Washerman’s donkey and the dog [Hitopdesh Katha]

Written by Swati Joshi

August 17, 2019

Once upon a time, there was a village. There lived a washerman with his family. He also had two pet animals. One was a Dog and the other was a Donkey. Both the animals were serving this washerman for years. The Dog accompanied the washerman wherever he went and he was also the guard of his master’s house. The Donkey assisted the washerman in his routine work. He used to help him in carrying the stack of clothes on his back from home to the river and back.

The washerman had given them a shade for sleeping in his courtyard. Though both were serving their master quite whole-heartedly, the washerman never showed any love in return.

It was one of the usual nights when everyone was sleeping after a busy day. A thief got into the house silently. The Dog sensed that someone had entered the premises, but he didn’t bark.

On seeing this, the Donkey asked the Dog, “Couldn’t you see that a thief has managed to break into the house? What are you waiting for, you should awake our master.”

The Dog answered, “It’s none of your business. Don’t tell me about my duties; I know how to guard my master’s house. I’ve been doing it for long, but the master hasn’t appreciated it in years. He has never cared for me.
Haven’t you noticed that he hasn’t fed us properly since last few days? He doesn’t value me so, I’m not going to help him today. When the thief will steal all his prized possessions, then only he’ll know how worthy I am.” 

The Donkey stood awestruck on hearing this. He distressfully told the Dog that it was not the time to complain and he must bark to awake their master.

The dog denied it. The Donkey yelled, “O you disgusting fool, you’re failing your master when he requires you the most.

But, I am not ungrateful, I know my duties very well. I’ll wake him up.” 

The Donkey hee-hawed in an ear-splitting voice. It woke up the washerman. The thief had already run away on hearing the Donkey braying a loud. So, when the washerman came and looked out, he could see no one around. He got very angry at the donkey because his sleep was disturbed due to the stupid animal. The washerman beat up the Donkey very badly with a stick.

The Dog was watching all this sitting quietly. Uttering to himself, he said, “Stupid fellow! Should have minded his own business.”

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Unsolicited advice doesn’t work most of the time. It’s always better to mind your own business as not everyone is worthy enough to understand your point. There are mean people like the Dog was in the story who can put you in trouble when advised without being asked for.
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