The Donkey on the Bridge

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

A brief fable about two very different young brothers that set out on their own to find their fortune.

There were once two very different brothers. One was kind, patient, and humble; the other was rash, mean natured, and impatient. Both had reached manhood and decided it was time to head out into the world to claim their fortune and each set out along their own unique path. Each packed just what they thought they would need based on their own expectations of the journey ahead.The kind brother took along only food, water, and some basic tools. The other brother left his tools home in favor of his rifle. Both were eager and bound for glory so they headed out down their chosen path.

It wasn't long before each brother’s path became very narrow and overgrown, Regardless, each boy pressed on through the thick weeds and heavy foliage until they came to a small bridge over a swift running river. Blocking the bridge in front of each of the bothers stood a Donkey.

Each boy tried to shoo the donkey on its way. "Move off the path!" shouted the rash brother! "I don't have time for this!" he cried. The donkey, as anyone that has ever known a donkey will tell you, was stubborn and wasn't willing to move. Upon inspection, however, it became obvious to the brother that the donkey was not being obstinate at all; he simply was not able to move. It had become caught up in the overgrown weeds and vines and was trapped directly in the brother's way. The brother grew more and more impatient, as was his nature, because he just knew that this donkey was keeping him from his glory! Having no tools with which to cut the vines to free the poor beast, he finally flew into a rage and shot the animal with his rifle. Once laid over, it was much easier to climb over the donkey and be on his way....and on his way we went.

Along the other path, the humble brother considered the donkey for a moment and used the time to catch his breath. He sat down beside the donkey and had some lunch and when he did he noticed the donkey didn't look as if he'd eaten in quite some he shared his food and water with the animal. Then, like his brother, he realized that the poor thing was stuck in the vines and weeds. Unlike his brother, however, he was able to use the tools he'd brought along to free the animal so that it could move off the path and out of the way. Delighted, the humble brother set back upon his path.  But this time, he had a new friend in tow.

Both brothers traveled far...the rash brother had to take long breaks to catch his breath and to rest up. The humble brother, when he grew tired, simply climbed up on his new friend and rode for a little while. In return, he'd share some bread; it was a good deal for both.

Eventually, both boys ended up in large villages and they began to seek their fortunes. They were both very smart boys and it didn't take long for them to find their way in the big village. In no time at all each made enough gold to return home and live out their lives comfortably. And so each decided it was time to set back out along the path they had originally taken and each began planning their journey back home. 

As the rash brother began to plan his trip back along the path, he found himself in need of help. Not only would he need a cart to carry his riches but he also needed help pulling his cart back to the village. He asked everyone he knew but his rash, impatient, and mean spirited business practices and unkind ways had left him with only business associates and completely without actual friends that he could count on to help.  Finally, in anger once again, he used a piece of his riches to purchase his own cart and decided to set out on his own; he'd pull the cart himself and be just fine. In the next village over, the kind brother was very quickly given a cart to use by the family of people he’d surrounded himself with during his time in the village; it was a token of their friendship.  He then set about loading it as he said his goodbyes to all those that had been so willing to help him succeed. Finally, he got Mr. Donkey from the stables, hitched him up, and they headed out on their way along the path back home. He would miss the big village but he would miss his friends very much more…and he would be greatly missed for his kind, patient, and humble ways had earned him much love and admiration. 

The journey was even harder than either brother remembered for the weeds and vines had grown much during their time in the big village; but each worked hard and made his way back along the worn path with their carts in tow. The rash brother struggled with every hill and vine and bump in the road; the humble brother let his friend do the hardest work and made good time. Eventually, they came to the narrow bridge along the path where they had each met their donkey on the road. The path was even narrower and the vines had grown up so that the pass was almost completely blocked…much more so than before. The humble brother wasted no time and began using his old tools to cut away at the overgrown weeds and vines as Mr. Donkey pulled hard on the cart to get it through the narrowest part of the path and over the bridge.  With only a little difficulty, the team had made it through the pass and over the bridge to proceed along the way back home.

The rash brother was struggling, indeed. The path had become so overgrown that he could not keep the cart moving and he himself became tangled in the vines and undergrowth of the path on several occasions. But he was a strong willed young man and he fought through even the worst of it moving the cart forward an inch at a time until he came to an obstruction he could not get over or pass with his cart....he came upon a dead donkey blocking the way. "Help," he yelled out to anyone that might hear and come help him. "Is there anybody out there that will help me?" The answer came back in the silence he heard. There wer, in fact, others moving along other paths that heard him; but after recognizing his voice from the village and knowing of his unkind ways, they moved on. The rash brother thought about going on without the cart to try to find his brother; surely he would come to his aid. But the thought of leaving his riches for someone else to find was far too there he sat.

In the end, only one brother made it back safely...the kind, patient, and humble brother. He ran into the same obstacles as his brother, but his choices made all the difference. He chose to be hopeful that he would not need a rifle and instead he brought tools along so that he might use them to overcome anything he found in his way. He chose to be kind to the animal that, at first, seemed to be the immovable obstacle blocking him from his goals. He chose to be a friend to those in the village so that, when needed, they came to his aid. All along the path, he chose to be kind and to do what's right by each person (and donkey) he came across and in the process made friends and earned a strong companion that was willing to help him on his journey.  

The wiser of the two brothers knew that we are all faced with obstacles every day. He understood that how they affect us is determined by how we react to them…and often that depends greatly upon what we bring along with us. It’s how we choose to react to any given situation that defines who we are and, ultimately, it's the actions we take based on our own decisions that determine our path in this life.  He chose well.

Should you come across a donkey blocking your path today, how will you choose to proceed?

Choose well, my friends.

Submitted: November 14, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Mac Childs. All rights reserved.

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