Home > Corporate Tales > The Donkey and the Carrot

The Donkey and the Carrot

Once upon a time, a traveling businessman was setting up camp for the night, when an old friend passed by. The businessman invited his friend to share dinner, and they got talking. After the first few pleasantries came the silence, when the friend looked around him. A few feet away from the campfire was a wagon – an oddly shaped wagon, for it had a carrot dangling at the far end. A donkey was standing near the bushes, apparently munching on the foliage.

“How come you use a donkey to pull your cart? And what’s the meaning of the carrot,” the friend asked.

The businessman’s eyes gleamed, and a wide smile broke upon his face. “So you noticed that, eh?”

“Well,” he said, “horses are very expensive in the first place – and cost a lot to manage too! This donkey – he doesn’t need expensive food and is very hardy. Poor fellow, he keeps pulling the cart in anticipation of reaching the carrot! Little does he realize the truth!”

The friend turned to look at the poor little donkey, who was still munching leaves.

But the donkey was not munching leaves at all – he was talking to a fox (an old friend), who was hiding behind the bushes (humans always confuse animal talk with munching, you see).

“Can’t you see how he’s fooling you,” asked the fox. “You will never get that carrot – all you will do is be that man’s beast of burden. Horses at least get treated better. He’s forgotten to tie you up; come on, take this chance and get your freedom.”

But the donkey smiled in return. “Do you think I don’t realize that the carrot is just a pipe dream? Oh, I know it too. You see that mountain in the distance? Beyond that is my village, where my family waits for me.

“If I try to go there myself, the tigers in the jungle will eat me. But with this man, I am safe. So until we reach my village, I will be his beast of burden. And I must pretend to fall for the carrot, lest he replace me with a trusty horse.

“You see my friend, he thinks that he is using me as a puppet, for his ends. But don’t forget – the puppet strings are tied to the master’s hands too.”

The fox, having understood the donkey, wished him a good night and went back to his home.

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