A Dressed-Up Donkey

There was once a merchant who used a donkey to carry his wares. To avoid having to pay for the donkey's fodder, the merchant put a lion-skin on the donkey and then turned the donkey loose in the fields. The farmers were afraid of this “lion” and thus the donkey was able to eat his fill.
One of the farmers, though, heard the “lion” braying like a donkey. The farmers then beat the donkey and stole the lion-skin.
The merchant later found the donkey's body in the field. “That foolish donkey should have kept his mouth shut!” he said sadly.

Inspired by: The Jataka, translated by W.H.D. Rouse.
Notes: This is the Sihacamma Jataka. A similar story also appears in Aesop's fables: The Donkey in the Lion's Skin.

Here is an illustration by John Batten:

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