“Stupid donkey! What in the heck are you doing?” Already halfway down the road with a group of the king's men, I found myself struggling with the reins, trying to get my donkey back on the road. Grabbing my whip from my pack, I beat at her side and forced her head toward the road. “Back on that road, girl! I don't know what's the matter with you!”
Frustrated and cursing under my breath, I drove her back onto the road. I apologized profusely to the king's messengers. “I really don't know why she did that. She's usually a very agreeable animal!” They laughed good-naturedly, and we continued on the way to the palace. They had promised good money for me, and with creditors hounding me to pay off my debts, I could use a nicely paid job.
Passing through a narrow path through two vineyards, I suddenly felt intense pain in my foot as my donkey leaned and crushed it between her body and the wall. “Ouch! What's going on?” Curses fell from my lips and I again grabbed the whip to beat her. “Stupid animal! That's my foot you're crushing!”
Finally the pressure released, and I reached down to rub my throbbing appendage. I heard laughing from the princes both before and behind me. Stupid animal! Making me look like a fool; like I can't even control her, let alone bring a powerful curse down on the people that they want to fight!
I could see the path narrowing up ahead, and each of the messengers moved to single file to squeeze between the walls. Suddenly my donkey stopped, turning both right and left despite my jerking motions on the reins. Seeing no way out, she dropped to the ground underneath me.
Cursing angrily, I beat her with the whip. “Get up! Get up! What are you doing? Are you insane?”
Her head turned back toward me. “Listen up! What have I done to you that deserves a beating these three times?” Her black eyes stared into mine.
I nearly fell off the saddle in shock. Did I really just hear a donkey speak? “Uh, well, you pretty much made me look like a fool! If I had a sword, I'd kill you for your insolence.”
“Aren't I your own donkey? Haven't you always ridden me? Do I usually act this way?” Her questions rang in the air, exasperation evident in her tone. I can't believe my animal is talking to me! Is my mind playing tricks with me? Is God playing tricks with my mind?
“Uh, no, actually. You never act this way.”
A bright light suddenly glowed brilliantly in front of me. I squinted into the sunlight, and to my shock, I beheld a magnificent angel! He stood nearly ten feet tall, with a drawn sword pointed directly at me.
I immediately scrambled off my donkey and fell prostrate at the angel's feet. His voice boomed out, “Why did you beat your donkey three times? I have come to stand in your way because you're being so reckless about coming along with these messengers. The donkey saw me and turned all three times, and if she hadn't turned, you'd be dead by now, though I would have spared her.”
Fear gripped me and I cried out in desperation. “I have sinned! I didn't know you were standing in the way. I promise, even if I have to go back, I will listen to God now!”
So that should explain to you why I treat my donkey with the utmost respect. Basically, she saved my life, so I spare no expense for her. I know some people may think it strange to talk to one's animal as if it understands. Honestly, though, you would too, if your animal ever said, “Listen up!”
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