I once employed a borrowed mule
Who took me for a callow fool.
He was smart and he was strong,
And his assessment wasn't wrong.
A hundred times I'd seen him plow;
I didn't doubt that he knew how,
But he worked better, he worked faster,
When he labored for his master.
Cooperative I'd hoped to find him
As I held the reins behind him,
But his will was not on loan,
He had ideas of his own.
It didn't take me very long
` To see just what was going wrong.
He had but two things in his head,
His corn crib and his sleeping shed.
At the far end of the field,
When I said "haw," he smartly wheeled,
But when that mule was homeward bound,
It wore me out to turn him 'round.
Every time he tested me
And drained me of my energy.
He made certain that at least
I knew he was a burdened beast.
For humankind chalk up a loss.
I never showed him who was boss.
And when the plow was lifted free,
I was just as glad as he.