The Ass, pp.15-16.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

IS a beast of burden, undoubtedly much serviceable to mankind. Of greater strength comparatively than most animals of his size, he bears fatigues with patience, and hunger with apparent cheerfulness. A bundle of dried herbs, a thistle on the road, will suffice him for his daily meal, and he compensates with the clear and pure water of a neighbouring brook (on the choice of which he is particularly nice) the want of a better fare. Our treatment of this very useful animal is both wanton and cruel, and most ungrateful, considering the great services he renders us at a little expence. His ears, which are of an uncommon length, are generally mutilated, and he is thus deprived by man of that which nature had intended for ornament and use. He is generally of a dun colour, and wears the form of a cross on his back and shoulders. Antiquity had a great regard for this animal. Jacob in his prophecy, compares his son Issachar, and Homer, the great Ajax, to an Ass. Whether he is a degenerated species from the Zebra or some other wild creatures, whose original race has entirely disappeared from the surface of the globe, through the slavish habits of domesticity, remains still to be decided; he lives nearly to the same age as the horse; and his female’s milk has often proved a good remedy against consumptions. We cannot deny, however, that he is often found very stupid, sluggish and obstinate. 

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