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 nearby river-bank, early in the morning for washing. Further, during the day, he use to hand him over to his friend for a fixed amount. The friend happened to be a contractor, where he was utilised for transporting sand from the river bed to his construction site. 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 misdemeanours. But, he never complimented him for the good work that he did for him. Rather, he considered him to be the jinx of his life.

    One day Gopal a friend of Nankau came to stay with him for a few days. 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 dutifully?’

    Nankau ruefully replied, ‘arrey yaar! This donkey has been very inauspicious for me. Ever since he 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 now, 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, since you are unhappy with him. Why don’t you 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 turned out to be a kind master, and thereon, he looked after the donkey quite well.

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

    But in reality Nankau had only passed a couple of lacklustre months in the company of the mule. Who as compared to the donkey looked tougher, but very reluctantly, did as much work, as the donkey used to do in a day. But in 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, his nemesis of life, was clearly missing, as the cursed 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 now 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 big time.

    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 gangrene and he died.

    The mishap left Nankau shell shocked. He now had no means of transporting the clothes, meant for washing. He was now constrained to do it on his own back. But then he had limitations, as he couldn’t carry too many clothes on his back. 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 a compensation for the accidental death of the mule. So overall, Nankau, was at a loss, of a lifetime.

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

    So he decided to visit his learned friend Gopal for answers. In Gopal’s house, he was once again face-to-face with his nemesis, the donkey, standing there, in a healthy and happy state. Gopal no doubt was taking good care of the donkey. Nankau, narrated the sequence of misfortunes to Gopal.

   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 in life is to look for the hidden donkey within you, before you start cursing any other donkey outside you. Moreover, you are just a human being, and human beings are bound to make mistakes. So if at all, you need to blame anyone for your mistakes, blame the donkey in you. And for that, keep the donkey alive in you. So that you don’t have to look for a donkey outside, just like this donkey whom you kept cursing.

    With this Nankau had got the clarion 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 the one outside you.

By Kamlesh Tripathi



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Short stories and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; Indica, 15.8.20; The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; Happy Days, November 15, 2020; The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15,2020;




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