The Ass and His Masters

An Ass worked under many masters, each worked him harder than the last. He decried ever leaving the first as the last was a tanner who will take his hide.

Tis madness and folly to appeal to providence and nature.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

An ass, belonging to an herb-seller who gave him too little food and too much work made a petition to Jupiter to be released from his present service and provided with another master. Jupiter, after warning him that he would repent his request, caused him to be sold to a tile-maker. Shortly afterwards, finding that he had heavier loads to carry and harder work in the brick-field, he petitioned for another change of master. Jupiter, telling him that it would be the last time that he could grant his request, ordained that he be sold to a tanner. The Ass found that he had fallen into worse hands, and noting his master’s occupation, said, groaning: “It would have been better for me to have been either starved by the one, or to have been overworked by the other of my former masters, than to have been bought by my present owner, who will even after I am dead tan my hide, and make me useful to him.”

JBR CollectionJBR Collection (Jupiter and The Ass)

A certain Ass that belonged to a gardener, was weary of carrying heavy burdens, and prayed to Jupiter to give him a new master. Jupiter granted his prayer, and gave him for a master a tile-maker, who made him carry heavier burdens than before. Again he came to Jupiter, and besought him to grant him a milder master, or at any rate, a different one. The god, laughing at his folly, thereupon made him 0ver to a tanner. The Ass was worked harder than ever, and soon upbraided himself for his stupidity. “Now,” said he, “I have a master who not only beats me living, but who will not spare my hide even when I am dead.”

1001Iuppiter et Olitoris Asinus

Asinus olitoris, aegre sustinens laborem quo herus eum premebat, conqueritur de eo apud Iovem; supplicat alium sibi dari. Exaudit Iuppiter; iubet figulo veneat. Mutatur herus, sed non minuitur labor; immo augescit; semper lutum, tegulae, lateres, imbrices, dorso portandae. Iterum ad Iovem; Iuppiter, oratoris importunitate victus, dat coriarium. Statim expertus eum, omnibus quos unquam habuerat longe crudeliorem, apud se lamentans dicebat, “Heu me miserum, ut omnia mihi in deterius cedunt. Nam in eum incidi dominum, qui vivo non parcit, nec mortuo; ipse enim ubi corpus meum flagris exhauserit, in fine excoriabit.”

Perry #179