Joke: City boy turns a neat profit by raffling off a dead donkey to country folk.
Examples:[Collected on the Internet, 2002]
A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day the farmer drove up and said: "Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."
Kenny replied, "Well then, just give me my money back."
The farmer said, "Can't do that. I went and spent it already."
Kenny said, "OK, then just unload the donkey."
The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?"
Kenny: "I'm going to raffle him off."
Farmer: "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
Kenny: "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead."
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?"
Kenny: "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at $2 a piece and made a profit of $998.00."
Farmer: "Didn't anyone complain?"
Kenny: "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his $2 back."
Kenny grew up and eventually became the chairman of Enron
Origins: This is another bit of humor seemingly so obvious a joke that no one could mistake if for anything
else, but the invocation of a real person's name after the punchline has prompted a number of readers to ask us if this is a "true
This joke plays on the infamy now surrounding former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay, whose oversight of the creation of more than 3,000 questionable Enron "partnerships" which were used to hide Enron's debt and generate revenue from trades that lacked economic substance is well-satirized in the currently popular joke about a clever "city boy" who manages to pull in nearly $1,000 raffling off a dead donkey by concealing the animal's true state.
Any thoughts that this joke might really be a biographical anecdote about Kenneth Lay are squelched by noting that it was circulating at least as far back as August 2001, a couple of months before the Enron scandal became public knowledge with the October 2001 disclosures of Enron's $618 million quarterly loss, its $1.2 billion reduction in shareholder equity, and its announcement that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating a possible conflict of interest between Enron and its partnerships. Back then the joke was merely one of a resourceful city boy thrust into the country for his own safety by a witness protection program; finding himself among unsophisticated "country folk," he uses his urban savvy to fleece them out of $1,000:
A city boy in the Witness Protection Program moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day.
The next day, the farmer drove up and said, "Sorry, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."
"Well then, just give me my money back."
"Can't do that. I went and spent it already."
"Okay then. Just unload the donkey."
"What ya gonna do with him?"
"I'm going to raffle him off."
"You can't raffle off a dead donkey!"
"Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he's dead."
A month later the farmer met up with the city boy and asked, "Whatever happened with that dead donkey?"
"I raffled him off. I sold 500 hundred tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $998."
"Didn't anyone complain?"
"Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.