We ought to help each other, wise men say:
An Ass forgot this motto, one fine day.
I know not how our beast ignored the rule,
For he′s an amiable, good-natured fool.
A trusty Dog so gravely paced along,
The master took his nap at even-song:
The Ass began to roam about and feed,
And found, at last, a rank and savoury mead.
There were no thistles,—that he must endure:
One must not be too much an epicure.
The feast was still not bad: while aught remains;
′Twould pass for once, the air′s fresh on these plains.
The Dog, half dead with hunger, said, at last,
"My dear companion, all this time I fast.
Stoop down a bit, and let the panniers fall;
I′ll take my dinner out." No word at all
The Ass vouchsafed, fearing to lose a bite;
At length he deigned to answer the poor wight:
"Friend, when your master rouses from his nap,
He′s sure at once to call you on his lap,
And give you a good meal." A Wolf, just then,
Ran forth, half famished, from his forest den.
The Ass called loudly to the Dog to aid;
The Dog stood still. "My friend," he quickly said,
"Fly till your master wakes—he′ll not be long;—
Run fast. If caught, avert the coming wrong
With a hard kick, and break the wretch′s jaw:
They′ve shod you lately, and you′re right in law.
Mind, stretch him flat." The Dog spoke wise and well.
But the Wolf choked the Ass, and down he fell.
Conclusion:—We should always help each other;
And every man help carry his lame brother.