The old farmer's mule had finally died of old age just before spring planting, so the farmer made a trip to town to buy another mule.
His $125 didn't buy much, but he was satisfied with his purchase and he made arrangements to return the next day with a horse trailer to pick up the mule and the dealer agreed to keep it overnight for him.
Early the next day, the old man returned. "Jim," said the mule dealer, "that old mule died last night. I'm real sorry to have to tell you this. I know you were counting on it for your spring garden." The dealer offered Jim his money back, but Jim said a bargain was a bargain, loaded the mule on his truck and left.
A couple of months later the mule dealer happened to drive by Jim's place and was astonished to see Jim working his garden on a *NEW* $4,000 garden tractor. Honking his horn, he called Jim over and asked him how in the world he had managed to buy a tractor when not to long ago all he had was the $125 that he'd spent on the mule that died.
"Well", Jim explains, "After leaving with the mule, I had this idea. So I stopped off at the local print shop and had 2,000 $2 raffle tickets printed up. Grand prize: Gardening Equipment. I sold all the raffle tickets to people around town."
"Yeah, but where did you get the gardening equipment?"
"No, I mean the equipment you had as the raffle prize."
"I got it from you."
"Jim, all you got from me was a dead mule."
"I know, that's what I raffled off."
"My Goodness, Jim! You raffled off a dead mule?! I'll bet that really made a lot of people mad when they found out about it."
"Naw, not really, the only one really ticked off was the winner, and I gave him his money back."
"Patriotism supporting your country all of the time and and your government when it deserves it"- Mark Twain