Hitopadesha Collection. Once upon a time, there lived a Washerman in a village. He had kept a donkey and a dog to serve as his pets. The Dog used to guard his master’s house and escort him wherever he went. The Donkey used to carry stack of clothes on his back to and fro the river. Both of them slept in the washerman’s courtyard. Like this, they were leading their life under the kind shelter of the Washerman.

On one unfortunate night, when everyone was sleeping, a thief managed to get into the house. Even after seeing the thief, the Dog didn’t bark. When the Donkey saw the thief entering the house, he asked the Dog, “Dear Friend, Didn’t you see that a thief had entered the house? Why don’t you bark to awake our master?”

The Dog answered, “Mind your own business. Don't talk to me about my duties; I know how to guard my master. I have been guarding this house for long, but master doesn’t care for me. From the past few days, he doesn’t even feed me properly. He doesn’t know my worth. I won’t wake him up. When this thief will steal valuables from his house then only he will recognize my importance”.

The Donkey irritatingly said, “You fool! This is not the time to complain. This is the time for action. Be fast and do something to wake up the master”. The Dog replied angrily, “No. As he doesn’t care for me even I wont care for him”. The Donkey shouted, “O wicked creature, you are full of ingratitude towards your master. You are ignoring your duty just when you're required most. Fine, I will do your duty and wake him up”.

Hence, the Donkey brayed at the top of his voice which made the washerman to wake up. The thief quickly ran away from the scene. The Washerman looked around but could find anyone. He got furious at the Donkey who had disturbed his sleep. The Washerman thrashed the poor Donkey with a stick. The Donkey was left with pain for months.

Moral: It is always better to mind your own business.