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donkey in the well

the parable of the donkey in the well

donkey in the wellAnd she said unto them, “One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

And they asked, “what does the parable mean?”

And forsooth she did spake unto them and saith:

“Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.”

But, yea verily, she spake again:

“The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.”

And they asked, “what, then, does this new ending mean?”

To which she spoke yet again:

“When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.”

This parable is part of the “oral tradition” of the internet.

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7 thoughts on “the parable of the donkey in the well”

    1. Interesting point, Pastor Joelle. Do you really think that from the story’s point of view there is really a “casual acceptance of animal cruelty”? Certainly, that possibly appears to be the case from the farmer and neighbours. But I see the story as functioning because of the sympathy that the donkey evokes in us. It is the farmer, remember, who dies. Incidentally, I don’t think it is ever “just” a story. Thanks again for your comment. Blessings.

  1. It’s a neat example of ‘what goes around comes around’ type philosophy but a bit of a one-dimension parable: in true Christian theodicies man and/or beast would be changed by the miracle of suffering to grace.

  2. “When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.”

    This made me laugh very hard and I was in agony. I had double cardiac bypass surgery last Tuesday Father Bosco and I am in preparation of being discharged this morning. This made my day!

    1. Brother David, I had no idea that you were undergoing this surgery, and I (and I’m sure others here who read this) will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I’m pleased you enjoyed the story. Blessings.

  3. Pingback: food for faith | donkey in the well

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