My mother recently told me this fable that used to be published in 3rd-grade children books when she was a child; its message, however, is eternal and universal. The story goes as follows.
There was once an old man traveling with his son and his donkey. As they pass through this one area, he is walking while he has his son sit on the donkey so the child won't get tired. The people, unfortunately, notice them and start whispering: "Oh, look! The son is so selfish. He is having his old father walk while he himself is riding on the donkey! Tsk, tsk." So the father tells his child to get down and himself gets on the donkey.
As they reach another area, the people mock him there, too: "Oh, look! That man is so selfish! He's riding on the donkey while he has has little poor son walking on foot! How cruel of him!" The father, unsure of what exactly people expect of him, tells his son, "Son, let's just walk alongside the donkey. People won't leave us alone."
So, they enter another area with another lot of people. There, too, people find a fault: "Oh, look! What kind of a traveler takes a donkey with him and doesn't use it! Neither he nor his son is riding it. Tsk, tsk." :| The man is like, "Wtf?!" So he tells his son, "Son, let's take the donkey on our shoulder because apparently, it's not supposed to be walking either."
They reach another village, where the people can't stop laughing at the man for taking his donkey on his shoulders: "Who takes a donkey for a ride?! Look at that man," they say.
The man, finally realizing that people are going to talk no matter what he does, decides that to hell with these asses and has his son ride the donkey and ignores the rest of the people.
(I think I made up that ending, as I don't remember exactly how it ends. But I think we get the point, no?)
Lesson to learn: People WILL talk! No matter what you do! Who among them asses are you going to please? And should you really make any efforts to please them when they're making a mocking stock out of you?! I say let them talk. They clearly need it. That's what I told my mother when she and I were discussing people :) And she agreed temporarily. I'm sure she's forgotten now, but more on that next time.
Why and when my mother told me this, I'll tell in the next blog post, which will be on how shopping time is bonding time for me and my mother.