When a Mule was happy he thought his parent was a spirited Horse. The next day he was put to work and realized he was only a Mule.
A bragging fool raised up is only ashamed of his father.
Aesop For Children (The Mule)
A Mule had had a long rest and much good feeding. He was feeling very vigorous indeed, and pranced around loftily, holding his head high.
“My father certainly was a full-blooded racer,” he said. “I can feel that distinctly.”
Next day he was put into harness again and that evening he was very downhearted indeed.
“I was mistaken,” he said. “My father was an Ass after all.”
Be sure of your pedigree before you boast of it.
A mule, frolicsome from lack of work and from too much corn, galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself: “My father surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own child in speed and spirit.” On the next day, being driven a long journey, and feeling very wearied, he exclaimed in a disconsolate tone: “I must have made a mistake; my father, after all, could have been only an ass.”
Samuel Croxall (The Mule)
A MULE, which was well fed, and worked little, grew fat and wanton, and frisked about very notably. And why should not I run as well as the best of them? says he: it is well known I had a horse to my father, and a very good racer he was. Soon after this, his master took him out, and being upon urgent business, whipped and spurred the Mule, to make him put forward; who beginning to tire upon the road, changed his note, and said to himself, Ah! where is the horse’s blood you boasted of but now? I am sorry to say it, friend, but indeed your worthy sire was an Ass, and not a Horse.
However high their blood may beat, one may venture to affirm those to be but mongrels, and asses in reality, who make a bustle about their genealogy. If some in the world should be vain enough to think they can derive their pedigree from one of the old Roman families, and being otherwise destitute of merit, would fain draw some from thence; it might not be improper upon such an occasion to put them in mind, that Romulus, the first founder of that people, was base-born, and the body of his subjects made up of outlaws, murderers, and felons, the scum and off-scouring of the neighbouring nations, and that they propagated their descendants by rapes. As a man truly great shines sufficiently bright of himself, without wanting to be emblazoned by a splendid ancestry; so they, whose lives are eclipsed by foulness or obscurity, instead of showing to an advantage, look but the darker for being placed in the same line with their illustrious forefathers.
Thomas Bewick (The Mule)
A Mule, which was pampered up and easily worked, became plump, sleek, and in high condition, and in the height of his wantonness, would scamper about from hill to dale in all the wildness of unbridled restraint. Why should not I, said he to himself, be as good a racer as any horse whatever? My father, whose pedigree was well known, was one of the best of them; do not I resemble him in every respect? While he was indulging his vanity in reveries of this kind, his master having occasion to mount him upon urgent business, put him upon his speed, and, ere long, was obliged to use both whip and spur to force him to push forward. Thus jaded and tired, he muttered to himself, Alas! I find now, I was mistaken in my pedigree, for my sire was not a Horse, but an Ass.
The man who has been brought up in ease and affluence, and pampered and anticipated in all his wants, little imagines what a figure he would make in the world, were his supplies cut off, and he were put to the trial to rub through its thorny mazes, and provide for himself. The children of the poor industrious honest man, when brought up like their parents, are put to a kind of school, such as the opulent it is feared can seldom form any conception of; and if the former, by their industry and abilities, rise above poverty, their enjoyments in life commonly surpass those who have been, without effort, upheld in every real as well as imaginary want. The sensible poor man does not trouble his head about his pedigree, but he knows that his descent must of course be as ancient as that of any man on earth; and that if he is respected in the world, it must arise solely from his own good conduct and merit. The man who has nothing to boast but the merely tracing back his ancestry, is building upon a hollow foundation. If indeed his ancestry have arisen to their high station by patriotic and virtuous means, and have deservedly maintained a high character for probity, worth, and honour, let him follow their example: if otherwise, all he can do or say will only prove him to be a mongrel, or an ass.
"The pride of family is all a cheat, "'Tis personal merit only makes us great."
JBR Collection (The Mule)
A Mule, well fed and worked but little, frisked and gambolled about in the fields, and said to himself, “What strength, what spirits are mine! My father must surely have been a thoroughbred Horse.” He soon after fell into the hands of another master, and was worked hard and but scantily fed. Thoroughly jaded, he now said, “What could I have been thinking about the other day? I feel certain now that my father can only have been an Ass.”
There was a favourite-mule, that was high fed, and in the pride of flesh and mettle, would still be bragging of his family, and his ancestors. My father (says he) was a coarser, and though I say it that should not say’t, I my self take after him. He had no sooner spoke the words, but he was put to the tryal of his heels, and did not only shew himself a jade; but in the very heat of his ostentation, his father fell a braying, which minded him of his original, and the whole field made sport on’t, when they found him to be the son of an asse.
A bragging fool that’s raised out of a dunghill, and sets up for a man of quality, is asham’d of nothing in this world but of his own father.
Gherardo Image from 1480
Mula et Imago Eius
Mula, cum in flumine suam imaginem conspexisset, forma et strenuitate equis se cedere negabat. Caput igitur quassans et iubas iactans, incitabat sese ad cursuram. Aderat et asinus illis in locis, qui forte tum rudere coepit. Quo sonitu audito atque agnito, mula “Profecto,” inquit, “pater meam castigat superbiam.”