The Ass and the Lap-dog from Aesop with video and vocabulary practice for ESL students to learn vocabulary in real context
The Eagle and the Fox is now in the public domain available at: Gutenberg Project
Video of the Ass and the Lap-dog
The Ass and the Lap-dog
There was once a man who had an ass and a lap-dog. The ass was housed in the stable with plenty of oats and hay to eat and was as well off as an ass could be. The little dog was made a great pet of by his master, who fondled him and often let him lie in his lap; and if he went out to dinner, he would bring back a titbit or two to give him when he ran to meet him on his return.
- to fondle: to touch and stroke lovingly
- titbit: a small piece of tasty food
The ass had, it is true, a good deal of work to do, carting or grinding the corn, or carrying the burdens of the farm: and ere long he became very jealous, contrasting his own life of labor with the ease and idleness of the lap-dog.
- to cart: to drag or carry something heavy
- to grind: to crush grains or beans into small pieces or powder
At last one day, he broke his halter, and frisking into the house just as his master sat down to dinner, he pranced and capered about, mimicking the frolics of the little favorite, upsetting the table and smashing the crockery with his clumsy efforts.
- halter: a rope or leather band fastened around horses or donkeys’ heads to control and lead them
- to frisk: to run and jump playfully
- to prance: to move with high steps
- to caper: to prance, to jump around playfully
- frolic: a fun enjoyable game or activity
- crockery: cups, dishes, plates, etc., cutlery
- clumsy: awkward, inexperienced, gauche
Not content with that, he even tried to jump on his master’s lap, as he had so often seen the dog allowed to do. At that the servants, seeing the danger their master was in, belabored the silly ass with sticks and cudgels, and drove him back to his stable half dead with his beating.
- to belabor: to hit someone heavily to punish them
- cudgel: a short thick stick used as a weapon
“Alas!” he cried, “all this I have brought on myself. Why could I not be satisfied with my natural and honorable position, without wishing to imitate the ridiculous antics of that useless little lap-dog?”
- antics: behavior, actions, activities