There was once a trader. His name was Ram. He sold salt and cotton. These he loaded on an ass and an ox and went from village to village. He put the lighter load of cotton on the ass and the heavier load of salt on the ox. The ox was certainly the bigger and stronger of the two.

The ox felt bad about the loads. `The ass and I walk the distances together,’ he said to himself, `and I am always given the heaver load.’

The man sometimes went to a village across a river. One day when crossing it, the ox sat down in the water. Some of the salt loaded on the ox dissolved away in the water. It made the load lighter. The trader thought the ox was ill. So he gently raised him, not caring for his loss.

When they were on the road again, the ox said to the ass, `My load too is light now! I served the master well. He was always cruel to me’.

`You did not do well, brother,’ replied the ass. `You are stronger than I and can carry a heavier load. Besides, we have to be faithful to our master. He cares for us and feeds us’.

But the ox only laughed at the ass. `You are a dull- witted fellow,’ he said.

A few days later they again passed the same way. The ox sat down in the water of the river once more. The trader lost most of his salt and was very angry. He had realized that the ox was playing a trick. So, the next time he came that way, he loaded the ox with cotton and the ass with the salt.

When they came to the river, the ox at once ran into the water and lay down. The dry cotton soaked up a lot of water. And the load became very heavy indeed.

The ox then tried to get up, thinking that a lot of salt may have gone. But it was the other way now. This load was so heavy that he had to strain very hard to stand up. Over that, the trader also gave him many hard blows.

When they were on the road again, the ass asked the ox, `how did you like a change of load, brother?’
The ox said nothing. He walked on painfully under his heavy load.

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