Three Hundred Æsop's Fables/The Salt Merchant and his Ass

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A Pedlar, dealing in salt, drove his Ass to the sea-shore to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream, in passing which his Ass, making a false step, fell by accident into the water, and rose up again with his load considerably lighter, as the water melted the salt. The Pedlar retraced his steps, and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired. The Pedlar saw through his trick, and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing the knave, when he reached the stream, fell down on purpose, when the sponges becoming swollen with the water, his load was very greatly increased; and thus his trick recoiled on himself in fitting to his back a doubled burden.