The Miller, his Son, and their Donkey

A miller, his young son, and their donkey were making their way into market, where the miller intended to sell the donkey. As they passed a house, a neighbour jeered at them. “What fools! See how they walk when they have a perfectly good donkey?”

So the miller, feeling embarrassed, had his son ride on the donkey. Later they passed a group of old men. “See?” said one of the men. “This goes to my point: the youth today have no respect for their elders. Here a tired old man is forced to walk while his young, lazy son rides at his side.”

Again embarrassed, the miller had his son dismount and sat upon the donkey’s back himself. Soon enough they came upon a group of wash women. “What a cruel old man!” said one of the women. “Riding so easy while his little son struggles to keep pace.”

So the miller had his son join him on the donkey and they rode together into town. There a man hailed them. “What a burden to place on a donkey! That’s too much weight. I’d say the pair of you are better suited to carry that donkey than he is to carry the pair of you.”

Hearing this, the miller and his son jumped off the donkey and hefted the unhappy beast up on their shoulders. They came to a bridge in the middle of the town and as they crossed the donkey became upset at the sound of the rushing water. The donkey kicked and bucked and fell out of the grasp of the miller and his son, tumbling down into the water and disappearing. Having nothing to sell, the miller and his son returned home empty-handed.

Financial Lessons:

  1. You need a good steer and sound advice when planning your finances, but listening to too much noise and not sticking to your plan, can derail you causing you to lose everything.
  2. Well-intentioned people will think they know what's best for you and offer advice based on their own experiences and emotions. Work with someone who has a more well-rounded experience who will truly listen to you to understand your own personal situation and requirements, before taking their advice on what you should do. 
  3. Be true to yourself, understand that missteps are still steps and failures are lessons learned. It is about the planning rather than the plan when it comes to your finances, you can always save up to buy another donkey if you drop the first one in the bloody river. 


Alfie Mullan, July 2019

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