A rich man had a piece of land on which a young mule was grazing.
"I shall harness you," said the man to the mule, "and make you plow this land to grow melons on, of which I am very fond, while the stalks will supply you with food."
To which the mule replied: "If I consent to toil on your terms you will have all the melons and I shall be worse off than now, inasmuch as I shall have to eat dry stalks instead of the fresh green grass. I'll not do it, sir."
"How unreasonable you are," remonstrated the land owner; "your father never had any food but thistles, and yet worked sixteen hours a day without grumbling."
"Alas! that is true," retorted the mule, "but then, you know, my father was an ass."
— Social Justice -- quoted in The American Cooperator (1903). It appeared in 1888 in Chicago Express