tales of Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 1288A
D. L. Ashliman
Then he said, "Verily there is a devil with me, for whenever I mount an ass I lose one of them; therefore I must not ride lest I lose one altogether."
Thus he traveled over the whole country on foot, for he dared not mount one of them.
"The one you were sitting on brought the number to eight."
The Hodja answered, "But how was I to see what I had on my behind?"
When Johha grew old enough to work for his living he became a donkey driver. One day, being in charge of twelve donkeys employed to carry earth to the city, it occurred to him, before starting with the laden animals, to count them. Finding the tale [tally] complete, he took them to their destination and unloaded them.
He then mounted one of them, and was going to return when he found one donkey missing. At once dismounting, he put them all in a row, and was astonished and greatly relieved to find the twelve there. He thereupon remounted and set off again, wondering as he rode along how it was that he had missed one donkey. Suddenly the suspicion flashed upon him that possibly the second count had been faulty, so he counted again, to find once more that only eleven were racing along in front of him. Terribly disconcerted, he again got down off the creature he was riding and, stopping the others, once more counted them. He was puzzled to find that there were again twelve.
So absorbed was he by this mystery, that he went on counting and recounting the donkeys till his master, surprised at his long absence, came and solved his difficulty by obliging him to follow his asses on foot.
Return to the table of contents.
Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.
Revised March 22, 2013.