Don't Argue with Donkeys

Author Unknown
retold by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

A donkey and a tiger were having a disagreement. “Grass is blue,” said the donkey. “No, the grass is green,” insisted the tiger. The discussion grew rather heated until the hedgehog suggested that ask the King of the Jungle to settle the matter.

As they came into the meadow where the lion held court, the donkey immediately shouted, “Your Highness, isn’t it the grass blue?” The lion replied, “If you insist.”

The donkey rushed on, “Your Highness, the tiger disagrees with me, contradicts me, and annoys me. Please, do something about him!”

After a short consideration, the lion declared, “The tiger will be silent for a year as punishment.”

The donkey kicked up his heels in joy and trotted away while repeating “See, the grass is blue!” to himself.

The confused tiger bowed before the king and asked, “Your Majesty, why am I being punished? After all, the grass is green.” “True,” replied the lion. “So why am I being punished,” the tiger again asked.
“The punishment has nothing to do with the color of the grass. You are being punished because it is unseemly for a brave and intelligent creature, like yourself, to be wasting time arguing with a donkey. And worse, you come and bother me with the question.”

It is a waste of time to argue with fools or fanatics. They don’t care about the truth. Reality holds no meaning for them. They only care about winning. They insist that their views be confirmed. You won’t make a fool change his mind, so why argue?

No matter the quality or quantity of evidence presented, there will always be people who are not able to understand or are blinded by their ego, hatred, or resentment. All they care about is being right, even when they are wrong.

When the ignorant scream, the best response of the intelligent is silence. Anything more is a waste of breath.

For Further Study

Verses to Consider

  • Proverbs 1:7
  • Proverbs 1:32
  • Proverbs 10:21
  • Proverbs 12:15
  • Proverbs 13:20
  • Proverbs 14:3
  • Proverbs 14:7-8
  • Proverbs 15:2
  • Proverbs 15:5
  • Proverbs 17:10
  • Proverbs 17:12
  • Proverbs 17:27-28
  • Proverbs 18:2
  • Proverbs 18:6
  • Proverbs 19:29
  • Proverbs 20:3
  • Proverbs 23:9
  • Proverbs 26:4-5
  • Proverbs 26:12
  • Proverbs 27:3
  • Proverbs 27:22
  • Proverbs 29:9
  • Proverbs 29:11
  • Ecclesiastes 9:17

Questions to Ponder

  1. Was the lion in this story just?
  2. When is it appropriate to disagree with another person? When is it inappropriate?
  3. Do we have to win every argument?
  4. Can you make someone listen if he is unwilling to listen?
  5. Does reality change because of someone’s belief?
  6. What would have been a better way for the tiger to have handled the situation?
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