The Farmer, his Son and his Horse

A farmer who lives in the country says to his son: “Today is market day; let’s go to town to buy a few things that we need.” They decide to bring a horse with them in order to carry their purchases. They leave very early in the morning for the market: the horse without a load and they on foot. Along the road they come upon some men who are returning from town. Those men then say that neither the father nor the son seems very wise, for they are walking while the horse goes without a load. Upon hearing this, the father asks for his son’s opinion. The latter admits that the men are right and that, as the horse doesn’t have a load, one of them should mount it. So, the father orders his son to mount, and they continue on their way.

A little later they meet another group of men returning from the town. These men state that the father is crazy because, old and tired, he walks, while his son, so young and robust, rides on the horse. The father asks his son’s advice and the latter declares that, in effect, the men are right. And so the son gets down from the horse and the father gets on. Some minutes later other men who are returning from the market criticize the father. According to them a young boy so weak should not walk. Therefore the father has his son mount the horse and neither of the two walk then. Further on they meet other men who are also returning from the town and they also criticize the father as well as the son. They say: “How can a horse so scrawny carry two men so big and heavy?” The father asks his son what they should do in order not to be criticized any more and finally they reach the conclusion that the only alternative is to carry the horse.

So, father and son arrive at the market with the horse on their shoulders, but in spite of this, many criticize them.

Don Juan Manuel

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