The King’s Jackass Minister . . . Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was noted for the many tales he frequently told when speaking. On one such occasion he told a story about a king who wanted to go on a hunting party. In preparation the king consulted the court’s minister if it was going to rain. He was assured that the hunt would not be dampened, but that it would be a sunny day.

As the royal party set out through the gate of the castle they met a farmer riding an ass. The farmer warned the king not to make the journey; that it was going to rain, but the king only laughed at the simple peasant. Very soon the floodgates of the heavens poured forth a torrent that thoroughly drenched the royal hunting party.

When the king returned to the castle he fired the court minister and sent for the farmer. He asked the simple farmer how he knew it was going to rain that day when the morning sky was sunny and cloudless. The farmer told him frankly, “I didn’t know. My ass has a way of knowing these things. It puts one ear forward when it is going to rain.”

So the king sent the farmer home to his farm a much richer man, having sold his ass to the king. The king then put the farmer’s jackass in the position of court minister.

Lincoln allowed that this was a great mistake on the king’s part. When asked why, President Lincoln replied, “Why, ever since that time, every ass wants a public office.”