This is a lovely story about a donkey and I thought I’d share it with you. It’s called,
The Little Lame Donkey.
It was a cold night. There was a full moon that lit up the snow covered meadow where the little lame donkey stood. He’d been there since the spring when he arrived with a small travelling fair. He was limping then and his owner decided to leave him behind when the fair moved on. The little donkey didn’t mind, at least he wouldn’t have to pull the heavy cart in which the children sat while he took them around the short circuit in the fairground. He was quite content to stay in the meadow, there was plenty of grass to eat and the local farmers who owned the surrounding fields threw him cabbages, turnips and carrots and they made sure that he always had plenty of water to drink.
But the little donkey was very lonely, particularly tonight for it was Christmas Eve and all donkeys know about Christmas, after all it was one of his ancestors who carried Mary to Bethlehem. He heard the sound of the village clock in the distance strike midnight and because he felt so lonely he brayed a long, sad bray. Suddenly he heard another sound, this was a different sound. It was very quiet at first, a jingling, tinkling sound and it seemed to be coming from overhead. The little donkey looked up but he couldn’t see anything through the falling snowflakes. The jingling, tinkling sound slowly faded away to be replaced by another sound, crunching footsteps in the snow, someone was walking up the meadow towards him. The little donkey suddenly felt very excited who could it be out at this time on Christmas Eve?
It was a man, a big man dressed all in red, he had a red coat with a hood pulled up over his ears, a pair of red trousers and a pair of black wellington boots and he seemed to be carrying a large sack on his shoulders. As he got closer the little donkey noticed that the man had a big bushy white beard and twinkling eyes.
“Hello fellah, how are you” the man said as he removed the sack from his shoulder and placed it on the ground.
The donkey thought he knew the answer before he asked the man the question but nervously he said “Hello, who are you?”
The big man smiled, “Well I’m known by different names in different places. Sometimes I’m called Sinterklass,some call me Kris Kringle or Saint Nicholas. Here in Ireland I’m called Santa Claus or Father Christmas. I quite like Santa or Father Christmas”.
“But I thought you rode on a sleigh pulled by reindeer” said the donkey,
“I do” replied Father Christmas, “but I’ve nearly finished delivering all the presents for this year so I’ve let the reindeer go on ahead. They’ve been working very hard. I heard you braying a moment ago and you sounded so sad and lonely so I decided to come and see you”
“Where are you going now” asked the little donkey
“Well my final delivery is just outside Westport and I have a couple of chimneys to drop into”
“but Westport is about 5 miles away” said the little donkey,
“I know” said Father Christmas “but it won’t take me long to walk”
The donkey looked down to the large sack next to Father Christmas’s feet,
“I could help you” he said, “You could lift the sack onto my back and I could carry it for you”
“But what about your lame leg” answered Father Christmas,
“I can do it” insisted the little donkey,
Father Christmas smiled and said “Very well, if your sure, I would be very grateful for your help” and he lifted the sack and gently placed it on to the little donkey’s back and off the two of them went, across the meadow, down into the valley and headed towards Westport.
They chatted away as they walked and time passed quickly. They made four stops on the way and Father Christmas took mysterious and exciting looking packages from the sack and disappeared down the chimney of each house. They eventually arrived at a little farm just outside of Westport just as the sun began to wake up. Dawn was breaking and the little donkey noticed a wisp of smoke curling from the chimney of the farm house.
“Their awake early” said Father Christmas as he lifted the sack from the donkey’s back. “Time I wasn’t here” He patted the little donkey on the neck. He placed a smaller sack next to the donkey and said,
“Goodbye my friend, take care and I’ll see you again next year” The donkey looked around but Father Christmas was nowhere to be seen.
Just then the back door of the farmhouse opened and Mrs Foy came out to feed the chickens. She saw the donkey.
“What have we here” she said in surprise, she turned back and called into the farmhouse “Come out here quick, we have a visitor”
Her husband and children appeared in their dressing gowns and slippers ,
Mr Foy said “Where did he come from” He walked over to the donkey. “Look at this” he said, “I think Father Christmas has been here” he patted the little donkey on the neck and he bent down to examine the sack.
By this time the children had become extremely excited, it was Christmas morning after all. They ran over to the little donkey and for a moment they even forgot about the sack bulging with Christmas presents.
“Look daddy” said one of the children, “There’s some tinsel around the donkey’s neck and there’s a label on it”
Mr Foy looked at the label and read the message out loud,
“Here is a special present for you all. He has a lame leg. Please take special care of him for he is my friend. Have a very merry Christmas”Well they did look after the little lame donkey, they loved him. Mr Foy who knew a lot about animals helped the donkey’s leg to get better. In the spring he was even well enough to let the children ride him around the farmyard and he was never lonely again. As far as I know, he is still with them to this day