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disagreed with all the men.
The old farmer said, ¡°Well, the women would
come up and say something about how nice my
wife looked or how pretty her dress was, so I¡¯d
nod my head in agreement.¡±
¡°And what about the men?¡± the minister asked.
¡°Well,¡± he said, ¡°they all wanted to know if the
mule was for sale.¡±
A Farmer & His Mule
A farmer loved his mule, as he provided the only
way the farmer could get his produce to market.
During the harvest season, he would get up early
in the morning and load up the old mule, which
he called Buck. It was a strong animal and he was
proud of the weight Buck could carry.
The people at the market loved the farmer¡¯s pro-
duce and he usually sold all that Buck could carry.
He would come home at the end of the day and
show his wife the money that he had made. They
made good money and had a good life.
Every night before bed, the farmer gave Buck a
good grooming, the best oats money could buy
and the cleanest water. He would talk to him and
he loved seeing the healthy spark in Buck¡¯s eyes
and the gleam of his coat.
His kids thought he was crazy for attending to an
animal in this way. The farmer saw it another way.
He saw that his family¡¯s livelihood depended on
Buck; the better he treated him, the better their
life would be.
Now there was one day at the marketplace when
a friend of his had a suggestion. He told the farm-
er that he could be making a lot more money if he
didn¡¯t treat his mule so extravagantly. It was true.
The farmer spent more than most would on feed
for Buck. He spent more time than most would to
take care of him. And he spent more time than
most would checking his teeth and his ears and
his hooves.
¡°Why are you wasting all this time and money
on this miserable animal?¡± his friend admonished
him. ¡°Don¡¯t you see how much more money you
could be keeping for yourself? How much more
comfortable you could live?¡±
The farmer thought, he could buy his wife the
new cooking pot that she wanted. She deserved
that didn¡¯t she? And didn¡¯t she want a new bed
So the farmer thought that he would give his
friend¡¯s suggestion a try. The next day he fed
Buck a little bit less.
Sure enough after a few days he did notice he had
more money in his pocket. His friend was onto
something! So he reduced the feed even more.
And he started to buy the less expensive oats.
And why should he stay up later grooming this
animal? And why should he go to such lengths to
make sure that a mule has better water than his
own children can enjoy...
This went on for days and weeks. The farmer
liked the money he was making. He liked the way
it made him feel. And he bought his wife that new
pot and started saving for a new bed.
Early one morning, the farmer didn¡¯t find the mule
standing and ready for work. He searched and
found him still lying down. Enraged the farmer
gave him a kick.
The Reading Room
2020 June/July
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
Treasures From The Inbox
If you get email, you
get stuff. Sometimes
it is spam, sometimes
it is a true gem.
Here is one of those
gems worth sharing:
An old country farmer had a wife who nagged
him unmercifully. From morning till night she
was always complaining about something.
The only time he got any relief was when he was
out plowing with his old mule.
One day, when he was out plowing, his wife
brought him lunch in the field. He drove the old
mule into the shade, sat down on a stump and
began to eat his lunch.
Immediately, his wife began nagging him again.
Complain, nag, complain, nag - it just went on
and on.
All of a sudden, the old mule lashed out with
both hind feet, caught her smack in the back of
the head. Killed her graveyard dead on the spot.
At the funeral several days later, the minister
noticed something rather odd. When a woman
mourner would approach the old farmer, he
would listen for a minute, then nod his head
in agreement; but when a man mourner ap-
proached him, he would listen for a minute, then
shake his head in disagreement.
This was so consistent that the minister decided
to ask the old farmer about it. So after the fu-
neral, the minister spoke to the old farmer and
asked him why he nodded his head and agreed
with the women but always shook his head and
The Farmer and the Old Mule
regain some strength. They were late to the
market and sold almost nothing.
When they arrived home, the farmer¡¯s wife was
worried. They were much later than usual. And
she was dismayed at the few coins the farmer
had gained all day. He sat down and put his
head in his hands and cried:
¡°I let a friend in town convince me I was spend-
ing too much on Buck. I have been feeding him
less and that¡¯s why we¡¯ve gained more recently.
But I was neglecting the very gift that our family
relies on for our livelihood!¡±
¡°I will never let that happen again.¡±
¡°Come on, Buck! We have to get going!¡±
The mule struggled to his feet. You could see
the poor creature¡¯s ribs and his breathing was
shallow. The farmer didn¡¯t seem to notice. He
loaded it again with produce, more than usual
this time, and they started off for the market.
They had gone about a quarter of the distance
when the mule¡¯s legs gave out. He collapsed
into the dust on the road.
The farmer hit him with the reins. He kicked
its sides, but Buck would not move. The
farmer fell to his knees.
¡°Why me? Why am I stuck with such an ani-
mal as this!¡±
But when he looked at Buck, he suddenly
noticed the spark in his eyes was gone. And
he looked at his coat which he used to groom
with such care. It was matted and blistered.
¡°Oh my God, what have I done?¡±
He jumped up and ran to a nearby stream for
water. He ripped open a bag of oats Buck was
carrying on his back. With his bare hands, he
slowly fed him the oats and gave him water.
¡°I¡¯m so sorry Buck,¡± he cried.
It was late in the day when Buck began to
The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just be-
fore putting him into the box.
¡°There are 5 things you need to know,¡± he told
the pencil, ¡°before I send you out into the world.
Always remember them and never forget and
you will become the best pencil you can be.¡±
¡°One: You will be able to do many great things,
but only if you allow yourself to be held in some-
one¡¯s hand.¡±
¡°Two: You will experience a painful sharpening
from time to time, but you¡¯ll need it to become a
better pencil.¡±
¡°Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes
that you might make.¡±
¡°Four: The most important part of you will al-
ways be what¡¯s inside.¡±
¡°And Five: On every surface you are used on,
you must leave your mark. No matter what the
condition, you must continue to write.¡±
The pencil understood, promised to remember
and went into the box with purpose in its heart.
Now replace you in the place of the pencil.
Always remember the 5 things and never forget.
Then you will become the best person you can
Parable Of The Pencil
America Strong
¡°There are three kinds of men.
The one that learns by reading. The
few who learn by observation. The
rest of them have to pee on the
electric fence for themselves.¡±
- Will Rogers