Once upon a hot and sunny afternoon, an old man and his only grandson were resting and talking. They lived all by themselves on a big farm, where they worked and played together. The grandson was a good boy, but he was not always up to doing his share of the work.
If the grandfather asked him to go to the store for a quart of milk, the grandson would say, "I hurt my leg when I was fishing this morning." If the grandfather asked him to go out in the yard and rake the leaves, the grandson would say, "I can't find the rake."
On this day, the grandfather told the boy, "Go down to the barn, hitch up the mule, and then take him out to plow the north forty acres."
The boy was not looking forward to this job at all. The grandfather knew this, too, because he watched the boy walk real slow with his head hung low all the way down the road to the barn. What normally would be a quick trip turned out to take nearly five minutes.
When the boy finally reached the barn, the mule was standing very still with his head down in the hay. The boy thought he was eating, but that mule was watching the boy's every step.
The grandson walked right up to the old mule and said, "Come on, mule. Let's get going. Granddad says we have to plow the north forty."
The mule looked the boy straight between the eyes. Then he opened his mouth really wide, and out it came. "You tell your grandpa," snapped the mule, "that I'm not doing any work today."
The grandson jumped back, and his jaw dropped in surprise. Then he ran back home as fast as he could to find his grandfather. "Grand-dad!" yelled the boy. "That mule said he's not doing any work today!"
Another excuse, the grandfather thought. "You go back there and tell that mule that he WILL do his work today," said Grand-dad.
Are you curious how the mule reacted to that? Go to the next page to find out.
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