There was once a lazy and a wicked dhobi (washerman) by the name of Nankau. He had an obedient and a long serving donkey at home. Whom he utilized, for transporting clothes to the banks of the nearby river, early in the morning for washing. Further, during the day he handed him over to his friend for a fixed amount. Who happened to be a contractor. Where, he was utilised for transporting sand from the river bed to his construction site. And, in the evening the listless and obedient animal used to return with his master. With bundles of washed clothes on his back. Devious Nankau, apart from making the donkey do all the work without any rest, even whipped him for small mistakes, and at times he even starved him for minor misdemeanors. But, he never complimented him for any good work. Rather, considered him as the jinx of his life.

    One day Gopal a friend of Nankau came to stay with him for a few days. And during that time he noticed how for no rhyme or reason Nankau whipped the donkey mercilessly and even cursed him loudly and that too quite often.

    One day Gopal asked Nankau. ‘My dear friend what on earth is the matter with you? As I always find you quite irritable, and you often keep whipping this poor soul in great anger for no fault of his. Why do you do this? Especially, when he is so obedient and does all your work?’

    Nankau ruefully replied, ‘arrey yaar! This donkey has been very inauspicious for me. Ever since it walked into my life I have been facing some problem or the other. Enough is enough. I now want to get rid of him, somehow. Even earlier, I tried to sell him but no one seemed interested. Maybe, because, I cursed and criticized him so much, in front of others that no one is ready to touch him even with a barge pole.’

    During his stay Gopal could assess the worth of the donkey. So, one day he told his friend, ‘brother, just in case you are unhappy with him. You could sell him off to me, and instead buy another one for yourself.’

    Nankau was delighted at this God gifted opportunity and didn’t want to lose it. So, he readily agreed, and sold the donkey to Gopal. Who happened to be a kind master and thereon he looked after the animal quite well.

    In the meanwhile Nankau bought a mule for himself. Thinking it will do more work, than the previous animal used to do. And, although, it had been a while since he had sold the donkey. Yet, he couldn’t forget the animal and often used to curse him for all the misfortunes in his life. But, now with the mule around he was hoping his luck would change and he will be a happy man.

    And by now Nankau had passed a couple of lacklustre months with the mule. Who, as compared to the donkey looked tougher, but very reluctantly did as much work as the donkey used to do. So, under the present scenario, Nankau didn’t have the wretched donkey, to curse and blame for his own failures each time things went wrong in his life. Therefore, the nemesis of his life was clearly missing, because the donkey was now someone else’s property. And the mule was too new to be held responsible for any ill luck. In other words he had no voodoo in life whom, he could have cursed for his misfortunes. And, he didn’t have the courage to blame and curse himself for his own mistakes, and this started worrying him beyond compare.

    One day when the mule was transporting sand from the river to the contractor’s site. The hind legs of the mule got stuck in the muddy waters of the river and as a result, it could not move. Soon, it slipped and fell, and fractured its leg, and within a few days the wound developed into gangrene and he died.

    Nankau was shell shocked at the mishap. He now had no means of transporting the clothes meant for washing, and was now constrained to do it on his own back. But then he had limitations. As he couldn’t carry too many clothes. So he started losing business. And, since the mule was now dead. He was also deprived of the daily rent that he used to get from the contractor. And that cheat of a contractor didn’t even bother to pay Nankau any compensation for the dead animal. So overall, he was at a loss of a lifetime.

    Suddenly, he realized, he now had no one to curse for his setbacks. Because, the ultimate anathema of his life—the donkey, stood sold. Therefore, it was not influencing his life anymore. So, the big question now in front of him was, who then was influencing his life if not the donkey?

    He decided to visit his learned friend Gopal for answers. Where, in his house, he once again found the nemesis of his life, the donkey, standing in a healthy and happy state. As Gopal was taking good care of him. Nankau, narrated the sequence of events to him.

   Gopal, first gave him a patient hearing and then said, ‘Dear Nankau, when I visited you last time. I knew you were a victim of your own circumstances. But you always wanted to play the victim card for every adversity that you came across in your life. For which you always wanted a villain whom you could blame and where this speechless donkey came in handy.

    But the real solution of life is to look for the hidden donkey within you, before you start cursing any other donkey outside. Moreover, you are just a human being, who is bound to make mistakes. So, if at all, you need to blame someone for your mistakes, blame the villain in you. And, for that, keep him alive. So that you don’t have to look for a villain outside, like this donkey.

    With this Nankau had got the message of life. He patted the donkey and returned home.

    Moral of the story: We often blame others for our own misfortunes which is not correct. When things start going wrong in your life confront the donkey that lies within you and don’t look for one outside.


By Kamlesh Tripathi


Share it if you like it


Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:


Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805


Our publications



Our publications


(Archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  


(Archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture)


(Launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2014)


(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. Book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)


Story of an Indian salesman who is lowly qualified but fights his ways through uncertainities to reach the top. A good read for all salesmen. Book launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in and Flipkart





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s