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The Miller, His Son and their Donkey

Region: Mediterranean, Greece

Author: Aesop

Original Language: Greek

Translator: Unknown

Illustrator: Eugen Sopko

Genre: Fables and Parables

Descriptors: donkeys; fathers and sons; journey; judgement; public opinion 

Age: 3-7 years old


In this classic Aesop’s fable, The Miller, His Son and their Donkey, Eugen Sopko enhances the telling of the story by adding his illustrations. Sopko was an artist born in Czechoslovakia who moved to Germany to teach art and illustrate children’s books. Many of the books that he illustrated are stories from the Brothers Grimm or Aesop’s fables.  The pictures in The Miller, His Son and their Donkey were created using soft watercolors in warm tones, and each page is paired with a short excerpt from the story revealing a new scene. In The Miller, His Son and their Donkey, all three set out on a journey; the miller is riding the donkey when someone scoffs at them and tells the miller that he should let his son ride since the boy is young and weak. So, they switch places. A little later, another person criticizes them, calling the son lazy for not letting his older father ride the donkey. So, they both ride the donkey but are rebuked by another person for being cruel to the donkey. This goes on, as each person they pass laughs at them or calls them fools for the way they are traveling. The story culminates in the moral:  “you can never please everyone.”  

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