Once upon a time, there was a king who wanted to go fishing. He called the royal weather forecaster and inquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours. The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days. So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen.
On the way, he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, “Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area”. The king was polite and considerate, he replied: “I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional, and I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way.” So they did. However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.
Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to execute the weatherman at once! He summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of a royal forecaster.
The farmer said, “Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see his ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain.” So the King hired the donkey on the spot.
And thus began the ancient practice of hiring asses to work in government and occupy its highest and most influential positions.