Ostrich & Donkey: A Kids' Tale

Image of Garwin


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A donkey once lived with a farmer on a big, mostly empty lot in a small town.
Farmer had a little house and Donkey a three-sided barn where he slept and was protected from rain and wind. Two large, old, white bathtubs sat next to the barn which Farmer filled with food and water.
It stayed that way, until one bright summer day Farmer pulled up with a large trailer and out walked an ostrich.
Donkey watched the nine-foot tall, long-legged bird stand completely still, his head turning in almost a full circle slowly examining his new home.
Donkey thought “What is it and when is it leaving?” Donkey liked being alone.
“What are you?” asked Donkey as he slowly approached.
“You mean ‘Who am I?’” replied Ostrich a little offended but trying to be helpful.
“No. I don’t care who you are. I want to know what you are?”
“I’m an ostrich. A bird,” he patiently explained.
“If you’re a bird, why not fly away?”
“I can’t fly,” said Ostrich looking down on Donkey.
“You said you’re a bird.”
“I’m a bird but can’t fly.”
“Well then, you’re not a bird,” snorted Donkey.
Ostrich could tell Donkey was not interested in a new friendship. He walked to the far corner of the lot and that’s how they remained for a long time.
But then, everything changed.
There came a thundering noise from the lot next door. A twelve-foot stack of wood slid off a huge green truck. Construction workers in bright yellow vests put up a giant sign with a picture of an apartment building.
“What’s that?” asked Ostrich.
“A sign.”
Ostrich was always amazed at how uncooperative Donkey could be, “I know it’s a sign. What’s it say? What’s happening? Is this a problem? Are they going to make us leave? What can we do?”
“Stop!” yelled Donkey.
“Let’s see... First, I don’t know. Second, I don’t know and in answer to your third, fourth and fifth questions... I... don’t... know!”
“Well boys, looks like we’re in trouble.” Farmer stood behind them holding his straw hat, scratching his head.
“They warned me I was going to have to get rid of you guys, but I didn’t believe them.”
Turning to leave, Farmer said, “Sorry, but I’ve got to find somebody to take you fellas.”
“This is your fault!” screamed Donkey moving closer to Ostrich
The next sound stunned both Ostrich and Donkey.
“Why are you arguing?”
Ostrich and Donkey, who were eyeball to eyeball, turned to find a girl on the other side of the fence.
“Wha...?” said Ostrich.
“You understand us?” asked Donkey.
“No. You’re talking too fast and yelling too loud. But if you slow down, maybe I can help.”
“That would be wonderful! What’s your name?” asked Ostrich.
“I’m Emma. What are your names?”
“We don’t have names. We haven’t needed names. Until now we’ve only talked to each other, which hasn’t been very often,” explained Ostrich.
“He’s Ostrich and I’m Donkey and you’re just one little girl. What can you do?”
“I don’t know yet,”
Donkey snorted, turned and began to walk away.
Ostrich explained, “He’s okay, just a little grouchy some of the time. Well, actually, a lot grouchy all the time, but he doesn’t dislike you any more than he dislikes everyone.”
Emma truly wanted to help. She thought a little then exclaimed, “I have a great idea!”
Donkey stopped and turned his head to listen to the “great idea”.
“You’re endangered species!”
Ostrich and Donkey didn’t know what “species” meant, but they certainly understood “danger”.
“You mean we’re in even more trouble?” asked Donkey.
Emma smiled, “No. An endangered species is an animal who needs to be protected. There are so few left, if we aren’t careful they’ll disappear forever.”
“I’m the last ostrich and he’s the last donkey?”
“No. There are plenty of ostriches and donkeys, but you’re the only ones in our town. For our world, you’re endangered.”
“So what?” Donkey couldn’t grasp how this was going to help.
“We need to convince the City Council you’re important. We’re going to have a demonstration.”
“What’s a demonstration?” Ostrich asked.
“The kids from school and their parents will come with signs, march around and talk about how you belong in our community. They’ll tell the City Council to vote to let you stay. If we have enough people, the City will have to listen.” And with that, Emma went home to spread the word.
On a crisp morning, three days later, Ostrich and Donkey saw car after car parking along the street. From them emptied more people than they’d ever seen. Someone blew up a big, bright, castle bounce house.
Adults put up tables with signs. Some sold t-shirts with pictures of animals looking a lot like Donkey and Ostrich. Other tables loaded with cakes and cookies, smelled like bakeries. A DJ wearing big red headphones, played loud, vibrating music.
The crowd got larger, the music louder and as food trucks pulled in, the smells stronger. The scent of cookies and cakes mixed with whiffs of burgers and tacos.
Police directing traffic let kids sit in their black and white cars. Sirens blared and blue and red lights spun and glowed.
A man and a woman approached Ostrich and Donkey. The mayor and apartment developer stood at the fence with sour faces.
“This is what it’s all about? I’m the mayor of a city, not some farm,” the woman grunted.
Donkey offended, roared loudly (which sounded like braying to the two people) and kicked with both back legs sending clouds of dust coating the man and woman.
Disgusted, brushing herself off and spitting out dirt, the Mayor grumbled, “I promise we’ll get rid of them.”
“That’s not good,” said Ostrich quietly.
“No! That’s not good!” yelled Donkey, his nose pointing towards the lumber pile.
A little boy had crawled to the top. He was waving his arms and screaming, but no one noticed. There was too much noise and excitement. The boy tried to climb down, but his feet just dangled in the air.
“Follow me!” shouted Donkey.
Donkey took off running. He glanced back expecting to see Ostrich far behind, but the speedy Ostrich pulled alongside.
Donkey led Ostrich through an opening in the fence.
“It’s too high. We can’t reach him!” moaned Ostrich.
Donkey knelt and instructed, “Get on my back!”
“I’ll hurt you.”
“I’m a donkey. Why do you think we’re built this way?”
Ostrich stepped onto Donkey’s back, carefully placing his huge, three toed feet one at a time.
Donkey squeaked, “Ouch! Don’t you cut your toenails?”
“No hands!” Ostrich laughed.
Donkey slowly raised off his knees. Ostrich struggling to stay balanced, swayed slightly, opened his massive wings and hoped no sudden wind came up or he truly would become a flying bird.
Ostrich’s head came even with the small child, who began to scream louder and backed away.
“We’re just scaring him!” cried Ostrich.
Suddenly, Ostrich heard a familiar voice.
“That’s my little brother. Andy, jump onto Ostrich’s neck!” shouted Emma.
Andy creeped towards Ostrich. He looked at Emma, closed his eyes and sprung off the lumber. He hit Ostrich’s neck, wrapped his arms around and slid down to Ostrich’s back. And there he sat. Donkey dropped to his knees; Ostrich hopped off, but no one would be able persuade Andy to leave his comfortable seat hugging Ostrich.
Then Ostrich and Donkey noticed the silence. No music, no sirens, no people laughing. Everyone staring at Andy, Ostrich and Donkey which lasted for what seemed like forever. All at once everyone began to chant, “Ostrich and Donkey stay! Ostrich and Donkey stay! Ostrich and Donkey Stay!”
The Mayor raised her hands and after a while the people quieted. The Mayor declared, “Ostrich and Donkey will stay!”
Emma hugged Ostrich and Donkey. “We did it! You don’t have to leave!”
“Thank you so much. Will you keep visiting us?” asked Ostrich.
“You’re my friends. I’ll be here all the time!”
“I’ve never had a friend,” smiled Donkey.
Ostrich looked at Donkey in amazement, “I’ve tried to be your friend since the day I arrived. Do you think anyone other than a friend would have put up with you?”
Once again, Donkey smiled. They said good-bye to Emma and the two friends wandered back to the shed for a quiet lunch together.

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Image of Darleen Faragalli
Darleen Faragalli · ago
SO cute! I would love to share this with my kids at church -- there's such a good message.
Image of Garwin
Garwin · ago
Thank you. Please share it!
Image of rgarwin
rgarwin · ago
Love it!
Image of are
are · ago
Like the message.
Image of Florence Garwin
Florence Garwin · ago
Very well written and I really enjoy reading the book and would like to read more about the Ostrich and the Donkey.
Image of Florence Garwin
Florence Garwin · ago
This is cute and will encourage children to help each other.
Image of Janet Garwin
Janet Garwin · ago
Fun story for all ages
Image of agar
agar · ago