It happened once upon a time that two donkeys fell into conversation, and naturally began to complain of their difficult lives.
“My master overloads me,” said one.
“Mine too,” said the other.
“Huge, heavy sacks across my back, so that I can hardly walk,” the first one continued.
“Exactly the same for me,” agreed the other donkey. “But let me tell you a trick I learned.”
“What is that?”
“Keep your eye open for a stream, a strong, fast-flowing one, if possible. Once my master loaded me up with sacks of salt – it felt like I was carrying a mountain! And we came to just such a stream as I am telling you of, and he hauled me across it, but in the middle, where the stones were round and slippery, my hooves slipped and I fell.”
“It must have been painful. My sympathies,” said the first donkey.
“None needed,” said the second donkey. “Because when I fell, the water began to wash away the salt, and by the time my master dragged me to my feet again, the load was almost gone! That is why I say, look for a good stream, and your burden will be lightened.”
“Thank you, brother, for your wisdom,” said the first donkey.
And in fact it happened that the very next day, the master of the first donkey loaded him very heavily, and took him along a track that obliged them to cross a stream. The stream was strong, and following the advice of his friend, when the donkey came to the middle of the crossing, he threw himself sideways into the water.
Unfortunately, though, he was not loaded with salt. He carried enormous sacks of wool, and when they became wet, the weight was so great that the donkey was dragged away, and never seen again.