The King and the Donkey


Once in the country amidst the oranges and the wild flowers was born a donkey named Saleh. His master, Hussein, was a kind and rich man and Saleh grew strong and happy.

Then one night in. a terrible storm the house of Hussein was struck by lightning and so killing was the fire that everyone in the house was burnt to death. Saleh in his stable felt strange to feel so warm in the dark. He went out and felt stranger still to see such light and he heard the crackle of the flames now reaching his stable; he felt very frightened.

It was wet and he had no dry place, no soft hay. He grew cold and hungry. He wandered about. His coat was soaked with rain, his ears were full of water and his eves were wet with tears. He felt no one loved him and he was lost and sad.

Such was the beginning of the life of Saleh as a stray, hidden, stealing donkey. Men tried to catch him so he had to hide and no one fed him so he had to steal. He stumbled through days and nights and over rocks and into rills and he grew thin and his coat got sores and he felt sick and he got kicked.
He never knew quite what to eat and he got so weary of trying that he could hardly breathe. One wet cold night he slipped in the mud and such was his tiredness that he hardly felt the rain or all his emptiness and pain.
He was dying, in fact the man who fell over him thought at first that he was dead.
But Saleh sighed and the man stroked his head. He loved donkeys and just now he needed one, his own had been stolen the night before.
He got Saleh to his feet and patted him and somehow he got Saleh home. His whole home was a stable so Saleh lived with the family and he was now called Abraham for this was a Jewish house.
He soon got strong and well and Joseph, being a poor man was tempted to sell him. Abraham sensed danger and big tears fell in his hay and every day he ate less and less.
Joseph loved him and was worried that he was so poor that his wife was trying to do with less milk and his donkey with less hay. Then one-day three men came to visit them and they brought gifts for the baby.
One of these gifts was some gold and at once Joseph went out and bought a goat for milk for his wife and lots of hay for Abraham. Then he started to look for a bigger house, but in the night an Angel told him, "You must go into another country."
"Thank goodness," thought Joseph, "that I did not sell Abraham, such were his tears that I thought not first of money."
So, now quickly they set out and Abraham who. had before spent so long in lost wandering now strode surely along as if he had always known the way. Every night Angels came with hay for Abraham and with milk and honey for Mary and with meat and wine for Joseph.
So it was that with the milk of his mother and with the feet of the donkey, that the King reached Egypt.
Abraham was the first donkey that this King ever rode.