The Foolish Donkey Story in English

The Foolish Donkey story is one of the popular bedtime stories for kids in English. This is a short moral story, simple to narrate and understand. The origin of this foolish donkey story lies in African tales. 

Background of the foolish donkey story

In the olden days, merchants used to travel from village to village or town to town. For this, they used to rely on donkeys or bullock carts to transport their merchandise. 

In this story about the Foolish Donkey, you will see a salt merchant. He uses a foolish donkey as his vehicle to transport his salt bags. Let us move on to know what the story of this foolish donkey is about. At the end of the story, you will realize why the donkey is called as foolish donkey.


A long time ago, there lived a merchant with his wife in a village. He used to sell salt in the neighboring places to make his livelihood. He had a donkey for this purpose. It used to carry the bags of salt on his back and travel along with the merchant. 

The donkey was lazy. It always hated the same routine and boring work. It used to think that the merchant is making use of him but never gifted him nor appreciated him. But it was not right. The merchant always cared for it.

One day, both the merchant and the donkey were set on their routine travel. They were walking to the neighboring village to sell the salt. The donkey has bags of salt on its back. It thought, “Hmm..another day began!” Both of them were slowly walking. 

Then they came across a small river that has a very narrow bridge. The merchant was taking the donkey carefully. 


However, the donkey slipped into the river and all the bags of salt were wet by the river water. The merchant grabbed the donkey out of the river swiftly. But because of coming in contact with water, all the salt get dissolved. Thus, the bags on the back of the donkey were emptied.

When it raised again, the donkey found that the bags were as light as air! It could not understand what just happened.  On giving a little thought, it understood that it was water that made the bag light. It jumped with joy silently. However, the merchant was sad as he lost all his salt. He, along with the donkey, then returned home with disappointment.

The next day, again the merchant and the donkey set out for selling the salt. They were traveling to the same village as they were yesterday, again. Thus, they came across the bridge today also. The donkey got a bright idea. It wanted to get rid of the burden on its back. So, it pretended to be giddy and fell into the river. The merchant was surprised. 

Immediately he pulled the donkey out of the river. Today also he lost all the salt due to the donkey falling into the water. With nothing else to do, he returned home. That night, he discussed the issue with his wife. They both thought about it and came to an understanding that the donkey must have been doing this wantedly. They wanted to teach him a lesson.

The next day, the merchant loaded the donkey with bags of cotton! As soon as the bags were tied to its back, the donkey felt them very light. I thought, “Wow, what a surprise! The bags are light even without me falling into water. Now imagine if I fall into water, they might just vanish!”

Thinking so, it walked along with the merchant happily. Soon they reached the bridge again. Without wasting any time, the donkey fell into the river purposely. The merchant pulled it carefully up the bridge. But guess what! The bags on the donkey’s back are weighing like never before! The donkey was astonished. It could not understand why the bags on his back were weighing like a mountain. 

Foolish Donkey
Foolish Donkey

It had nothing to do but shut its mouth, bear the weight and walk silently along with the merchant.

With this incident, the foolish donkey got its lesson. It never did such foolish acts once again and listened to its master with care.

Moral of the foolish donkey story

The foolish donkey story shows funnily how one’s laziness can create pain. The donkey was too lazy to do the work assigned to it. It had no other problems. But it imagined that the merchant did not like him and created a misconception that his work is boring and wanted to escape it. This notion is wrong. Every one of us has a certain way of working. Without work, nothing comes for free. One should understand this clearly. The donkey failed to understand this and failed miserably. Finally, it proved itself to be a foolish donkey.

So, children from this foolish donkey story, you should remember not to be lazy. Do your work though it may be routine. Take the advice of your parents and teachers on how to do the work creatively and what else you can learn from the work. But you should never skip your duties. It will cause a loss to your growth only.

We hope you enjoyed this foolish donkey story. Explore our other range of moral stories for children in English. Share them with your friends and have a great time in storytelling with them!!

The Foolish Donkey Story Video