The Donkey Drive

Even when you think player is always right you might want to consider this story about pleasing everybody.

A man and his son go to the market to sell a donkey.

They pass some travelers who laught at them. “How stupid, they are both walking and have a donkey! Why don’t they ride it?” Ashamed, the son asks his father to ride the donkey.

They pass another group of travelers who get angry at them. “Look at this cruel father! He sits on the donkey and makes his son walk. How cruel!”. Ashamed, the father and son swap places.

They pass yet another group of travelers who get even more angry at them. “What an ungratefull son! He sits on his donkey whereas his old father walks in the dirt! Such disrespect!” Ashamed once more, father and son decide to ride together.

They pass a last group of travelers who get angry as well. “Look at this poor donkey forced to carry those two fit people on his back. What a way to treat an animal!”. Ashamed, the father and son do not know what to do… How can they please everyone?

(I don’t know the author of this story, I’ve seen this on the Internet and if anyone knows the author, feel free to mention and I’ll link to them.)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. The solution is simple: sell the donkey :) He’s the cause of all that troubles ;J

  2. hmm. I read that story somewhere before. It turns out the father and the boy both carry the donkey tied to a pole and the donkey freaked out when they got to a bridge and it fell in the river….. O_o sad.

  3. Heh. Great comments folks. I still don’t know the author… and not sure how much the story is “modded”, but the point remains: you cannot please everyone, there’s always somebody who won’t like your game – and you just have to deal with it. And focus on those who like. Making the game moddable will satisfy some people, a really good point there.

  4. Yes “Mod” the donkey!
    I’m following that path.

  5. It’s not from the old testament, it’s a tale from “Mullah Nasrudin”, a mid-eastern myth :)

  6. Yes, it’s a fable, not from the old testament ;-) I heard a version that ended with the boy and the man both carrying the donkey – illustrates the lengths some people will go to please others, and forget what their own goals were in the first place.

  7. Since no one likes what they’re doing with the donkey, they should kill it, hide it, and never speak of it again. They should never try getting a donkey to market again. (joking)

    @Mike: Everyone would think it was worked hard and improperly. No one wants a broken-down donkey.

    If you spend too much time pleasing everyone, then eventually you will make more people unpleased at the fact that you are “wasting time”. “Just get the donkey/game to market already!” Perhaps if the father and son had put a little forethought into their venture, they would have rode to town in a cart. That way neither would be selfish, the donkey wouldn’t be mistreated, and everyone could see how valuable the father’s and son’s product is.

    Try thinking of the cart as a modifcation for the donkey. This “mod” allowed everyone to be pleased — even though they all had different concerns — with little or no work on the part of the father and son. Just like the father and son, maybe you should put a little fore-thought into your product: Would making your game mod-able help please more people or add value to it? Most likely (depending on the type of game though) you already some sort of game editor that you use to make your rooms/maps/worlds. It would require little to no work on your part to pass that onto the player.

    I know that if Oblivion wasn’t mod-able I would wait for some reviews and even the price to go down before buying it, but since it can be modded there is great value added to it for everyone, since each can make it pleasing to himself or herself in their own way. This also allowed the developers to get the game to market faster because some of their clients’ desires could be fulfilled by the clients themselves. Oblivion has become the first game I ever pre-ordered in my decade-long history of gaming — just because it was mod-able.

    “Mod” the donkey!

  8. Sounds like something from the old testament.
    I think they forgot why they were going to the market. They wanted to make profit from the donkey. So the best way was to have the donkey carry them both so buyers would see how fit the donkey is and they should forget what other people say.

  9. The internet doesn’t provide scientific knowledge only, which is great, if the question and the answer meet, like on this page.

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