Once upon a time there lived a dhobi (washerman) in a small village. There were nearly a hundred houses in the village. The dhobi had to collect dirty clothes from the houses. He had to wash them in the river. He would then press them and deliver them back to the houses. The dhobi had a donkey to help him carry the clothes.
The dhobi was lazy. He did not wash the clothes regularly. He would often not go to work. Therefore, he did not get sufficient money. Thus, he was very poor. Because of his poverty, he could not give good food to the donkey. The donkey had become weak and thin. But he loved the donkey very much. He wished to give good food to the donkey.
One day when the donkey was carrying the washed clothes, it became sick and could not walk. Unable to move further, the famished animal lay down on the road with the bundle in its back. The dhobi was much worried. He decided that he had to find a means to feed the donkey.
One day while he was going into the forest along with his donkey, he saw a tiger lying under a shade. He was terribly afraid. He stood still there for sometime frozen in fear. Soon, he realized that there was no movement in the tiger. He walked slowly and went near the tiger. To his relief, he found that the tiger was dead.
The dead tiger was very beautiful. A new idea came to him to feed his donkey for free. The dhobi removed the tiger’s skin carefully. He returned home.
The next evening he took the tiger’s skin. He put it on the donkey and covered the donkey completely. From a distance, the donkey would look exactly like a tiger. “No one would dare disturb a tiger in the field”, he thought. In the darkness, he took the donkey to a field outside the village and sent it inside.
The donkey was very happy. It had plenty of food. It ate to its heart’s content and returned home early in the morning. The dhobi removed the tiger’s skin and master and donkey went about their daily business of collecting clothes for washing. The dhobi was very happy to see that his donkey could get good food. The dhobi congratulated himself for being so clever.
The next morning when the owner of the field woke up, he was shocked to see his crop destroyed. The next night, the donkey went to the neighbouring field and feasted again on the crops there. The next morning, the owner was also stunned to see his crops destroyed. This was repeated in other fields of the locality.
The farmers were in a state of despair. Their crops were being destroyed. They would suffer great loss at the time of harvest and would be ruined if this unknown animal continued to devour their precious crops. They decided to put an end to this menace.
The next night, the farmers banded together and lay in wait around the fields. They were determined to catch the animal which was causing this havoc.
In the moonlight, the farmers could see a creature moving about in the field. The farmers moved closer to pounce on it and beat it so severely that it would never again enter their fields. As they went closer, a shiver ran through their spines. What they saw in front was a “tiger”. They ran back to their home as fast as their legs could carry them. The donkey happily unaware of the fright it had given to the farmer gorged on the crops.
This continued for some more days, every night the farmers would helplessly watch the “tiger” in the field. They felt it strange that a tiger would devour plants but were too scared to go near and investigate. In the meanwhile, the donkey had grown plump. The dhobi was happy at how clever he had been. He had solved the problem of feeding the donkey.
A few days later, the farmers were again watching helplessly as the donkey was grazing at their fields. The donkey too was happy eating. Suddenly, he heard a braying sound. It was a sound made by a she-donkey. The donkey was excited and started braying in joy. The farmers soon found out that they had been fooled all along. Furious at their loss and the deception, the set upon the donkey and beat it with sticks. They then looked closely and found that the donkey was the dhobi’s.
They now understood the trick played by the dhobi. The next day they found him in his house, beat him black and blue and drove him out of the village. The dhobi had lost his livelihood and walked with his donkey away from the village in sadness.
Children, this story teaches us not to be lazy. A Lazy mind is the devil’s workshop. A lazy mind thinks of wrong things as it does not want to work hard. Trying to get something the wrong way will bring us disgrace and loss in the long run.