In a small village, there lived a potter①. He had a donkey. Everyday his donkey would carry soil from the field to his house. Since the field was quite far off, the potter would rest under a tree midway, tying his donkey nearby.
One day, the potter forgot to take the rope with which he tied the donkey everyday. When he reached the tree, he thought, “How do I tie this donkey today? He might run away if I sleep.” The potter decided to lie down holding the donkey’s ears so that the donkey would not run away.
But this way neither the donkey nor the potter was able to take a rest. A saint（圣人）, who happened to be passing by, saw the potter holding on to the donkey’s ears. Then the saint wanted to know what the problem of the potter was. When the potter told the saint what the problem was, the wise saint said, “Take the donkey to the place where you tie him everyday. Pretend to tie him using an imaginary（假想的） rope. I assure you he won’t run away.” The potter did what the saint had said.
He left the donkey and went to take a nap. When he woke up, to his surprise and relief, he found the donkey standing in the same place.
Soon the potter prepared to leave for home. But the donkey did not move. “What is wrong with this donkey!” exclaimed② the potter in frustration③.
Luckily, the potter saw the wise saint again. He ran up to the saint and told him about the donkey’s strange behavior. The saint said, “You tied up the donkey, but did you untie him? Go and pretend to untie the rope with which you had tied the donkey.”
The potter followed the saint’s advice. Now the donkey was ready to leave for home. The potter understood that donkey was a bonded donkey. The potter thanked the wise saint and went home happily with his donkey.