A bull tells an ass that the ass has a better life, since he has better food and a clean stall. The ass advises him to play sick for a couple of days, and this ploy works. A merchant with the ability to understand animals overhears this conversation, and tells the owner to put the donkey to work, causing the ass to regret giving advice. Afterwards, the merchant overhears a second conversation, where the Ass warns the Bull to stop playing sick lest he be slaughtered. The merchant laughs at this, and his wife demands to know what he finds funny. He tells her that he cannot reveal his secret or he will die, but she keeps pestering him. He tells her to gather her family. Everyone tries to convince her to let it go, since he will die if he reveals his secret, but she refuses. The merchant then overhears a dog and a cock speaking; the cock says that the merchant should whip his wife with mulberry-tree twigs until she agrees to stop asking. The merchant does so.