The Mule and the Magician—One Father's Fable to His Daughter

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

One father uses the power of the fable to get his little girl thinking about her contribution to the world and the value of her efforts.


I’m a father of an amazing 10-year-old-girl.

Oftentimes, I find myself searching for the words and wisdom I want to share with my little princess.

Because I’m also an author and a publisher, storytelling is important to me.

The story that follows is one I wrote with my daughter, and my clients, in mind.

I read the story to her to get her thinking about how she wanted to spend her time. I wanted to challenge her to consider what her goals might be, and what’s important to her, and how the world “sees” you, and rewards you.

I wanted her to think about her contributions to the world and the value of her efforts.

I like this story (or fable) because I think that it helps people understand that while everyone uses their 24 hours in a day differently…we often receive very different rewards.

As I said, she’s 10. I don’t think she really cares about much of that stuff now, or that she wants to listen to me sometimes. You can relate.

But a “story,” I knew she’d pay attention to.

Coincidentally, maybe you’ll find some value in it as well.

If not for you, then maybe your kids?

We’ll see.

So, here we go:


There once was a mule that lived on a farm.

From the time the mule was a baby, all he had known and seen his whole life was work.

As soon as the mule was old enough, he went to work, too.

When the sun rose, so did the mule.

Every morning, the mule stretched his aching muscles.

He ate a little breakfast. He drank a little water. Then he went out to plow the field.

At the end of the day, the mule was done. He had a little to eat and a little to drink. He stretched his aching muscles. And he went to bed.

Everyone liked the mule. He worked hard.

Every couple of weeks, depending on how much work he’d done (and how many acres he’d plowed), the mule would get his reward.

It seemed fair.

The mule was rewarded for how much he’d done.

It wasn’t a lot. But it was enough to get by.

And so the story continued.

When the sun rose in the morning, so did the mule.

When he got hungry, he ate. When he got thirsty, he drank. When he got tired, he rested.

When the sun set, he went home.

Once he’d done the work, he got a reward.

One day, a magician came to town.

When the sun rose, so did the magician.

Every morning, the magician would stretch her aching muscles.

She’d eat a little breakfast. She’d drink a little water. And she’d go out and wave her magic wand.

Everywhere she went, magic happened.

Flowers bloomed. Fields not only plowed themselves, they turned harvest-ready. If something was broken, it got fixed. Rainy days turned bright. When someone asked her for help, they were helped.

Everywhere she went, things were easier. Everywhere she went, things got done faster.

Happiness reigned.

The magician wore a smile on her face. The magician had a bounce in her step.

With seeming ease, the magician created results.

Since she was smiling all the time, it didn’t seem like she worked hard because she was so happy.

When she got hungry, she ate. When she got thirsty, she drank. When she got tired, she rested.

When the sun set, she went home.

Every day, depending on the results she’d created the magician would receive rewards.

It seemed fair.

The magician was rewarded for how much value she’d added.

It was a lot. It was more than enough to get by.

Everyone loved the magician. She was very generous.

And so the story continued.

When the sun rose in the morning, so did the magician.

When she got hungry, she ate. When she got thirsty, she drank. When she got tired, she rested.

When she waved her magic wand, she was rewarded.

Which are you?

Are you rewarded for the work you do? Or, are you rewarded for the results you create?

Are you the MULE? Or are you the MAGICIAN?

I’m curious if you could choose…

Which would you want to be?


What do you think?

How did you answer?

How did your child answer?

I get such a kick out of hearing my daughter surprise me (and herself) with her ideas and insights.


The story made her sad. She didn’t like that the mule worked so hard, and got such small rewards.


If you haven’t heard me brag about this yet, my daughter has turned a few of her ideas into bestselling books. To date, she has nine #1 bestsellers—but who’s counting?

Helping her accomplish this, has been nothing short of miraculous.

Kids are the most creative creatures on the planet.

The benefits to her self-confidence, and her communication skills, and leadership skills, and even her IDENTITY of being a published author are AMAZING.

I wonder what she’ll dream of next?

I’m curious what your kids will think of next?

I wonder what stories, or fables, will get my daughter’s little brain churning.

I can’t wait to talk to her about it.

Please, share your response, or your child’s response here.

I’d love to connect with you and discover what you learned together.


Trevor Crane is an entrepreneur, author and speaker dedicated to helping you take your life and your business to the next level. For over a decade, he’s worked relentlessly to help entrepreneurs around the world re-design their businesses so they can have the time and money freedom they deserve…. without doing stuff that sucks.

He has a special passion for helping service-based businesses, consultants, coaches, authors and speakers take their businesses to the next level–no matter how successful you already are.

One of his favorite things to do is host his podcast, and online TV show called Greatness Quest, where he interviews extraordinary business owners and “extracts” their secrets of success so you can quickly apply them in your own business.

You can connect with Trevor on his website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Original article appeared at Trevor Crane. Reprinted with permission.