Heading to Saudi on Friday for a week of storytelling in Riyadh, courtesy of Authors Abroad.

The Disappearing Donkey

There was once a man who loaded up his donkeys with goods. He put them in a line and counted them out. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Then he climbed onto one of the donkeys and set off for town. But after a while it occurred to him that he had better look behind to make sure all the donkeys were still in line. To his horror he could only see nine donkeys. He got off and checked each donkey carefully but now there were indeed ten donkeys. Relieved he got back on his donkey and continued on his way. After he had ridden a while, he realised he should check again. Oh no one was missing again. He jumped down and ran back to line them up and check to see which was missing but there were ten after all. What was going on?!

After repeating this several times, it finally dawned on the man that every time he rode on a donkey, one of the others would slip off. So, he sighed and got down from his donkey.

β€œI will just have to walk,” he decided.

β€œIt is better to travel on foot and keep ten donkeys rather than to ride and lose one of them.”

And so he walked all the way to town.

This version by Nadia Jameel Taibah

Clive of Arabia