|Fairy Tales / Italian Popular Tales|
Italian Popular Tales
It is related that when the Lord created the world, he also made all the animals, and gave each its name.
He also created the ass, which said: "Lord, what is my name?" "Your name is ass!" The ass went away well pleased. After a while it forgot its name, and went back to the Lord. "Lord, what is my name?" "Ass!" After a while it came back again. "Excuse me, Lord, what is my name?" "Ass, ass!"
The ass turned and went away, but forgot it another time, and came back. "Lord, I have forgotten my name." The Lord could not stand it any longer, but seized its ears and pulled them sharply, exclaiming: "Ass! Ass! Ass!"
The ears were pulled so hard that they became long, and that is why the ass has long ears, and why we pull a person's ears to keep him from forgetting a thing.
Source: Italian Popular Tales by Thomas Frederick Crane, A. M.